The Marks Post: Getting consumed in what we eat
Well, it’s the end of the year, and I was going to write a column reviewing some of my personal highlights from the past year. However, something happened over the Christmas break that disturbed me. So, my year in review will have to wait until Sunday.
The disturbing thing happened at Christmas Eve Mass in Baton Rouge when the priest did not elevate the Blessed Sacrament at any point during the Mass especially during consecration. Every time he didn’t elevate, I shook my head and mutter under my breath.
My first inclination was the priest didn’t elevate because of Covid, but that doesn’t make sense. The only person consuming the host that the priest consecrates is him. And, the priest is usually the only person to drink from that chalice.
I don’t know why he didn’t elevate. I just hope it wasn’t a matter of him just going through the motions and not believing in what he was doing.
Maybe I am overreacting to this, but I feel like this is something I needed to address. I feel like I also need to address what is that we are eating.
The Israelites who left bondage in Egypt had a similar question of “What is this” when God sent them manna and quail in the desert. The manna was bread that rained down from Heaven every day. Each morning, according to the Book of Exodus, a layer of dew fell upon the camp. Once the dew evaporated, flakes like hoarfrost appeared on the ground.
In John Chapter 6, during the Bread of Life Discourse, Jesus told His disciples He is the true bread from Heaven. In verses 32-33, Jesus says, “Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Jesus adds, two verses later, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
The Jews began to murmur against Jesus and scoffed at his words which prompted Him to say in verses 48-51, “I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
As Catholics, we believe the consecrated bread and wine is the physical Body and Blood of Christ.
This is the same body that was pierced by a lance when Jesus was still hanging on the cross after His crucifixion. At that moment, blood flowed out from his side. This is the same Blood we drink at Mass. Also flowing out from Christ’s side was water. This water is the wellspring of God’s mercy and was what the prophet Ezekiel witnessed in his visions when he saw water flowing from the right side of the temple.
These are just a few examples from Scripture to show what is the Blessed Sacrament which is the focal point of every Mass and something that should not be taken lightly.
My main takeaway from this is to remind ourselves to not take for granted what we are doing at Mass. Let’s not just go through the motions. Let’s not just consume the bread and wine and go about our merry way. Instead, let’s let the Body and Blood of Christ consume us and overpower our lives. Maybe, then will the world become a better place.