Tuesday, Week Twenty-Three
The Responsorial (Psalm 145) proclaims what is embodied in the Rite of Communion: “The Lord is
compassionate to all his creatures.”
In the Rite of Communion we enter into a special experience of everything Paul has said about the “fullness” that Christ is and which he came to draw us into, and all creation with us.
In Colossians 2:6-15 Paul is speaking about Baptism, not Communion, when he says, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him.” But just as Baptism and the Eucharist celebrate the same mystery, our dying and rising in Christ, so Communion is the physical, sacramental experience of what we received by entering into that mystery. We become aware of it by celebrating it.
When you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.... God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us....
Jesus “erased the record” in the only way it could be truly erased: by taking us with our sins down into death with him as “Lamb of God.” But he shows the fullness of that forgiveness by going beyond the bounds of mere redemption (awesome as that is) and giving himself to us to be taken into our actual, sinful bodies under the form of food. Food that is Jesus himself, in whom “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” This is the “bread that came down from heaven.” Bread enclosing a promise: “The one who eats this bread will live forever.” All of this is present to us, within us, at the moment of Communion (John 6:58).
In the mystery of God’s time-frame, at the moment of Communion we are already in his eyes as we will be at the “wedding banquet of the Lamb.” We have “come to fullness in him, who is the head” of his redeemed body, who will stand before God at the “end time” as that “perfect man, who is Christ brought to full stature.” Communion makes the future present to us and in us (Ephesians 4:13).
In Luke 6:12-19 people are coming “to hear Jesus and to be healed of their diseases.” We come to him at Mass for both of these reasons: to learn his heart and mind from his words, and to be healed of anything that holds us back from the “fullness of life” he came to give (John 10:10).
“All in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed....” In the Rite of Communion Jesus gives himself to be “touched” by every person there—touched more deeply, intimately, and effectively than any did in the crowds that heard him.
We need to make ourselves aware of it.
Action: Don’t just “receive Communion.” Accept Jesus into you with awe.