The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

RECEIVE WITH JOY

By: Elizabeth Chesley-Jewell

As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ this weekend, I am reminded of being seven years old and being so excited to receive my First Holy Communion. I wore a beautiful white dress. I had a wreath of baby’s breath in my hair. I processed into the church with my classmates and listened as attentively as I could to what the priest was saying. When it was time to receive the Eucharist I stood in line and waited patiently for MY turn. I watched the priest place the Eucharist in my hands and ate it right away like I was told. I was only a child, but I knew that this was the beginning of a whole new relationship with Christ.

This Easter I was blessed with the opportunity to be a sponsor for one of the R.C.I.A candidates at St. Basil’s. On the night of the vigil I watched with joy and awe as he was baptized, as he was sealed with the Holy Spirit, as five priests laid their hands on his head, and finally, I stood beside him as he received the Eucharist for the first time. To be able to watch him have a personal encounter with Christ was a blessing. He, and all those who were received into the church that night, now join us at the table of the Lord every week. They began the R.C.I.A process in October and they have been transformed. They continue to be transformed.

So often we become too comfortable with the rituals of the mass. We are not always aware that when we are presented with the Body of Christ and say, “Amen,” we are saying, “Yes! I believe! I will receive this bread and I will go out into the world and be a witness for others of the love of Jesus Christ.” That “Amen,” must come from the heart, with awe, and with the same joy we felt when we received the Eucharist for the first time. Each time we receive the Eucharist we receive new life, it is like our First Communion, like the Easter Vigil, all over again. We have the chance each time to die to our old ways and allow Christ to enter even deeper into our hearts, to transform us and cleanse us.

May our hearts be open this week as we acknowledge the sacrifice Christ made for us and may we have the courage to say, “Amen,” with joy and an open heart.