One of the most important things we can do for ourselves is to take time to be alone. The soul requires solitude to maintain its individuality. However, we were not created to be alone all the time. We have been created for community. In other words, we need each other for support, affirmation, encouragement and companionship. We nourish one another as we journey together through this life.
The unfortunate thing today is that people are being schooled in individualism. At our recent spring assembly of priests, the presenter addressed this issue when he spoke of how our modern means of communication are causing people to become more isolated and that, as a result of this, many lack the ability to communicate with others. There is a lot of loneliness in our society. Many hunger for companions on the journey.
The word “companion” is a powerful one. It comes from two Latin words: cum which means with, and panis which means bread. So a companion literally means someone with whom we share bread.
Jesus knew the importance of sharing a meal with others. Read the different Gospel accounts and you will find many occasions recorded in them that have Jesus sharing a meal, and more often than not, it was with sinners! So it should come as no surprise that Jesus chose to leave the great gift of the Eucharist to us within the context of a meal.
Today we celebrate the beautiful Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. The gift of the Eucharist is the most precious gift we possess. As St. Padre Pio said, “It would be easier for the earth to exist without the sun,” and “If we truly understood what the Mass is, we would be willing to die for it.” Very powerful words for us to reflect on as we celebrate this feast.
There are times when I wonder as to whether or not some people really are conscious of this great gift when I see them strolling into Mass late or bolting out the door right after receiving Holy Communion as if they have no clue who it is they just received. It is as if others things are far more important than participation in the Eucharist. Reflect on the words of St. Padre Pio.
A few weeks ago we celebrated with our second graders their First Holy Communion. I told them on that day that we human beings, who are lower than the angels, can do something that the Angels cannot do. We are privileged to have the deepest intimacy possible with our Lord, our Creator, our Savior that the angels cannot. We receive him in the great gift of the Eucharist, something they are not privileged to do. Think about it.
May we never take this gift for granted. Let us renew our commitment to deepen our love and reverence for the Eucharist.
— Fr. Dennis, June 3, 2018