The more we help others have life…the more enjoyable our lives become
What is this Feast all about and Why do we need it? Don’t we have enough Sundays and Solemnities where we share in the Eucharist: receiving the Body and Blood of Christ?!
Like everything good, we need to celebrate it more specially, on occasion, to remind ourselves how blessed we are. Think of our parents: do we not celebrate a birthday every year? And on that day we stop and think more deeply how much they do for us, and how much we depend on them? (Assuming you have a normal family.)
In the same way, we can take the Eucharist, the Body & Blood of Jesus, for granted. We can forget how special it is when burdened with worries or too many material pleasures!
Some children preparing for First Holy Communion were asked: “What is the sacrament of the Eucharist?” One courageous boy said, “it‘s ugali” (porridge made from maize flour).
Everyone burst out laughing. One might think he was only joking, since ugali is the favourite, staple, food of the locals. Some people say, if I don’t eat ugali for dinner, I’ve not eaten!
What he was saying is simply that we need food for the body to live, otherwise we die. In the same way, to be really happy (emotionally/psychologically) = to be alive!,
we need spiritual nourishment: we need the Body and Blood of Jesus (Eucharist).
Jesus left this Sacrament of Himself because we humans need to be able to touch something for comfort and certainty. Think of how kids behave when they lose their comfort toy/blanket.
We all have worries, challenges, tiredness and fear: but I can truthfully say that after morning Mass I always feel more energetic to face the world: the Eucharist is real not just a symbol!
I thank God for my parents, teachers and priests while I was growing up: they taught me to believe in the real presence. So, over many years, my sub-conscious now has a deep belief in the real presence of God in the Mass and the Eucharist.
Is it dangerous to receive the Eucharist? Without faith, then the Eucharist is like having a Rolls Royce car without the keys: it goes nowhere. With faith, the Eucharist is dangerous to our ordinary way of life: it becomes more meaningful.
Normal food consumed through the stomach breaks down and becomes part of us. However, the Eucharist does not become part of us: we become part of the Eucharist!
The Eucharist, the real Body of Christ, is something active and alive: and reminds us of the sacrifice Jesus made for us: it is humbling and encouraging.
Jesus says: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him.”
Jesus is active and, if we want to experience the joy of Jesus Christ, then we will also be active in actions of patience, gentleness, listening, forgiving, and helping others.
But, you might say, I’m too busy! That’s a sign of fear or an excuse to avoid sacrificing. When we are busy, we fear we will not get everything done: trying to do everything myself! Eventually, we will fail. However, if we trust God, and be aware of the needs of others – and actively take time to help them – I’ve always found that my work still gets done.
The 2nd Reading from St Paul reminds us that the Eucharist is not just a private devotion or a private Sacrament but that, when we receive the Eucharist, we enter into communion with God, with the people of our community and family – even our deceased family members.
And that teaches us something important also: our community allows us to have life: our parents and grandparents gave us life: as Jesus was broken so that we might have life. Let’s pause for a moment and ask: by my actions, how much life do I give to others?
I’d like to thank all the courageous small business owners who employ so many people, giving life to those employees and giving life to our country. There are many struggles when running a business, so we owe them a great debt of gratitude: let’s patronise small businesses!
Unfortunately, in our world today, there is a lot of selfishness AND a lot of unhappiness. It’s no coincidence that the two go together. Frequently, too, people have an incorrect view of whether they are worthy to receive the Eucharist, because they have not been to Confession.
That’s a good thing to be concerned about, however: I suggest we be less concerned about my personal sins, and more concerned about my sins of omission: not being patient, not listening to or helping my neighbour, etc.
May we receive the Eucharist today with a desire to thank God by giving more life to our family members and our neighbours.
By Gerard Conlan, OMI