Jesus left us the greatest gift that a person can ever give another: the gift of knowing who we are. People spend a lifetime trying to figure this out. They go on retreats, read self help books, go to therapy, attend workshops etc but may never figure out who they truly are. As important as some of those things are, they only point us to the path of how to discover who we are. Jesus, on the other hand, shows us by his own example. He gives us His very Self in the Eucharist to show us that we are His brothers and sisters. Jesus never counted the cost of His love or made it conditional. Jesus didn’t limit His love to one group of people only; His love was for all. As His disciples, we are called to do the same. We are called to love others unselfishly and not make our love conditioned on something else. Like Jesus who loved freely with no conditions, so must we. We are called to embrace all humanity as brothers and sisters just as He did. God’s love doesn’t play favorites. God’s love embraces everyone; even those who do not believe in him..The Eucharist is what enables us to love others as Jesus did.
In John’s gospel, the gift of the Eucharist shows us that we are servants. All through the Gospels, we are told that the poor and the sinner will have the higher place. We are told that the greatest among us are the ones who serve the rest. Jesus shows us in the gift of the Eucharist that the core identity of a Christian is to serve the rest and not count the cost.
This is the priestly identity of the Christian. The life of the Christian is not to be one of power and control; but one of service and humility. In baptism, we are brought into the life of Christ who is priest, prophet and king. The Eucharist teaches each one of us that the priestly dignity is found in offering ourselves in service to all. We are to be the signs of contradiction in the world by putting people ahead of profit, peace ahead of revenge, service ahead of power and control, and to put God ahead of all other things.
This is who we are as Christians. Like the ancient people of Israel, who celebrate their freedom from the slavery of Egypt in the Passover, we celebrate who we are at the Lord’s Table: the redeemed children of God. We are no longer enslaved to sin and death; we are a freed people by the blood of the Lamb that flowed on the Cross. We are servants to the world; our greatest role in the world is to serve the most needy and vulnerable. We are to be the Body of Christ in the world.
As we celebrate this night, the greatest gift that we have ever been given: the very gift of Jesus himself, may the words of St Augustine ring in our hearts: “Believe what you see, see what you believe and become what you are: the Body of Christ.” When we say “Amen”, we are saying “Yes! I believe this is the Body and Blood of Christ and that I will be the Body of Christ to others.”.
Let us be who we truly are: the Body of Christ.