Eucharist connects us to Jesus' limitless power and inexhaustible love
by Sister Francis Bangert
After having celebrated two significant feasts of our faith, the feast of Pentecost and the Most Holy Trinity, we now reflect on the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ ... the Eucharist. All the readings for today focus on food.
We are what we eat. A daily diet of fatty foods rich in calories harms our health. A daily diet of nutritional, plant-based foods improves our health. We are what we eat. This is not a new learning. Back in the Third Century, St. Augustine of Hippo observed this reality and recognized the importance of repeated practices to inspire and change us.
At every gathering around the Lord’s table, we believe that bread and wine are changed. During the Eucharistic Prayer they become the Body and Blood, the Soul and Divinity of the Risen Christ. This is the mystery of our faith ... that Christ has become our food.
St. Augustine wrote, “If you receive the Eucharist well, you are what you eat. Since you are the Body of Christ and his members, it is your mystery which you receive. As you come to communion you hear the words 'Body of Christ' and you answer 'Amen.' Be, therefore, members of Christ that your 'Amen' may be true. Be what you see. Receive what you already are.” (Fr. George Smiga, “You Are What You Eat”)
So how should the frequent reception of this mystery transform us week after week, to become more kind, more caring, more compassionate? Christ has overcome the evil in the world -- betrayal, rejection, loss, suffering, even death. He feeds us with His Risen life. That life-giving food we receive gives us courage and confidence to face our fears, anxieties and the issues that are part of our lives: healing of fractured relationships, comfort in loss, peace in times of confusion, conflict and chaos, forgiveness of those who have hurt us.
The Risen Christ who is now at the Father’s right hand with limitless power and inexhaustible love gives us the strength and confidence we need. May our Amen to the “Body of Christ” be strong and confident because we have become what we eat ... Bread for the world.