Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A throne for Christ

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? 

Matt 25: 34* Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35* for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' 37 Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? 38 And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? 39 And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?' 40* And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' 41* Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' 44 Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?' 45 Then he will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.' 46* And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

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?

Lord Jesus help me to see you in every person I meet. Help me to begin to enthrone all of those in my life, seeing them with your eyes of mercy. Allow me to realize that your presence is coming toward me and that I must reach out my hands to grasp it, to enthrone it, to revere it. That all life is sacred and that I, though a mortal man, am given the beautiful grace of being able to share it with others. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

His servant, and yours;