The Eucharist provides for us both mission and definition. Those who heard Jesus’ words, before their own true conversion, questioned “how” Jesus could offer his flesh to nourish us. For us, it is clear the sacrifice of the Lord’s Supper and of the Cross are one. Our post-Resurrection faith enables us to understand the deeper realities of our reception of Holy Communion. Father Paul Bernier, a member of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, once wrote:
If we understand Eucharist as the mystery of Christ’s continuing ability to feed his people, if we know that his bread is broken to be shared with the needy and the poor, this will form our attitude and lend the dynamism of faith to our efforts. We need a clear idea of what kind of a world we are striving to build, and the ideal we take from the Lord’s table is that he has given us brothers and sisters the world over who have a claim on us because we accept the bread broken in order to be shared.
In approaching the reception of Holy Communion, we may well remember a “preaching story” used by Saint Jerome, in the 4th Century, who said:
When Helena, queen of Adiabene, entered the tomb which was the scene of the Resurrection she kissed the stone which the angel had rolled away from the door of the sepulcher. Indeed so ardent was her faith that she even licked with her mouth the very spot on which the Lord’s body had lain, like one athirst for the river for which he has longed for.
Many centuries later, Lord Byron once wrote, Since Eve ate apples, much depends upon dinner! Indeed, what was lost through dinner, is also restored through dinner!
May our understanding of the Eucharist make us even more hungry for Jesus in this Most Blessed Sacrament!