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SUNDAY SCRIPTURES FOR JUNE 2 | Awake, alive and alert to the gift of the Eucharist

Corpus Christi can be a time when we reflect on how our relationship with Jesus has changed our life

The greatest gift of God is the gift of His Son Jesus. The greatest legacy that we could be given is to be the living body of Christ throughout the world. On this feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus, we take time to acknowledge and embrace with gratitude the gift that God has given to us in the Eucharist. We also take some time to examine how gracious we are in receiving that gift and how closely we are becoming an image of Jesus Christ in the world today.

The ability to participate in the Eucharist is given to us through the graciousness of God. God’s love is always expressed without condition and without end. That grace — inherited by us because we are children of God — is offered throughout the world. Every time the Eucharist is celebrated, Jesus becomes present to us. Why would God choose to do that? Why does God keep loving us when our days and years are marked by infidelity and sin? Why is God so faithful to us and we don’t return the favor? Instead of living in shame, embarrassment or guilt, we need to continue to practice graciously receiving a gift that we don’t deserve and will never earn.

This is a good time for us to examine how consciously we embrace the gift of the Eucharist. Has it become so habitual in our lives that we failed to consciously receive this incredible gift? Has the Eucharist become so available to us that we treat it on the same level as a soccer game, a gymnastics event or a camping trip? Do we simply think that we can skip it one week or three weeks or two years and not miss the gift that is our lifeblood? If the Eucharist has become unconscious to us, a habit that we perform out of guilt or responsibility, we need to practice being awake, alive and alert to the gift that is before us.

Now might be an opportune time for us to reexamine the difference that Jesus has made in our lives. How did we come to know Jesus? Who first spoke His name to us? How did Jesus come into our life? Was it through children’s books read to us from the earliest days of our lives? Was it the example that someone lived to show us the way to Jesus? Is Jesus someone we encountered as an adult for the first time? In whatever way Jesus entered our life, we ought to notice a difference between the before and the after. How has our encounter with the Son of God changed our lives?

To be offered the gift of Eucharist and to be able to worship the Son of God is a privilege. It is also a gift to commit ourselves to a lifelong process of deepening our relationship with Jesus through the choices we make. The fruits of those choices lead us to a deeper experience of the Spirit of God and a deeper experience of our union with God in the world today.

Regular readers of this column will know that there is one question that seems important to me in all situations of faith: So what? We can profess all the dogma that we’ve been taught and hold fast to the belief and the experience of the Real Presence of Jesus, but does the bread of life give us strength, lead us to a more radical discipleship and give us hope for all eternity? As we grow in faith and practice, we should be experiencing less fear, insecurity and anxiety and a greater sense of freedom in the love of God. Let us use this solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ as a way to live more fully in the freedom and life of the Spirit of God.

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

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