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SUNDAY SCRIPTURES FOR JUNE 11 | The Eucharist is food for our journey through life

On Corpus Christi, let’s reflect on how we welcome everyone to God’s table through acts of mercy and love

What better way to celebrate after Pentecost than to acknowledge the great gift that Jesus gave to us. In the Eucharist, Jesus gives us His very self. He asks us to remember what God has done for us and promised us. Let’s take a journey through the unforgettable moments and remind ourselves of what we may have forgotten.

The Scripture readings for this solemnity begin with the book of Deuteronomy. Moses speaks to the people and asks them to remember God’s faithfulness as they walked through the desert. Even though it was a struggle in the long journey, they were given everything they needed to survive. Even though God had brought them out of slavery and was leading them into freedom, they still became unfaithful and impatient.

Many of us struggle with that same sort of forgetting and remembering, especially when the journey seems tough. We forget all the ways that God has brought us through one event of our lives. We have been given everything that we need, and yet sometimes we take credit for what has been a gift given to us. We sometimes even feel entitled to the blessings that we have, forgetting that all of life and all of our possessions are simply shared with us for the common good of all.

And on this feast, when we celebrate the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, we are called to examine our practice of faith around this great gift. It is a time to examine our willingness to join with the community on a regular basis as we celebrate the Eucharist. Participation in the Eucharist should be the source and center of our lives, and yet sometimes we excuse ourselves from participating too lightly. It might be time to examine our own practice of faith and see if there is a deeper way for us to share in the Eucharist itself.

Jesus is the bread come down from heaven. Jesus is the faithful one who shares His Word with us. Jesus is the one who is present in a very real way in the people with whom we gather in the Eucharist. When we are present at the Eucharist and we hear the words, “this is my Body” and “this is my Blood,” we should know that this is the truth that sets us free. This is the food for the journey on which we are accompanied by Jesus and each other.

Are you on a journey through a desert in your life? Come to the Eucharist. Are you on a mountaintop experiencing the deepest love of Jesus? Come to the Eucharist. Are you having questions or doubts or fears? Come to the Eucharist. We are all the children of God, welcome at the table.

Regular participants in the Eucharist need to examine our conscience to make sure that we are welcoming anyone who shows up at our doors. Jesus made sure that all those who felt unwelcome or who were judged as unclean were allowed to be present and part of the community. Jesus had little patience with those who judged themselves to be better than others. If Jesus were to appear in your church community and asked those who were without sin to throw the first stone, would you be eligible for that stone throwing? I suspect that your church community is much like ours, and that we are a gathering of sinners who depend on God’s mercy and love and experience that most often through each other. Let us enrich the Body of Christ today, through acts of mercy and love, especially toward those who find it so difficult to believe that they are lovable.

Father Wester is pastor of All Saints Parish in St. Peters.

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