Tuesday, 4, 24
In the Gospel Jesus speaks of himself as the bread of life. In looking at our attitudes toward Holy Communion I detect two faults that I want to bring to your attention. The first fault is that we fail to see that in giving himself to us Jesus was giving up his life. The second fault is that in seeing Jesus in the Eucharist as calling for adoration we miss out on what the Mass is really calling for. Okay, let’s take those two points one at a time.one at a time.
Our first fault in regard to Holy Communion is that we fail to see that in giving himself to us he was sacrificing his life.
That point becomes clear for me in recalling a cute story that was going around a decade ago. It concerned a little boy whose brother’s life could only be saved by giving him a kidney. When asked to donate his kidney the little boy thought of it seriously, then said okay. Then, before the operation to remove one of his kidneys for the transfer, he said goodbye to everyone, and he scribbled a will, giving his bicycle to a friend. He had thought that he could only give a kidney by giving his life for his brother. The family straightened him out on that.
We tend to see Jesus giving himself to us as an operation that costs him nothing. In reality it is like what the boy thought was involved. Jesus said, “This is my body which is given for you.” He gives us his life only by accepting his death. When receiving Communion we should bear in mind that it cost Jesus his life.
Secondly, in thinking that Jesus in coming to us mainly to be adored we are missing out on what the Mass is really about. There are words always said by the priest at Mass to remind us that Jesus said the blessing. That blessing is something we need to consider closely.
The traditional table blessing offered by Jesus had three parts. In the first part Jesus called to mind the favors God had showered on the diners. In the second part he asked for God’s Spirit to come down to unite the diners, and to empower them. In the third part he asked the diners to join him as part of a pleasing gift to God. The Greek words for pleasing gift were Eu and Charis.WE could compare Jesus in the Mass to the host at a Thanksgiving meal. In the name of all the diners he presents the family’s thanks and needs to God. It is not a personal prayer for him. So, in the Mass, as Jesus makes a pleasing gift of himself to God, he earnestly begs each of us to become part of that pleasing gift, that Eucharist. He doesn’t come to be turned into an emperor before whom we prostrate ourselves.