Due to the recent widespread cancellation of public worship, the Rt. Rev. Dan Martins reflects on the meaning of the Eucharist and challenges facing the church today. Listen now to episode 1 of The Living Churc... Read More...
We see in our readings that when Jesus prays for us to be united to him and to the Father, there is then no other way we can choose if we are to be blessed, apart from the one that the Father gives Jesus.
Just as baptism leads to identification with Jesus’s divine Sonship, making us by adoption what belongs to Jesus by nature, so too in John this baptism-like scene provokes an understanding of our ongoing identification with and consideration of our life in Christ.
Our liturgy does not allow us to ignore the fact that more is at stake in communion than issues of hospitality and psychological and emotional benefit.
The work of preparing to receive Holy Eucharist is not meant to scare us off. Nor is it meant to erect barriers. On the contrary, our preparation is meant to instill within us reverence and respect for the incredible gift of the Eucharist.
Hospitality does not mean inviting people into the most sacramentally intimate spaces of the Christian life, it means being honest about intentions, healthy boundaries, the shape and form such commitments will take, and yes, eventually, the intimate sharing of one body with another. If consent is important in our debates about sexual boundaries, how is it also not important for sacramental boundaries?
By saying this prayer, those of us who are Gentiles become like the Syrophoenician woman. We admit we are dogs, unworthy as Gentiles and those who chronically forget God’s promises to the Jews to sit at God’s table, and yet we go on to ask for God’s food all the same, trusting that our host is merciful.
Christ’s real presence moves the hearts of all who receive the Eucharist to serve their neighbors in the love Christ has for all.