This week we Lectio the Liturgy with the Prayer over the Offerings for the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. This prayer addresses the twofold needs of human nature, the physical and the spiritual.
O God, who in the offerings presented here provide for the twofold needs of human nature, nourishing us with food and renewing us with your Sacrament, grant, we pray, that the sustenance they provide may not fail us in body or in spirit. Through Christ our Lord.
Through just two simple things, bread and wine, the needs of the body and the soul, are met when we receive Holy Communion.
Bread and wine nourish the body. Like other food, what we eat and drink is assimilated, one might say, into the body. For example, when we eat an apple, the digestive system breaks it down, and the apple becomes a part of the body.
The same bread and wine, which after the Consecration, are now the Body and Precious Blood of Jesus, become our spiritual food.
In Sermon 227, St. Augustine writes, “It was by means of these things [the bread and wine] that the Lord Christ wished to present us with his body and blood, which he shed for our sake for the forgiveness of sins. If you receive them well, you are yourselves what you receive.”
It’s hard to fathom the power of that statement. We become what we receive. Unlike earthly food and drink which becomes a part of us, when we receive Holy Communion, with the right disposition, spiritually we become like Jesus, we become His body. As I thought about how the spiritual reception of Holy Communion was more important than the physical, I wondered if sometimes we have life backwards. We often think of the human person as a body with an eternal soul, but let’s turn that around.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (365) teaches that “it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.” We have life because our body has a soul.
We are Esthers, in this place in history for a time such as this. In Esther 4:14 we read, “Even if you now remain silent, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another source; but you and your father’s house will perish. Who knows—perhaps it was for a time like this that you became queen?” Perhaps it was for a time like this that you and I are here.
It is more important than ever that we, in the right disposition, receive the Eucharist, not only expecting that we will be changed, but anticipating to be consumed by something or rather, Someone, greater than we are. We were made for a time such as this, and what I love about that statement is that there is no one I’d rather have join me in God’s plan for the world today, than you.
Thanks for praying with me,