We spend an enormous amount of time and money on security, not only as a nation but also as individuals. When you think about home and car alarms, the various city and state police, and the iron bars that often adorn the doors and windows in poor neighborhoods, you know that being safe in daily life is one of our top priorities.
After the priest consumes each species of the Eucharist, the Body and the Blood of Christ, he prays that it may keep him “safe for eternal life.”
So clearly there is the idea of being protected and safe. The Mass, and Holy Communion in particular, serve as ways of preserving our lives. St. Paul, in his First Letter to the Corinthians, hinted that the disrespectful way people received Communion had something to do with the problems that beset the community (see 1 Corinthians 11:27-32). He wants us to come to the opposite insight that being in union with Jesus Christ, fully and without hesitation, will bring total integrity to our lives and ourselves.
If we think about the greatest dangers in our lives, they come down to sin and death. Sin ruptures the very relationships we need to live with integrity and love; death threatens a rupture with existence itself. Both radically shatter the wholeness of human life. Where can we go to protect ourselves from these ultimate threats?
The prayer of the priest shows that our reception of Holy Communion, with open, believing, and cleansed hearts, puts us in a relationship of complete security. When we receive the Eucharist, we are united with God, through the Body and Blood of Jesus, in his Spirit. As St. Paul asks in the Letter to the Romans, “What will separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35)
If we are one wth God, we are exactly where we need to be.
What is your greatest insecurity and fear?
Try to notice, as you go about your life in the next twenty four hours, how often you think about your safety, or how often it is alluded to in the media. Pay attention to not only threats from terror or crime, but also threats to our health. Try to get a sense of how these insecurities affect you.
Into your hands I commend my soul; I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself to surrender myself into your hands without reserve, and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father.
(Blessed Charles de Foucauld, founder of the Little Brothers of Jesus)
READINGS FOR THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT
Isaiah 43:16-21; Psalm 126:-2,2-3,4-5, 6; Philippians 3:8-14; John 8:1-11
PSALM RESPONSE: The Lord has done great things for us, we are filled with joy.