By Vir Christi
In John’s telling of the Last Supper, Jesus issues His disciples some last-minute instructions before His Passion. But the Eleven—Judas had already departed—were not the only intended audience for these instructions; we are as well!
Of all the instructions Jesus gives, one stands out among the rest: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide” (John 15:16). This mission that Jesus gives the apostles to bear fruit is still relevant to us today. How do we take this fruit and share it with the world, so that the power of Christ remains as a visible sign to all?
Tell the World What God Has Done for You!
The Eucharist is the Real Presence of Christ dwelling in our hearts, so we should make sure we focus on all that we receive from it! There are so many little graces that Jesus gives us through our reception of Holy Communion. If we regularly allocate time for quiet prayer, we can usually see those graces at work in our daily lives.
Sometimes the grace is something small, like a little bit of extra patience to deal with that one annoying coworker who won’t stop getting on your nerves. Sometimes it’s cumulative, like your week getting off to a bad start but noticeably improving with each reception of Communion at daily Mass. But all of them are marvelous, and we should tell everyone that this is the case!
Does that mean you need to go out and stand in the street and start hollering about Jesus in the Eucharist? Certainly not. What that means is that each of us should be intimately aware of our story of salvation.
How has Jesus saved you? What brokenness of yours has He encountered and healed? What relationships did you have that you thought were damaged beyond repair, where Jesus entered in and brought healing? When was the moment in your life when you first realized that you were known, both for virtues and faults, and were loved overwhelmingly through it all? Grasp that truth firmly in your heart, and be ready to share that. Through the Eucharist, Jesus will give you the right words.
Promote Unity in the Body of Christ
After giving His instructions to the disciples, Jesus begins His priestly prayer to God the Father. One of the more striking lines from that prayer is “that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee, that they may also be in us, so that the world may believe Thou hast sent Me” (John 17:21). Calling that huge would be an enormous understatement. Jesus is saying that by the unity of the believers, the world will come to believe in God! That means the opposite is true: disunity in the Body of Christ promotes disbelief in the Father and the Son, as well as in the relationship between them.
The Eucharist is the common thread that binds the Church together and connects all of her members throughout the world. Think about someone in your parish whom you don’t get along with. Maybe it’s someone who seems maybe just a tad full of themselves in the parish choir. Perhaps it’s an individual who strikes you as having a “holier-than-thou” attitude when they come to Mass. Now picture your interactions with that person through the eyes of a third party.
What does that third party see when they look at the two of you? You don’t have to like everyone you encounter in the Church. But your interactions with that person should suggest to a non-believer that there is something greater at work, something that is so transcendent that it goes past the bounds of human relationships and binds even the unlikeliest of companions together.
The recognition of that reality sparks awe in the heart of the non-believer, and ignites the sense of wonder that is the first step to conversion. Be the unity in the Body of Christ. You don’t have to be best friends with that person in your parish that you don’t like, but perhaps you can be reconciled with them to such an extent that you live in peace. Pick one individual in your parish that fits that description. I challenge you: show that the unity of the Body of Christ, and your desire to bring others to belief in the Trinity, transcends all differences.
Rejoice and Be Glad
The Eucharist is the pinnacle of thousands of years of God’s people waiting for the fulfillment of His promise to come among them and make His dwelling with them forever. Every time you receive the Eucharist, your heart becomes a little Tabernacle, a castle where the King of Kings makes His abode. God is with us! The joy that this sparks in our hearts should attract others, and cause them to be drawn to the gift of the Eucharist as well!
The One who made you desires so much to be with you that He chooses to come every Mass and publicly renew His intention to keep His dwelling within you. Rejoice in that! Rejoice that Jesus took on our lowly human weakness, so that God could have that closeness with us!
This doesn’t mean that you have to walk around with a permanent smile plastered on your face. Not allowing yourself to experience the full range of human emotions is unnatural and unhealthy. However, never allow the fire of hope to go out in your heart. Hope can never go out as far as God is concerned, and since God is always with us, hope is always with us!
That means in your darkest hour, no matter how the demons may rage or the inner voices may whisper, you will never be out of the mind of God. You will never not be desired by Him. This fear is an illusion, a trick generated by the devil working in concert with the weakness of human flesh to make you believe that all hope is lost. Let your hearts be filled with hope, for the Eucharist is the most visible indicator to the world that God intends not only to make His dwelling with us but to bring us back to Himself in Heaven when our time in this world has ended.
So go forth, and bear much fruit for the Kingdom!
Vir’s heart has been on fire for the Church from day one, and he dreams of the day when Constantinople will be a city again. He has a competitive drive satiated by sports and board games, but is also just as happy to sit down and read a good book for hours on end.
Nice job, Vir! God Bless, Dcn Tom