“The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.” (Evangelli Gaudium 47)
One of the last gifts Jesus gave his disciples was His body and His blood. He sat down at a table full of imperfect humans, and He served them His body and His blood. Jesus knew that He would be leaving them soon, and so He left them the gift of Himself. This precious gift would be shared again and again first in home churches and later in Church buildings spread throughout the world – an eternal connection to that night and the magnanimous offering of Himself to all present.
In preparation for my son’s first Holy Communion a few weeks ago, I admittedly wondered if he was ready. I wondered if, in the midst of this insane year of few in-person masses and other challenges, I had prepared him enough. Thoughts like: “Does he know what he’s receiving? Does he believe in the Real Presence? Did I explain it well enough?” flooded my mind. As well as: “He still had questions, are those okay?”
As I was wondering about all of these things, I had two moments of grace. The first was seeing this quote on @jamesmartinsj’s page. As I sat with the quote for awhile and illustrated it, I internalized the truth of Pope Francis’ words. I remembered the first people to receive the Body and Blood of Christ were imperfect. They were human. Some were about to make some very questionable choices. Jesus knew this and gave them this gift anyway. “A powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” says Francis. Well aren’t we all that? Human beings weak and prone to error in need of powerful medicine.
The second moment of grace was the reminder from my spiritual director that the reception of Communion is an opportunity for Jesus to come close to my son… and to communicate to him. “How would you want Jesus to speak to your son this weekend?” she asked. “Exactly as God made him,” I answered.
Today, as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, let us remember that this was Jesus’s gift to us. It was Jesus’s gift to the world He was about to physically leave. It was His gift to imperfect, human beings. It was His way to continue to love and remain with all of us long after His death.