Eucharist And Family – The Real Deals: One Bread, One Body, One Cup of Blessing
I was waiting for a friend in one of the mall restaurants when my attention wandered again and again to a table next to mine where a family of 5, while having dinner, were preoccupied spending time with their individual technological gadgets (pardon for my kibitzing!). The couple (husband and wife) were busy with their cellphones while the 3 kids were likewise engrossed with their whatever tech gizmos they were busy with. The father was talking to someone over the phone, the wife was like enjoying watching at her phone as she was smiling to herself while the kids were apparently playing games (both hands on the gadget) which totally engrossed them, somewhat forgetting the food on the table. I didn’t see/hear them talk to each other during their dinner time except when they left which made them stopped and eventually kept their gadgets and started walking away.
The above incident where the said family instead of having probably a weekend dinner-out date to bond, eat together and enjoy the food (supposedly these were the objectives), unfortunately did the opposite. I felt they were more connected with their tech gadgets, as if there was something more enjoyable about it which kept them distant from each other even if they were close together just seated an inch apart.
Don’t get me wrong. I am a fan of any form of technology and a social media enthusiast but I realized it was awkward and sad at the same time seeing the said family all buried into their phones and gadgets while having dinner. Nowadays, we see some people particularly the young ones doing tech-related stuff as a form of interpersonal bond. However, for family bonding moments it would still be more prudent to see family spending quality time and sharing stories, with their tech gadgets switched off or set aside, particularly during eating time. When we give toys to kids for instance, there is normally an accompanying reminders to be careful in handling them. We define and set boundaries/limitations on how and when to use technological gadgets or any other form of disruptions in order to enhance family relations and savor the essence of personal communications.
This is the same thing with our relationship with God. As Christians and in line with the Church teachings, the family serves as the foundation of our Christian faith formation. It is basically through our parents where we learn our faith by knowing, loving, serving and glorifying God. Apart from this however, there is also a need to listen properly and ponder on Christ’s teachings and eventually share the same coupled with acts of mercy and kindness to our neighbors as much as possible without any hesitations and disturbances.
Attending the Holy Mass or the Holy Eucharist especially on Sundays is one spiritual activity which unite family together. In fact, the Holy Eucharist gives force to the sacrament of matrimony which is the foundation of a stable Christian family. The Holy Eucharist is one of the Sacraments and is considered as the heart and center of our Christian faith. As Catechists would teach us when we were young, the Eucharist is both a sacrifice and a meal. It is a sacrifice as it embodies the saga of Jesus Christ on earth, His life, suffering, death and resurrection. It is a meal as we partake the body and blood of Jesus Christ during the Holy Communion. We have been made aware that there are many fruits in Eucharistic adoration specifically when we receive the Holy Communion.
Likewise, it is during the Eucharistic celebration that Jesus Christ is present with us, particularly when the priest utters the sacred words over the gifts, and that the bread and wine cease to exist and it is Jesus Christ Himself who is there, in His Divine Nature and Man. The Gospel today during the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ (according to St. Mark 14:12-16,22-26) states the following: “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.” Because of God’s love for mankind, Jesus Christ gave up His own flesh and blood to save us all. As such, He is reminding us again that we should be in communion with Him, as in we must obey His commandments and be connected with our brothers and sisters by taking action in sharing what we have to those in dire need so as to gain the gift of eternal life.
The most crucial part of the Holy Eucharist is the transformation of the host (bread) and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ which will then be partaken by the parishioners during the Holy Communion. This is the substance of the Holy Mass in the Catholic Church; the Eucharist is the core of a Catholic’s life. As mentioned in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “ the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking.”
This is the reason why (apart from being the place of worship) church goers are requested to observe reverence in Churches particularly during the mass. We are requested to observe silence, dress properly, turn off cellphones and tech gadgets that would detract attention away from the reason for being there, i.e. to pray to and worship
Believe it or not, our Christian faith in the Holy Eucharist and our respective families are the “real deals” in our lives. They serve as the center and soul of our Christian life. They provide us the spiritual and emotional support whenever needed. It is in the Eucharist where we commemorate the life of Jesus Christ and it is where our families and members of the Church gather together to praise and glorify God and partake of the sacred host. If we make the Eucharist as the heart of our Christian family life, it will not only build unity but will also promote peace, love and understanding among the family members, the community and ultimately mankind.
The Holy Father noted that the Eucharist is Jesus Christ Himself. In one of his homilies, Pope Francis pointed out that the Eucharist empowers family life and Christian families draw their life from the Eucharist. The Holy Eucharist is such a very important Sacrament, it is a grace from God and so we should not take this matter for granted. St. Thomas Aquinas stated: “What more wondrous than this Holy Sacrament! No other sacrament is so beneficial: sins are purged away, virtues are increased, the soul is satiated with an abundance of every spiritual gift.
The “Institution of the Eucharist” is truly relevant in our faith journey. Because of its importance it has been made part of the Luminous Mystery of the Holy Rosary to remind us that Jesus Christ offers His body and blood for us. When we receive the Holy Communion, it’s like receiving Jesus in our hearts. We take part in the celebration with the Church community with reverence and prayer, sharing and eating together the one Bread and the one Cup. Pope Francis once mentioned that participation in the Eucharist will move us always to follow the Lord every day, to be instruments of communion, to share with Him and with our neighbor who we are, so that our lives will be truly fruitful. Amen.