During these past ten months as we’ve hunkered down in our homes and prayed for health and healing for ourselves and our world, I’ve heard two wishes repeated more than any others. “I wish I could be with my friends in church again” and “I wish I could receive Holy Eucharist again.”
So in light of this second wish I humbly offer a brief reflection. Each time in the past as we gathered to receive bread and wine – the Sacred Body and Blood – we have heard these lines spoken to us. “The Body of Christ, the bread of heaven” and “The Blood of Christ, the cup of salvation.”
I remind us of this because more than any other action or ritual, the most important and significant action of my own priesthood is placing the “Body of Christ” and/or offering the “Blood of Christ” into your hands and gazing into your eyes. Without fail, it is the high point of most of my days and weeks.
What makes it so significant to me, however, might not be what you think it is.
Its importance to me is not because of my role as Eucharistic leader. Its significance doesn’t come from the fact that many of the actions performed in our worship are reserved only for myself and a few others. No, its meaning comes from this:Each time I place bread or wine into open hands, I am gazing into the eyes of CHRIST HIMSELF. YOU ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST. IT IS THE BLOOD OF CHRIST FLOWING THROUGH YOUR VEINS. This is what we have always believed and proclaimed as Christians. This is why we have gathered in the past and will soon, in God’s grace, gather together again. But until then, please know and always remember this.
Christ is not somehow out there. Jesus is not somehow gone. No, Jesus Christ is alive and well – LIVING IN YOU and ME. Whether we find ourselves worshipping and praying in our living rooms, on our telephones, or in a church, we are WITH and IN Jesus Christ because Jesus Christ is WITH and IN US. And when we log into Zoom and see all those faces looking back at us next Sunday, please don’t forget that we will be looking at the face(s) of Jesus Christ Himself!
With love and blessings in this New Year,