Receiving Jesus

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home Depositphotos_66923613_m-2015.jpg
June 3, 2018 –The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Mark 14:12-16, 22-26

Each year the Church creates a Sunday for us to celebrate and reflect on the meaning of the Eucharist. Our gospel reading for our annual meditation is the brief account of the Last Supper from Mark’s gospel. This meal with the Lord might also be called “the First Supper of the New Covenant” established through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. It is one of those feasts (like Christmas and Easter) that is a bottomless reservoir for our reflection. Here are some ideas for this year’s celebration.

I begin by recalling my First Communion. I was in a Catholic school and under the direction of my third grade nun. We assiduously practiced for the Big Day, maybe a hundred times. After all, we were going to receive Jesus himself. I recall thinking that this was going to be the most important day of my life. And in some ways, it was.

Remnants of my First Communion memories likely remain somewhere deep within me. But I also know that my ideas about this (and everything else) need to grow and develop. To live is to grow, in wisdom and age. My First Communion was a good start, but it was only a beginning, not the culmination of my life of faith in the Eucharist. Added to my Eucharistic thoughts are two additional thoughts that help me appreciate the gift of the Eucharist all the more. I offer these “new ideas” here with the hope they will help you.

First, instead of focusing on receiving Jesus into my heart, I think of Jesus receiving me – all of me – right now with all the good and not so good that I am at this moment. When I walk up to the Eucharistic minister to meet Jesus, I imagine Jesus coming to me with open arms and encouragement and understanding and forgiveness and love. Just as he did to countless people like me on the dusty roads of Palestine two-thousand years before. He no doubt smiled at them as they drew near to him, just as he does with me each Sunday. He is thinking of me and all the challenges I am facing as I make my way forward. He wants to be close to me in deep friendship. In a sense he is my big brother – and a lot more, too. So, I not only receive and encounter him, but he draws me into himself and his love for me.

Second, I am not only connected in Eucharistic reception with Jesus but also with his whole body – with what our Church calls the Mystical Body of Christ. That includes my parents and grandparents who have passed on and passed life to me, to other relatives and friends. Even to those, both living here now and deceased, who remain in Christ. In other words, this is quite a magnificent and expansive Eucharistic reception. Amen.

© David M. Thomas, PhD