Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
Eileen Wirth is the retired chair of the department of journalism at Creighton University, but continues to write for their daily scripture reflections. I stole this for you because it touched me very much and captured how I feel on this special EMMAUS Day.

Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way, and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread. - Luke 24:35

In happier days, we EME’s [Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist] would stand in the sanctuary of St. John’s offering worshipers the host or the chalice. “Body of Christ” or “Blood of Christ” we would say, smiling at each recipient, naming those we knew. The ritual has never grown stale for me.

As I write this, it is Holy Thursday and like the rest of you, I can’t attend Mass or receive communion tonight.

However, today’s gospel from Luke about Jesus’ apparition to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus reminds us how central the sacramental breaking of bread is to our Christian identity.

In Luke’s gospel, this was how the disciples recognized Jesus. In our day, receiving the Eucharist is one of the ways we affirm our connection with the living Body of Christ snaking in lines up to our sanctuaries everywhere.

The Body of Christ.

It includes all of us – young, old, women, men, all races, ethnicities and economic levels. As one of my favorite St. Louis Jesuit hymns, “One Bread, One Body,” says, “we are one body in this one Lord.”

I’ve felt this affiliation in magnificent cathedrals and humble country churches, with my beloved St. John’s community and in foreign churches where I didn’t understand the local language. But the sacrament united us.

So, what does this all mean at this strange, hard time?

In Luke’s account, the two disciples were feeling bereft at the loss of Jesus but after they recognized him through the breaking of the bread, they realized he was still with them. That’s true today.

Jesus has not abandoned us. He’s present in his living Body to help us cope with our hardships.

May this time of separation from receiving the Eucharist increase our love of the sacrament and the communities in which we receive it. May we remember that this Body knows no borders and that at the end of every Eucharistic celebration we are admonished to “go forth to love and serve the world and one another.”

It’s up to us to bring our identity with the Body of Christ to life and not to leave it at the church door – that is when we can finally return to entering those doors!

Thank You, Eileen.

I hope you were able to touch a little of what touched me, namely Eucharist is what we are all about. I’m not talking about bread. I’m talking about personal presence. We are making our spiritual communions in these shut-down days, but I truly believe that Jesus would not have left us such an important gift if He didn’t realize that we touch and feel in many ways. It doesn’t get more concrete than “This is my Body...”

As I have said in my LIFE AT ST. SEBASTIAN emails, I have been celebrating each day for you. Most of all, I pray that we will soon ALL be gathered at the table to once again meet each other in Word, in Each Other, AND.... IN SACRAMENT! O Lord, Hear Our Prayer!

In Him,
sign frjim

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