Tonight, as friends and Parishioners of St. Mary’s, Crescent and Corpus Christi we gather for part one, if you will, of the Triduum.
On this Holy Thursday, the Eucharist is certainly a key element. As Catholics, we believe that the Eucharist – Holy Communion – is “confected” at every Mass.
The Eucharist that we receive, the Eucharist that we reserve in the Tabernacle for Communion to the sick and dying is really, actually the body and blood of Jesus under the appearance of bread and wine.
It is interesting that the early church, the church at the time of St. Paul, certainly believed that the risen Jesus was present in the Eucharistic bread and wine, but after receiving the Eucharist their focus needed to change.
And we know Paul was displeased with some of the people of Corinth… Why? Because they failed to see the risen Jesus in ALL the people sharing in the Eucharist with them, especially the poor. Paul believed that it takes a death to recognize the risen Lord in all the people around us, all the people.
But what kind of death/dying?
Dying of attitudes, actions, presumption, even beliefs, etc. that inhibit us from seeing Christ among us, in each other.
Truth is, we often see ourselves better than that person in some way or ways: better job, home, car, schooling, better kids (sometimes), better Parish (so and so parish is closer to my home but I would never go there)…
There is no doubt there are difference between all people.
But, just maybe, our differences are God’s way of reminding us our God is a God of differences, our God is an inclusive God, our God is a God who has created all of us, all of us “made in the image and likeness of God!”
Several years ago, Los Angeles Cardinal Mahoney wrote a Pastoral Letter and in it he suggested that at Communion time of Mass, “nothing should distract people from looking around, observing the faces of those who were receiving Communion with them.” Each face represents the Body of Christ among us.
Just maybe, our belief in the real presence in the Eucharist we receive is linked to our belief or ability to see Christ among us in those we Worship with, and in the many people we know and the many people we meet in those minutes, hours and days between our reception of the Eucharist.
As a song of many years ago reminded me, “Look beyond the bread you eat; see your Savior and your Lord” in the people around you, around us today and increasingly so in the days to come.