Leonardo Boff on The Eucharist and Love of Neighbour


Forgive me, the language in this quote is a bit more academic ‘like’ than I am usually comfortable sharing on anabaptistly, but the gist of it is well worth it… and Boff is awesome!

There is a deep connection between love of God and love of neighbour.  Jesus explicitly speaks love God, love neighbour as the greatest commandment.  Boff wonderfully interprets the importance and functionality of the Eucharist (communion) in light of this divine reality.

We must love our neighbour with the same sweeping movement with which we love God.  After all, there is really only one commandment: the commandment of love.  Love of God is ‘veri-fied’ – ‘made true’ in love of neighbour.  Any celebration pretending to center on God, to the exclusion of mending broken relationships will fail in its quest for God. After all, it has effectively blocked the road that infallibly leads to God: the path of love of neighbour.  Camilo Torres, the priest who lived the searing truth of the Gospel to the hilt and then died that that truth might live in history, exhorted his friends as follows, on June 24, 1965, in an effort to create the necessary concrete conditions for an authentic Eucharistic worship: ‘The Christian community cannot offer the sacrifice in an authentic form if it has not first fulfilled in an effective manner the precept of ‘love thy neighbour.’  In terms of exigencies of the Gospel, in order to guarantee the Christian authenticity of the Eucharist, it will not be enough that the Eucharist be put together according to dogmatic principles and ritualized according to the disciplinary and liturgical canons.  In all respect for ecclesial value of dogmatic determinations and canonical discipline, the church must still honour and observe the spirit of Jesus. In the spirit of Jesus, true worship of God is realized more in the concretization of Justice and the building of a community of sisters and brothers than in the formalities of a symbolic celebration.

Leonardo Boff, “When Theology Listens to the Poor” page 97

How does this way of thinking impact the manner in which you take communion?  In what ways to you experience communion as personal?  In what ways do you experience communion as communal?


  1. gholsclaw · May 7, 2013

    This is exactly why seeking reconciliation before coming to the Table is necessary. This is why we should “bar” the table for some people (who are abandoning reconciliation with others) and should “fence” the Table by reminding everyone that if they are unreconciled with anyone they need to talk with them. “Barring” and “fencing” the Table are political acts which remind everyone that the Table itself is a political act.

    Of course there are all sorts of “Barring” and “Fencing” which have nothing to do with this and are mere orthodoxy hunts and members only type of things. These are the degenerate forms of good practices.

    • Chris Lenshyn · May 7, 2013

      During communion of my former church, community members would pass the plate of elements with a ‘head nod’ indicating all was well with your neighbour.

      Of course, back in the day it was used, as you somewhat elude to, in controlling and oppressive ways that facilitated legalism…

      This track of thinking gets me, eventually, wondering about church discipline/accountability within the locus of building wholistic and healthy relationship…

  2. Joanna · May 7, 2013

    This coming Sunday we will observe Eucharist and I will preach on love–concluding a sermon series on virtues listed in 2 Peter 1. So this is a timely post. Thanks!

    • Chris Lenshyn · May 7, 2013

      Great! Happy it was helpful! Blessings on your service this Sunday!!

  3. Bill Walker · May 8, 2013

    Reblogged this on Bill Walker | Blog.

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