Saturday, June 21, 2014

Live Forever

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

[T]he LORD, your God, has directed all your journeying in the desert, so as to test you by affliction and find out whether or not it was your intention to keep his commandments. Deuteronomy 8:2

Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.  1 Corinthians 10:17

"I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."  John 6:51

Piety is made up from our relationship to Christ.  Piety is more than putting on the Mind and the Heart of Christ.  It is also to have his Body and Blood as part of us.  We never think twice about the reality of how the food we consume becomes a part of our body and blood.  We know we become what we eat.  It is harder to appreciate that when we go to communion, we are becoming the body and the blood of Christ.  Most of us sell ourselves short of the destiny God has waiting for all of us in the ways we are nourished by the water and the blood that flows from the side of Christ pierced on the cross for us.  We are called Christians and so we are in our gift of self to others.  Christian means Christ-like and that perhaps is enough for most Christians.  But it should also mean real “Christs” and that is what we are becoming by our frequently communicating our gift of self in the name of Christ.

The finest wine I ever drunk in my life came from a bottle more than a hundred years old.  It might well have been the best wine of the 18th century.  I was with young people that drank it down without appreciating the once in a lifetime opportunity they were having.  I tried to teach them how to appreciate it.  In celebrating Eucharist, I sometimes wonders if it is even possible to truly appreciate what the gift of communion is worth.  Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  There is only one Eucharist.  Our celebration is a moment that does not exist in time. Christ died once and forever for us.  We celebrate his dying every time we are at Eucharist.  Since we are there at a moment that exists in all of time, we are there with all the people we love with whom we have ever celebrated Eucharist.  He makes us one in our togetherness with him.   We are one with him and with all we are with.  There is one Lord and one Eucharist and we are all one with him and everyone else by Eucharist.

We make Eucharist out of our lives by the ways we share our time and energy.  How often we offer all of ourselves to the person we are with makes the Eucharist of Christ live on in who we are.  Christ gave all of himself to us by emptying himself out of his “God-ness” to be one of us in his humanness.  How I empty myself out of the extras of life surely is Eucharist.  But it is more real when I share the essentials of my life with those in need. We live in a world that is materialistic in how it tries to hold unto to what is has and to get more.  Eucharist is the opposite.  The challenge of Action is in the giving of self away with the best of us offered each moment of our service of others.  Action is the ultimate of prayer, as words become the reality of who we are, in what we do for another.  As we give ourselves away in prayer, our lives become the reality of the promise of eternal life. 

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