THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST, AMEN:
Past two Sundays we have heard Jesus explaining to us how he becomes our nourishment when we accept him in genuine faith. Today, Jesus comes to the third and most important part in his lesson: He becomes our food by offering his body and blood to us in the Holy Eucharist. When we receive the Holy Communion, the priest says, “It is the Body and Blood of Christ” and we respond, “Amen”. Amen is a Hebrew word usually transliterated but sometimes translated. So, it is a word found in all languages. Its meaning is: So be it! Or “So it is!” It occurs more in St. John’s Writings than in the writings of any of other inspired writers. There are FOUR KINDS OF AMEN in St. John’s writings: the Amen of GRACIOUS AFFIRMATION; THE Amen of GRATEFUL ADORATION; the Amen of GLORIOUS ANNUNCIATION and the Amen of GLAD ANTICIPATION. Ours is gracious affirmation. But what do we affirm about the EUCHARIST when we say Amen? Our Amen affirms that Jesus Christ is really present in the Eucharist. Our Amen affirms that Eucharist gives us eternal life. Our Amen affirms that when we feed on Christ’s life in the Eucharist, we are called to fill our lives with his word and example. In other words, our Amen to the gift of Eucharist calls us to respond in action and to try to live as Christ lived. This means that we are to “lay aside immaturity and walk in the way of insight” (Prov 9:6). We all know that mark of maturity is the sense of fellowship with other human beings as we take our place among them; to walk in the way of insight is to see person and things through one’s heart before the head can see. The gift of the Eucharist calls us to respond also in actions recommended by St. Paul. He asks us to “watch over conduct and not act like fools” (Eph 5:15), and we know only too well that he who provides only for this life but takes no care for eternity may be wise for the moment but a fool forever.