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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

The Role of the Eucharist (A Perspective on Covid - 19 Part 13)

The world is in the deep darkness of sin. Many Christians have turned away from God, falling into apostasy. Many Catholics, who belong to the one true Church established by Jesus himself, are lapsed and nominal, or even worse. This situation rightfully incurs the wrath of God, who has allowed or actually sent COVID-19 as chastisement. This is an act of love, to try to bring us to our senses, and thus bring us back to Himself.

This situation of COVID-19 is profoundly related to the Eucharist. The Eucharist is a commemoration of the sacrificial death of Jesus, out of love for us all. By the cross, Jesus won for us our salvation. That salvation is threatened by our turning away from God. COVID-19 is one means by which God can bring us back to Himself, if only we will see God’s hand. COVID-19 and the cross are both manifestations of God’s great love for us.

For Catholics, the source and summit of our faith is the Eucharist. It is what sets us apart from most other Christian churches or groups. We believe in the Real Presence of the body and blood of Jesus in the form of bread and wine. And we are privileged to receive Jesus in Holy Communion.

The Mass itself is a celebration, a commemoration, of the central act of salvation, the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross, and his resurrection on the third day. We also look forward to the time Jesus will come again. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” (1 Cor 11:26). And Jesus himself has told us to do the Mass in memory of him. So the Mass is of utmost importance. And Holy Communion is of utmost value.

As such, entering into the mysterious presence of the Triune God during the Eucharist, and receiving the very body and blood of our Lord, we must celebrate the Eucharist in utmost reverence and awe.

At the end of the Mass, the priest-celebrant tells us to “go.” This is a reiteration of the Great Commission by which we are to proclaim Jesus to the world in the week that is to come, until the next Mass. When Catholics do so, as the early Christians did, then the light of Christ is brought into the world. If we do not, as today our Church has lost the appreciation of its missionary call, then the world will slide into darkness and sin.

Today, many Catholics no longer go to Mass. Some go sometimes, for various reasons. Then many of those who go do not accord the Eucharist the reverence it deserves. If the very core of the very Church that God intends to be light and leaven in the world is neglected or even degraded, then we can see why in the last half century the Church has been weakened, how Catholics are being lost each and every day, and how the light of Christ has been overcome by the darkness.

And now we have COVID-19. The world is being chastised through this pandemic. “That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying.” (1 Cor 11:30). Now, with the whole world under lockdown, our churches are closed and Masses have been cancelled. We are unable to receive Jesus in Holy Communion. We have neglected the Eucharist, and now we are deprived of the Eucharist. It is said that one does not appreciate what he has until he loses it.

As such, if the current situation makes us appreciate more and fervently long for the Eucharist, then even this pandemic would turn out to be a blessing. And when we finally again have access to the Eucharist, we must do things right. “If we discerned ourselves, we would not be under judgment” (1 Cor 11:31).

So COVID-19 is chastisement from God for the great evil that is in the world today. It is also chastisement for Catholics who are of the one, true faith, who are to be light and leaven in the world, but who themselves are no longer set apart but acting just as the pagans do. This pandemic is discipline from God, to get us back on the right track. Thus, “since we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.” (1 Cor 11:32). This pandemic is God’s manifestation of love for people, to get them to repent, turn back to Him, and avoid eternal condemnation.

So we need to get this right, starting with the very core of our faith, the Eucharist. We need to have greater appreciation for it, and greater reverence in partaking of it. “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.” (1 Cor 11:27-29).

We need to get back to basics. At the core of our faith is the Eucharist and Holy Communion. We get this right, and we will become true holy warriors that can make a big difference in the world. We do our work right, and many more Catholics will repent and turn back to God. If the Church gets this right, then she can be God’s light to the world and get back on missionary mode. And if the world gets it right, then COVID-19 would have done its purpose and will lapse.

When COVID-19 ends, and it will end, we need to go on the offensive, fully engaging the forces of the enemy, as there will be more intense spiritual warfare on the direction the world takes, as well as how our Church lives out her calling. We in MFC will definitely need the grace and strength provided by the Holy Spirit. At the core of our spiritual empowerment is the Eucharist.

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