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GUEST COLUMNIST | Embrace the Eucharistic dynamic, change the world

Jesus’ entire existence was eucharistic. If you and I are going to live as His disciples and respond wholeheartedly to the gift of His grace, our lives need to be marked by a eucharistic dynamic.

This eucharistic dynamic is as simple as it is profound. It emerges most clearly on the night before Our Lord enters into His passion, but it marks Jesus’ whole life, death and resurrection. In a catechesis on the Road to Emmaus, Pope Francis observes that:

“[Jesus] repeats for the disciples the fundamental gesture of every Eucharist. He takes bread, blesses it, breaks it, and gives it. Does not Jesus’ entire history perhaps lie in this series of gestures? And is there not in every Eucharist, also the symbol of what the Church should be? Jesus takes us, blesses us, ‘breaks’ our life — because there is no love without sacrifice — and offers it to others; He offers it to everyone” (General Audience, May 24, 2017).

Jesus received every day of His earthly life as a gift from the Father and raised it up in blessing; then He allowed Himself to be broken open and given away for others. Throughout His public ministry, Jesus takes who and what is before Him, blesses them as they are, breaks them open to a new experience of the kingdom of God which is at hand, and then offers the fruit of this encounter back to the Father in and through the Spirit.

Jesus wants us to enter into this dynamic and dramatic love story. He deeply desires that we offer Him our very selves — our sometimes put-together but often messy selves, our broken and yet repaired, limping and yet loving selves. He wants to take and bless all of it, and then break it open so that we might be able to make our own sacrificial offering for others — giving away what we have received.

This might all sound nice in the abstract, but here’s a concrete way that it would change the world: Let’s ask Jesus to take that one person or situation that poses the greatest challenge for us right now into His holy hands. Let’s dare to let Jesus bless that person or situation (yes, that one). Let’s invite Jesus to break open our hearts to offer some prayer or some penance, some gesture or some grace, for that person or that situation. And then let’s watch Jesus deliver light and new life where it seems like there is only darkness and even death.

Jesus wants to change the world. Jesus wants to transform all those relationships and situations which cause us pain, and He waits for us to invite Him into this redemptive work. Jesus wants us to know that we are infinitely loved, and He waits for us to embrace the fact that “there is no love without sacrifice.” Our Lord longs to empower us to embrace this eucharistic dynamic through the bread which He gives — His flesh for the life of the world (John 6:51).

Jesus, loving in the Eucharist, come and love in us!

David Spesia is the executive director of the secretariat of evangelization and catechesis for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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