Food for the heart and soul

Moments in Philippine Daily Inquirer by Fr Jerry Orbos SVD

In every Mass, we hear what the account of Mark 14, 12-16, 22-26, Jesus took the bread, blessed it, and broke it. He gave a piece to each of His disciples, saying: “Take it; this is My body.” In a similar way, he took the cup, gave thanks, and passed it to His disciples, saying: “This is My blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.” This is the Passover meal, the way the Eucharist was instituted, and how the first Mass was celebrated.

The Eucharist is the highest point of our Christian life and worship even as the Mass is the highest form of prayer. When we gather for a Mass, we surrender to the Lord all that we are, all that we have, and all that we do. Strengthened by the Lord, from receiving Him in the Eucharist, we go forth renewed to continue our journey to God’s heart as a Church, as a people.

For some, the Eucharist is just a ritual, an obligation, or a supplement. Some may also regard it as a commodity—devoid of spirituality, vitality and meaning. May the Holy Spirit renew in us, priests and laity, an appreciation and love for the Eucharist in our lives, in the here and now.

The Eucharist is a sign and a symbol of our unity as a people, but there is hardly any interaction among the congregation during Mass. People don’t get to know or even greet one another. Often, there is a tendency to be “first” and to overtake one another at Communion time. For many, the Mass is a “me and my God” thing, and hardly about “me and my neighbor.” Or, Mass-goers tend to judge, criticize, or compare. For some, it’s just about “me and myself.”

Last May 31, I celebrated the fiesta Mass in the Holy Trinity Parish in Batangas City. As I started my homily, I looked up and saw three doves perched on one of the beams of the roof of the church. I asked everyone to look up and immediately, spontaneous applause came from the whole congregation. We all realized the message—the presence of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in our very midst! Yes, God speaks to us in very simple, concrete ways. Very timely and fitting for last Sunday’s gospel message: “And behold, I am with you always until the end of the age” (Mt. 28, 20). May we be constantly reminded of the real presence of God, especially in every Mass.

Every time I celebrate the holy Mass, I sincerely thank God for His tremendous gift of the Eucharist to us. Personally, I humbly thank Him for His gift of priesthood to me, unworthy as I am. I ask everyone to pray for us, your priests, as we pray for you in our Masses.

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