What we do often can become routine. Holy Communion is a Sacrament that we can receive every day if we want. In the early Church the Lord’s Supper was celebrated sparingly and at great risk. The first Christians gathered in secret to remember what the Lord Jesus had told them to do.
The evolution of the Eucharistic celebration paints a colorful history. People died for what we believe. Since the rumor was that folks were eating and drinking someone’s body and blood the accusation was that they were cannibals. Naturally the early Christians were held in high suspicion—considered dangerous. Allowed the opportunity to renounce the Faith or they were crucified, beheaded or fed to the lions. Not until the year 313 with the Edict of Milan by the Emperor Constantine did Christianity come to enjoy freedom to celebrate the Eucharist in peace. The Mass has roots in the Passover meal. However, the Mass no longer needs a lamb of Sacrifice. Jesus became the lamb of Sacrifice. The Body and Blood of Christ offered on the cross became the new and everlasting covenant. Jesus took upon Himself all the sins of the world, from the sin of our first parents to the sins of the last human that will walk the earth. All were nailed to the cross on Good Friday. All rose to new life on Easter Sunday. In essence, every time that we celebrate the Eucharist we are celebrating the mystery of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ.
Jesus saved all of humanity without a computer, no cell phone, no I Pad. The Lord saved us by sacrificing Himself—offering Himself—becoming the sacrifice. There’s a word we don’t hear often anymore—sacrifice. What’s popular is instant gratification. At the top of everyone’s agenda is the question, “What’s in it for me? What will I get? In a throw away culture we have little regard for making a sacrifice. When we finish with someone all we do is throw them away.
Yet, in spite of our stupidities, God continues to choose us, to save us, to sacrifice Himself for us. Although we might give up on each other and perhaps give up on ourselves, God does not give up on us. Our faith in the Eucharist is intimately connected in our faith in humanity. When we are not in relationship, if we have isolated ourselves, if no one can touch us—how can we believe that the Lord is present in a piece of bread? How can we believe if we cannot see him in the flesh and blood all around us? The Mystery is beyond all comprehension and yet so easy to understand. God chose to become incarnate into the messiness of humanity but not for a temporary visit, but for all eternity. Jesus never left us and will never leave us. We leave, we get tired, angry, frustrated—not God. Some folks get so angry that they don’t speak to each other ever again. They choose not to forgive. Many defend themselves by saying, “I just can’t forgive.” Yes you can. We all have the power, especially through the Eucharist. If God can forgive us for nailing Him to the cross, we can certainly forgive each other for the every day grievances we cause. This is the place where we are all equal. Titles don’t matter, education, prestige. What matters is God’s love for us. His love brings us here to eat and drink the food of eternal life. Time to let go of all that weighs us down—all the negativity. God’s grace dominates at the Eucharist.
Better than any banquet that we will ever share—better than all the money in the world—more powerful than the greatest sin committed—the Eucharist is our ticket to salvation—that’s why we say, “Amen”.