Along with the other unasked-for mail I received at home last week was a brochure addressed to Current Resident, from the local congregation of the Jehovah's Witnesses.
It was slick, tri-fold, full color and invited people to join the congregation's reenactment of the Last Supper. It quoted from the (synoptic) Gospels how the Eucharist was instituted by Jesus the night before He died. Of course the words were familiar: "... this is my body ... this is my blood."
Since the congregation takes the command to "do this in memory of me" (First Corinthians) literally, they are doing so on April 9, Holy Thursday -- on just this one day of the year!
Excuse me, but as a Catholic I have to ask, if it's so important to print a brochure, mail it to every home in the local area, and ask folks to share in this great feast by the Lord's command, why do it only once a year?
I do hope their celebration, in whatever form it takes, leads the participants to a deeper and yes, literal understanding of the Eucharist: Christ, the son of the Father, second person of the Holy Trinity, becomes truly present among the community of the faithful in the appearance of bread and wine. I hope they discover that in the Catholic Church, the Eucharist is celebrated every day of the year as it has been from the beginning of the Church!
The Eucharist is our Lord Jesus Christ's gift of himself to us every time we participate in the sacrifice of the Mass. What a great gift we share as Catholics. Christ established his Church and gave us His real presence in the Eucharist as spiritual food for the journey, as memorial sacrifice to help remember all that he did and said, as a sign of unity and of thanksgiving -- the literal meaning of Eucharist.
This source and summit of our worship bonds us together with one another in the Church and to our Lord Jesus. More than community, this is communion, thanks to the Eucharist whose institution we celebrate tonight, at the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper.
As Lent ends tonight we begin the Triduum -- three days of intense communal prayer leading toward Easter. Tonight we thank God in the most solemn way for the gift of himself.
Personally, tonight I pray also for those who have heard and read the Lord's command to "take, eat, this is my body..." but do not share full communion with the Catholic Church. In a special way, I pray for those people who were raised Catholic with the gift of the Eucharist but have chosen a different path.
May they, through the providence of God acting perhaps in an unasked-for brochure, find their way to Jesus Christ the bread of life, in his most precious body and blood.