The Third Sunday of Easter
April 17-18, 2021
Along with a good friend of mine, I have been ushering the overflow congregation in Kilduff Hall at the Sunday 10:30 mass. This past weekend we were joined before mass by his young brother, who is in second grade and about to receive his First Communion. The little boy was visibly bursting with joy and excitement over the expectation of participation in the Eucharist.
It was the same exuberance that I witnessed at this year’s Easter Vigil as the candidates of initiation had reached their long anticipated goal of becoming full members of our church community. With each “Amen”, my own faith was renewed and strengthened. It reminded me of the awesome gift we were first given at the Lord’s Last Supper, commemorated on Holy Thursday and continue to accept at each mass.
It is not just a symbolic gesture in which we partake, but the real presence of ‘the body, blood, soul and divinity’ of our Lord Jesus Christ that we consume. In doing so we each become a tabernacle, a dwelling place of our God. This truth is one of our most basic and essential tenants of our Catholic faith. It is what makes us who we are.
If there was ever a doubt in this belief, you need only speak to a Catholic during this time of the pandemic. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, many of us were unable to receive the Eucharist for months and for some over a year. While they missed their fellow church goers, their social clubs and service groups, it paled in comparison to the deep longing they had to receive Christ in the Eucharist again.
When they finally did so, they shared the same joy and felt the same overpowering emotions as the little children or the catechumens receiving Jesus for the first time. Let us never take it for granted. When the words are spoken to us, ‘The Body of Christ’ and,j one day, ‘The Blood of Christ’ we pray ‘Amen.’ I believe.
Patrick J. Perkins