One of the greatest qualities of our Priest, Fr. Tim, is that he challenges us. He continually challenges us to grow in our faith, and to grow in our love for God and our neighbors. Tonight has been no exception. Tonight he built on something that he had shared with us previously, though I'm not even sure he realizes how much it has touched me in my heart.
Now I'm not going to go into deep theology about transubstantiation, consubstantiation, real presence, et al. I'm just going to talk from my experience as a new convert to the Catholic faith. We believe that Jesus is actually present in the Eucharist, that he is literally there. That when Jesus said "this is my body" it literally happened. With that in mind, just before our sacrament of First Holy Communion we were practicing. Since we had never received communion in a Catholic church it was necessary that we learn how to do so and what it means. As we were practicing, Fr Tim asked me if I wanted to receive 'on the tongue or in the hands.' I of course responded in my hands, being a germ-o-phobe. He looked me in the eye and said, when you come up... make a throne for Christ with your hands.
Wow.... I was blown away. Here I was a mere mortal man, a sinner, a man who is not worthy; about to have the honor of holding the Eucharist, the body and blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in my hands. Not just to hold it, but to enthrone it. To cherish it. To realize exactly what I believe is happening, and to attempt to be gentle, loving, and yes, reverent of what I am holding. To enthrone the King of Kings with my meager flesh.. how great a responsibility is that! My mind has been trying to grasp that and to come to terms with it for the few weeks that have passed since the Easter Vigil.
Tonight he once again blew me away. As we were talking he talked about Mother Theresa of Calcutta. He spoke of how she would contend that the same Christ that is present in the Eucharist, is present in the dying child on the street. We come to church dressed in our finest, holding our unworthy hands forward almost with greed for the body and blood of Christ, for the Eucharist, and we touch it without reservation. We hold it with love and reverence. Do we do the same with the diseased ridden body? With the child covered in feces and flies? With the man and woman in the old folks home covered in sores? Do we enthrone the prisoner in prison? Or the young woman who is back-talking her parents? Do we reach out and wrap our hands lovingly around the broken heart of our daughters when their boyfriends have injured them? Or the skint knee of our child as she has fallen?
Are you enthroning Christ in your life? Are you seeing Jesus in every person you meet and trying to enthrone him, hold him reverently, treat him with love and purity? Are you hands reaching out to him in love? Or are you pulling them back, away from his presence in fear of pain? Fear of disease? Fear of germs?
His servant, and yours;