One of my greatest joys as a Catholic is when I get to serve as a Eucharistic Minister at St. Irenaeus, my home parish in Oakmont. Each week, four ministers step up in front of the altar to assist the priest in distributing Holy Communion. First we receive Communion ourselves and then take our places to distribute It to the rest of the congregation. This past week something surprising happened to me. Fr. George placed the host in the palm of my left hand. As I said “Amen” and picked up the host I noticed…
For background I encourage you to read this coming Sunday’s Gospel:
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples said to him, "Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?" He sent two of his disciples and said to them, "Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water.
Follow him. Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says, "Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”” Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there." The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover. While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body." Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Mark 14:12-16, 22-26
What I noticed there beneath the host were three tiny pieces of the host. I carefully picked them up and consumed them. I took the chalice and consumed the wine, which I then shared with the other ministers and the rest of the congregation. I shared my story with the other ministers prior to returning to our seats. They excitedly commented on the fact that they had goose bumps and chicken skin – which I have never heard of before – because I saw “three” pieces on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. What an odd way to react? Right?
It might seem odd to the outside world but to those of us who celebrate the great mystery of the Eucharist it sometimes induces a physical reaction like tears or goose bumps and chicken skin. Or sometimes we may simply react with a deep sense of peace and joy that He is in us. Our “Amen” as we receive the body and blood of Christ says that we truly believe!
When I returned to my seat I immediately grabbed the Missal to confirm something about the next week’s Gospel. Yes, I realized that this week we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). At that moment I knew what I would be sharing with you in this edition of the Weekly Journey. In those three tiny pieces of bread, just as in every consecrated host and chalice of wine, are the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
AMEN! I believe it because He said it! "Take it; this is my body. This is my blood.” There they are again, goose bumps and chicken skin.