The WORD in Other Words by Fr Bar Fabella SVD (Philippines)
Friday Week 3 Easter, Acts 9:1-20, John 6:52-59
Annually, in all Philippine parishes, pupils in Grade IV undergo formation to prepare them to receive for the first time the body of Christ in Holy Communion. While we prepare the first communion ceremony to be as solemn as possible, to show utmost respect for the body and blood of Christ.
In ordinary celebrations of the Eucharist in chapels or big churches, disrespect is commonly observed. People are busy with their cellphones, talking to each other, looking as if their minds are out somewhere.
In my new parish, when entering the altar during the entrance procession, I always genuflect instead of just bow my head.
In one Simbang Gabi in a small chapel in Batangas years ago, at the consecration, an old man in his mid—70‘s, suddenly came out of the pew and in the middle of the aisle struggled with all his might to kneel and bow his head before the Eucharist. It must have been excruciating. From then on, I told myself, in moments where I have to give respect to the Holy Eucharist, I would never just bow my head again. l would instead genuflect, something that we do only to God our King.
Of course, these are mere gestures to show that we really worship Christ because we believe in His presence in the Eucharist. We complete our respect when, in receiving him in the Eucharist, we also live the life he set out for us, for example, sacrificing much of ourselves for others — family, neighbors, community.
Jesus left us this commandment, to eat His flesh and blood. Going to Church on Sundays and ordinary days where we worship Him and show our respect to the Eucharist is certainly not enough. How do we then live the Eucharist in our daily life?