Editor’s note: This is the sixth of a series of columns Father Jeff Kirby is writing for Lent.
Sixth truth: The eucharistic presence of Christ.
Oftentimes, in visiting the sick in a hospital or those who are homebound, there is no right thing to say. People don’t really want great insights or powerful assertions. They simply want someone to be with them.
In these times, we are called to give the ministry of presence. It’s a difficult and self-emptying service because it only involves being there and not doing anything.
The desire for presence within each of us does not stop at the human level. There is a much greater pining that has an eternal reality. Every human person seeks an enduring, divine presence.
How does this longing find expression in our lives? How has God provided a way for humanity to know and experience this presence?
Jesus solemnly assures his people that he does not leave them orphaned. His presence can be seen in many ways, but none are as perfect and complete as the Eucharist.
In every celebration of the Mass, the one, eternal sacrifice of Jesus Christ is presented again by the power of the Holy Spirit to all who are in attendance. At the Mass, we are able to experience the cross and resurrection of Jesus; we are able to participate in the sacrifice, and are empowered to make it real and applicable in our daily lives.
From the Mass, we receive Christ’s eucharistic presence in the church. Under the appearance of bread and wine, Jesus rests and labors with his people.
He is always approachable and available to us. He patiently waits to offer his friendship to us.
Jesus asks to be a part of our lives, and lovingly makes us a part of his own life. He wants to hear us and speak to us.
Like the consolation and joy we receive from the company of a loved one, the encounter with the Eucharistic Jesus can renew and sustain us.
The prophets tell us to walk humbly with our God and to dwell in awe before his holy presence. In the Eucharist, Jesus walks humbly with us, he pitches his tent with us and he fills us with his awe.
The life of the church and of the disciple should center on the Eucharist. It is the heart and the key of the Christian message: God is with humanity.
In the mystery of the Eucharist, our honor, romance, fidelity and love receive infinite endurance. Our sufferings, longings, joys and searching receive eternal fulfillment.
Christ’s eucharistic presence is truly the summit and source of our faith, our way of life, and of all good things.
In the Eucharist, we see a sign and receive a foretaste of the glory of heaven where we will dwell with our God, and he will dwell with us.
A eucharistic faith can feed and strengthen us in this life. It can inspire within us a love for God’s presence and a burning desire for heaven, where every tear will be wiped away and God will forever be all in all.
Father Kirby is the parochial vicar at St. Mary Help of Christians parish in Aiken. Visit www.jeffrey-kirby.com.