As we enter into Ordinary Time the Church places before us mysteries of our faith. Last week we pondered the immense mystery of the reality of God as 3 distinct persons in the one God, a mathematical mystery of 1+1+1 = 1. Today we are invited to reflect on the real presence of Christ to us in the Eucharist which we celebrate and through it receive the Lord Jesus’ abiding nearness to those who “do this in memory of” him.
Unlike the mysteries of novels, movies, and TV shows, these mysteries will never be solved by human intelligence. We would not have even known about them if not for God’s revealing them to us. The best we can hope for is a deep appreciation of what these mysteries tell us about God and God’s relationship to us: the Trinity speaks of God’s grandeur, might and majesty and the Eucharist tells us the closeness of God to us in the person of the Lord Jesus.
There are many ways to approach the Eucharist. It’s easy, for example, to get caught up the “me & Jesus” model whereby the Eucharistic presence of the Lord is highly individualized and seen as a source of strength and a sign of Jesus’ love for me. But, I’d like to mention a broader understanding that can be summarized in the common phrase: “You are what you eat.”
By receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, Jesus enters into every cell of who we are. He nourishes and sustains us not only individually but also that we all might be the Body of Christ to one another and to the world. His command to “Do this in memory of me” is expanded beyond the scope of this prayer time together. The “this” he speaks of is the entire action of his life on earth: healing the sick, caring for the poor, welcoming the stranger, providing comfort to the ill, the sorrowful, the hurting, and the neglected of the world. It seems to me that one of the best ways to celebrate this feast and this mystery is not a procession of the Eucharist or even an adoration of the host for an hour. Instead it is to bring the Body of Christ to the world by our walking in its streets, homes, schools and marketplaces as the Body of Christ.
Remember, you are not only what you eat but whom you receive.