I was not present at Calvary and neither were you. We were not there to witness the ultimate act of giving; a man giving his body and blood for the love of mankind. Yet at every Catholic mass we can be present again and again on Calvary as He gives himself, his body and his blood, to us and for us.
It is not just about the crucifixion. Perhaps if we were present at Calvary on that day it would have been. But we are a privileged people in faith. Everything have been subsequently revealed with the Resurrection.
“I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever”.
I was raised a cradle Catholic and week in, week out I fulfilled my Sunday obligation by being at mass and inevitably receiving Holy Communion. It was a ritual that became a habit. The significance of this entire life-giving event was unsurprisingly lost of me.
I have since become spiritually aware. Holy Communion is so easily available, not just weekly on Sundays but every day at daily mass. By worldly calculation common availability infers something of less value. But I have missed this point for the longest time: A God Truly Present in Holy Communion has humbly made himself so easily available is over-generous and over-indulgent in love for us.
When I now “eat the flesh and drink the blood”, I feed myself on the wisdom of love. The life and suffering, and the subsequent crucifixion and consequent resurrection was the ultimate definition of what love truly is. It is the ‘giving of self’ for the sake of the other person, and it is through the ‘dying to self’ that we find true life, “eternal life”.
Herein lies the meaning of life. We are called to be imitators of this love by allowing this love to flow through us, through our deeds for the other person. When we ‘give of our self’ to the other, however small, we give life to the other person. When the giver and receiver partake in this action of love, we embrace “that there is only one loaf, means that, though there are many of us, we form a single body because we all have a share in this one loaf”.
When I receive Holy Communion, I am now aware that I am called into this one common loaf of this world, where my every subsequent action has a consequent impact of the life of the other. We are inter-twined with one another and with Christ. I eat this wisdom, “He lives in me, and I live in him”.
When we partake in Holy Communion and live in him, we allow him to come alive in us so as to bring life and love to our neighbour. The bread of life who we receive must become the manna, the food of life for us in our spiritual wilderness. From our own little Calvary, when we give our time and our effort, we give our own body and blood, we toil and we sweat, we give away our life, so we can have life together, we become the yeast in the loaf of this world.