Can you remember what you had for dinner last Thurs- day? If I sat for a minute to look at my calendar and what I did that day, I might come close (though no guarantees) to remembering what it was I ate.
This doesn’t disturb me in the least. What I do know is that “I ate”. And it must have been quite sufficient be- cause I don’t remember any headache or weakness that happens when I don’t.
All this points to the fact that food serves a purpose . . . it keeps life strong. Remember that saying? “We eat to live. We don’t live to eat.” It’s enough to know we did eat and it did what food is supposed to do.
Now, if we are quite content to eat and later to forget what or where we ate, it seems we have more important things to be about, right? Like life.
So when we think of the meal we had at Mass last Sun- day, what do we remember? Not much I bet. Certainly not the food we ate. The bread is flat and tasteless. (I can’t remember a single host I ever ate at Mass!) The cup of wine is no special vintage. Maybe we remember a thought or a prayer we prayed at the time, but probably not. Life has moved on and, as always, there are new issues or concerns that linger.
Why should we expect Mass to be any different than any other meal we eat and forget? Life has moved on and, as always, there are new issues or concerns that have our attention.
Is that okay? I mean this is no ordinary food we’re eating! It’s the Body and Blood of the Lord. Shouldn’t we remember each and every time we receive our Lord in Holy Communion? The simple answer is NO.
Why? Because the purpose of the Eucharist is to strengthen our union with Christ so that we GO FORTH into the world to bring his good news to others. And we deliver the news of Christ’s life by BEING that life for others, by laying our lives down as God asks each of us in our particular circumstances.
What if Jesus, after having eaten The Last Supper with his apostles, invited the boys to the drawing room for brandy and cigars?! “What a great meal Jesus. The lamb was just right. I’m stuffed!”
No. Rather . . . “They went forth . . .” Jesus changed the history of the world the next day by laying down his life in obedience to his Father’s will. (“Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” MT. 4:4)
Think if Jesus and the boys had stayed in the upper room that night. Let’s say they skipped the Crucifixion. What good would that meal have been? Just another forgettable Passover.
That meal, the first Eucharist, became the source of grace for all Christian life to follow. That is what the Eucharist needs to be for us at Holy Trinity. It is a strengthening of our union and life with Christ first and foremost . . . but then . . . we must “go forth to love and serve.”
Without our going into the world in the name of Christ, we are not doing what the Eucharist was meant to do in us.
One last thought. Just like that meal you had last week did what food is supposed to do in you, so the Mass and its spiritual food will accomplish its purpose in us. It’s a sure thing.
If we let it.