The Responsorial (Psalm 100) invites us: “Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.” This is an invitation
We all know that in Communion we receive the “body and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.” But do we have any idea of what that really means?
Our first answer might be, “Of course not! Jesus is God. How can we have any idea of what God really is?” And that is a fair answer.
But in Colossians 1:15-20 Paul gives us some help. He “zooms in” on twelve truths included in “Jesus is God” that we can at least wrap our minds around. He makes more concrete and vivid the “presence of the Lord” into which we are invited to “come with joy.” This is the presence we experience in Communion.
He is the image of the invisible God;
the firstborn of all creation.
In him all things in heaven and on earth were created…
All things have been created through him and for him.
He himself is before all things;
and in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the body, the church;
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
so that he might come to have first place in everything.
In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.
Through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things,
by making peace through the blood of his cross.
Is that awesome or not? This is the Jesus who comes to us, who gives himself to us under the form of bread, who enters into us and remains within us. Is that a reason to “Come with joy into the presence of the Lord”?
There is no way to give a simple (or not-so-simple) explanation here of each of Paul’s statements about Jesus. They are mysteries that invite—and reward—“endless exploration.” Bon appetit.
In Luke 5:3-39 Jesus himself provides an image that is down-to-earth. A human image of the divine. Affective, but filled with practical significance. He is responding to the Pharisees, who saw interaction with God more in terms of religion than relationship. For them, people were more or less religious according to how many religious things they did—and fasting, along with prayer and almsgiving, was one of the three major things. Jesus’ disciples didn’t fast, so the Pharisees didn’t think they could be very religious.
Jesus said the important thing is not what you do, but what kind of relationship with God you express through it. The image he gave us was that of spousal love. The value of fasting is to express longing for union with him as Bridegroom. What does this say about Communion?
Initiative: Ask before every religious act: What am I expressing by this?