Unsettling, isn’t it, to recall how “pandemic” took “pan de vida” away from most of us last year…
Holy Thursday came and went in 2020…without giving most of us the chance to actually chew on the Bread of Life.
And in the process, we discovered that “virtual” liturgy tends to leave a great deal to be desired.
Don’t get me wrong: I am deeply grateful for the extraordinary effort put in by our priests and parish staffs to conquer their digital demons last spring…in order to master the art-and-science of livestreaming Mass.
That said, I find myself reflecting on this Holy Thursday…that I am even more grateful to be back in the pews…back in the (now socially-distanced) procession…
…my palms outstretched…
…my taste buds blessed…by this simple gift of Everything.
As I savor my morsel (my Lord!), I come to understand more deeply that there’s nothing virtual – nothing merely symbolic – in this Presence. I am truly fed, body and soul, just as Jesus promised when he first broke the bread for us at the Last Supper.
And not just fed: I am filled with joy.
This is the remarkable blessing begun for me…for all of us…on that first Holy Thursday. A blessing surely made more dear by its absence in our lives last year.
So how shall I thank the Lord for the restoration of this gift? By turning, perhaps, to the suggestion offered by the French novelist François Mauriac nearly a century ago. Mauriac observed,
“frequent Communion refashions our souls. The Eagle hollows out in our being a nest commodious for Himself. He impresses therein the shape of His own body. Thus shaped – or rather transformed – our heart will conform itself less and less to the demands of outward things. But irresolute as he may be, will [the one] who has known the ardent silence of the Eucharist conclude by leaving to God…the final word?”
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.