In the Fourth Gospel, Jesus offers his followers an unknown source of bread and drink – that is his real, crunch-and-munch Body and Blood. Many do not know what he is offering them. For them, surely eating the body and drinking the blood of a real live earthly man cannot offer them eternal life. To them, heaven and earth does not intersect that way. It makes sense to us because we are used to dealing with the risen, alive Jesus who is daily part of our world, but many of us would have struggled to accept Jesus in his own day and age.
First Corinthians holds the key: participation. When we bless, when we break, we participate in the life of Jesus. We are to be active in our faith and worship if we are to eat the food that is unknown to us. Our faith is passive in lifeless if we only come to church each Sunday and do our duty, but if we are active throughout the week by blessing those we meet and sharing our lives with them, then we know our faith is alive. We sanctify what we bless, so why not bless the entire world? We give ourselves away when we break bread, so why not risk losing ourselves so others may come to see Jesus Christ through us? The bread and blood Jesus gives us is real crunch-and-munch food. Therefore, we are to chew, to taste, to swallow, to digest. Therefore, we are not to sip, but to drink. We cannot have a part of him unless we actively take him into our body, and then we become like him because we are what we eat.
Our mass is meaningful when we participate in the dialogue with God. If we are silent, unresponsive, not listening to the homily, choose not to sing, and sit isolated from others, then we might find ourselves watching the clock and we’ll go home knowing we went to church. But if we volunteer to read, sing brightly, say hello to our neighbor, and find something meaningful in the homily, we will be fed by a food unknown to us. We have to pay attention to the ways the Lord nourishes us, not only in the Eucharist, but in those unknown, unexpected ways.
Think of the excitement that builds when you find someone has a common interest or attended the same university as you, or a moment when you have a transcendent moment with another because of some event you talked about after mass. Do you think the Lord is not present in these moments? As we live, we find that Jesus is more active in our lives that we ever imagined before. We might want to strike the word ‘coincidence’ from our vocabulary because we learn that the Lord is operative in our life events because he participates in our world a great deal.
Train your spiritual mind to notice the life-giving unknown food that Christ sends you and then celebrate it, first by thanking him, and then by blessing the occasion. Take an inward moment when you can savor the mystery before you and then share your gladness with another person. Our lives must be outward directed if we are going to find happiness. Let us make the ordinary moments of our day into crunch-and-munch experiences. Our active participation will draw us into Christ’s world of the divine and we will behold a great mystery – that God is with us in all things and we are with God. We learn that we are more united than we can imagine because we are one body. We belong to God and nothing will separate us from that bond that we innately desire.