The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ - 7th June 2015

The in-between Communions

During month of May, some 49 children made their first Holy Communion in our parish For them it was a very special day. May the reception of Holy Communion always be special in their lives.

Last week I visited a hospital to administer the sacrament of the sick to an elderly lady as she awaited death and had the privilege of giving her Holy Communion. As I approached her, she raised herself painfully, held out her hand and reverently welcomed her Saviour. She died some hours later. It was her last Holy Communion. As I reflected on these two events I recalled what Bishop Cassidy (Ireland) wrote some years ago "The first Holy Communion is always a fervent one. So is the last. We bring to the first the freshness of youth. We bring to the last the awful clarity that age brings to life. What about the in-between communions. The 'routine' trips to and from the altar. The missed opportunities. Communions missed through indifference. The 'doubt-filled' communions: wondering if we really believe that Christ is present in the host and precious blood, then wondering if people would recognise Christ was present in us after we have received."

These words challenge us to give serious thought to our 'in-between communions' and to reflect on what is being offered to us.

When we receive the Christ in communion, we do not say "Amen" to a symbol of his presence or a sign of his life. It is Christ who hosts us, gives us himself so that we might be transformed into his likeness. Christ says to us at every Communion, "Here I am, broken and poured out in love for you. Take me. I am here for you."

The danger with all gifts, and most especially with this divine gift, is that we can think it's just for us, an intimate moment between each of us and Christ. It is that, but it is also much more. St Augustine wrote that the Eucharist was about three things; goodness, unity and charity.

Can we truly honour Him by receiving communion on a Sunday morning, while treating others — families, spouse, workmates and above all the poor and rejected as being less Corpus Christi — the Body of Christ?

The God who comes to us at every Eucharist as real food is the same God who asks, "When I was hungry did you feed me?"

These are challenging words and suggest we give serious thought to our 'in-between communions' and the fruit they are producing in our lives.

Fr Kevin O'Shea, C.M.