Lagura: Come to the Banquet of the Lord-A A +A
In the service of the Word
Saturday, August 18, 2012
FOR the special mass to be celebrated in prison a good number of non-Catholics came invited by the Catholic inmates. But when the time for Holy Communion arrived, they were disappointed when they were told that only baptized Catholics in the state of grace could receive communion.
One of the non-Catholic prisoners openly voiced his objection, “Father, we have been invited to the Lord’s Supper, and I do not understand why we cannot take communion of the body and blood Jesus shed for the forgiveness of sins.”
After thinking for a while the priest asked them, “Do you sincerely believe that Jesus is really present here in the form of bread and wine?” When the answer was “yes,” practically all the prisoners present received communion in the banquet of the Lord.
Some have asked why the Church obliges Catholics to go to mass every Sunday, and the obvious answer is for us to eat at the banquet of the Lord. Eating or taking communion is essential for the following reasons:
1) To live, really live, for as the Lord says, “Truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man, you shall not have life in you.”(John 6:52)
2) We have to eat in order to have the needed strength in our journey. In the case of the prophet Elijah, an angel of the Lord gave him bread, first, to revive his waning strength.
Then a second time the angel gave him bread for the long journey to the holy mountain of Horeb. We, too, need the bread of life from heaven for our pilgrimage through this world to our true home.
3) We need the bread of life Jesus offers us to immunize ourselves from the evils of this world, physical as well as spiritual. We know that our beautiful world which God created good originally, has been tainted, even heavily contaminated with evil in many forms.
4) Receiving the Lord in the sacramental form of bread and wine makes us grow into the Body of Christ in order to live in Him. In communion Christ does not grow in us; rather we grow into Him or become more and more like Him. Thus, with the Lord really present in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist--sacrament being that special moment when God meets us lovingly-- we are given the unique opportunity to be more and more like Christ to others--kind, loving, just and gentle--beginning with the persons who matter most for us.
It is wonderful to note that the prisoners, Catholic and non-Catholic, who celebrated the Eucharist with us, whenever there was an opportunity, had excellent records of rehabilitating and going back to society to live once more in freedom and dignity.
“Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I in him.” (John 654-57)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 19, 2012.