“May we never receive the Eucharist again in a distracted manner, bring Him into lukewarm hearts, or take Him for granted.”
What he did at supper seated,
Christ ordained to be repeated,
His memorial ne’er to cease:
And his rule for guidance taking,
Bread and wine we hallow, making
Thus our sacrifice of peace.
This the truth each Christian learns,
Bread into his flesh he turns,
To his precious blood the wine:
Sight has fail’d, nor thought conceives,
But a dauntless faith believes,
Resting on a pow’r divine.
This Sunday, we pray these words of St. Thomas Aquinas together as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. This feast was established for the universal Church in the thirteenth century to strengthen belief in the Real Presence and encourage people to draw close to the Eucharist.
While we remember and celebrate the institution of the Eucharist on the great feast of Holy Thursday, that feast falls during the Triduum, which is a more somber time in the Church calendar. This was to be a feast particularly to celebrate the Eucharist with all the pomp and festivity and thankfulness we can muster. So while every Mass is a celebration of this great gift of Our Lord’s Body and Blood, we set aside this day in particular to thank God for the mystery, to ask for a renewal in our faith, and to make reparation for the times the Eucharist has been desecrated or received unworthily.
This year in particularly, we should remember all those Catholics who are still not able to receive the Eucharist, whether due to sickness or suspended public celebration of the Mass. For those of us who have been able to return to Mass, this day should be particularly poignant for us. May we never receive the Eucharist again in a distracted manner, bring Him into lukewarm hearts, or take Him for granted.
Reception of the Eucharist is a gift. It’s a gift that I took for granted. I have had to opportunity to attend Mass almost every day for as long as I can remember. How often did I prefer to sleep in? Or not rearrange my schedule? Or simply forget? How often did I receive the Eucharist after spending all of Mass distracted? Why did I rush off after Mass while Jesus was still present inside of me, instead of spending those valuable moments with Him in prayer? How frequently did I go to Mass and receive Communion out of habit or routine?
For those of you still unable to receive Him, I will be offering my Holy Communion for you on Sunday. For those of us who do have the opportunity to receive Him, maybe we do so worthily, with souls cleansed by the Sacrament of Confession. May we receive Him with attentive minds, conscious of His Real Presence. May we welcome God into our humble hearts burning with love. May we never take the Eucharist for granted again.
You who all things can and know,
Who on earth such food bestow,
Grant us with your saints, though lowest,
Where the heav’nly feast you show,
Fellow heirs and guests to be. Amen. Alleluia.
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