By Paschal Chisom Obi
In the olden days, in some villages, during festivals, all the villagers assembled at the village square. As a sign of unity, they ate and shared their various delicacies.
Families who did not have, joined relatives who did. It would be a shame and a discredit for a man to be enjoying, while the family of his brother is at home because they did not have anything to eat. Hence, the festive period was a time of reconciliation.
It is also a time when people show love, kindness and care to the less privileged.
This type of communion can also be found in the family. An adage says, “A family that prays together stays together.” This also goes in line with eating together. Eating together as a family, brings unity and love. It enlivens the family life and makes it organized and efficient.
While on the eating table, the mother uses the opportunity to listen to the children, the father also hears the problems of the children and seeks a means to solve them. Thus, eating together helps to bring peace and it creates strong bonds within the family. One easily gets satisfied while eating together.
I recently saw a Nigerian movie titled, “The sons of Lucifer.” Andy was a member of this cult group called, “Lucifer.” The Lucifer’s gathered once in every week to eat their sacred meal. It happened one day that Andy, a member of this group refused to partake in this meal.
His refusal to take part in the meal was questioned. He boldly responded, by questioning the leader of the Lucifer group on the benefit of the meal to their life?
It happened that every time Andy’s wife, who was a Catholic received the body and blood of Christ, she came back home feeling fulfilled and satisfied. Contrary to Andy, who comes back home feeling incomplete and dissatisfied. Andy in his quest for inner peace later gave his life to Christ.
His life of greed, immorality and worldly pleasures turned to a life of contentment, fear of God and quest for eternal life. Andy was suffused by divine love and he experienced the nature of real life.
Thus, in the Eucharist, we experience what real life is. This means a life that satisfies our innermost longings. It means tasting life in a new way. This taste of love makes our life really worth living. This taste turns our hunger for worldly nourishment into a longing for true life which Jesus offers. The Scripture assures us in John 6:48, 51, that, “Whoever eats this bread will never perish, but will have eternal life.”
“In life, we constantly need to be fed. Nourished not only with food, but also with plans, affection, hopes and desires. Thus, the Eucharist is a food, which satisfies our psychological and spiritual longings. There, we encounter Jesus; we share His life and we feel His love”,-Pope Francis. The Eucharist is the Heavenly festival our Father arranges for us. It is not like the earthly food and wine that gives momentary satisfaction.
The Eucharist is the bread of angel. It nourishes both the body and the soul. It brings to our awareness that God is present amidst our troubles, worries and hardships. It brings before us once again, the saving power of God. It reminds us how the saving power of light overpowers the power of darkness.
The Eucharist fills us with the Spirit of hope, boldness, love, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, joy and patience. Without this food, we can do nothing, but in and through this food we are strengthened.
We cannot break the barrier which divides races, tribes, nations and peoples, but the power from the Eucharist unites all people in the all-embracing love of God. As Christians, without the Eucharist we are powerless, but in the Eucharist, the Lord says to us, “Do not be afraid, it is I.”
Hence, the Eucharistic meal helps us to reconcile with God and one another. While at the eating table (altar), the Heavenly Father uses this opportunity to listen to His children. Unlike the food of Lucifer which brings condemnation, this food of Angels brings Salvation to those who receive it worthily.
In and through the Eucharist, God makes us instrument of peace, love, hope, pardon, faith, light and joy. He transforms us, making us Spirit-led militants, and Spirit-filled ambassadors, helping people through our taught, words and actions.
Brethren, let us choose this food of life. Let us make Holy Mass our priority. Let us rediscover the Eucharistic adoration in our communities and always implore the grace to hunger for God, with an insatiable desire to receive what He has prepared for us (Pope Francis Message, on Corpus Christi, 2018).
My humble appeal to all who will be on my bed side at the hour of my death is, “Do not give me food, for it will make my body liable to termites. Instead, constantly bring me the bread of Angels; the Holy Eucharist, which will nourish my soul and make me worthy of encountering the beatific vision.”
Paschal Chisom Obi