Reflection by Mary Beth Baker
Today’s Gospel: John 6:52-59
“He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”
This line from today’s Gospel struck me in a new way this past weekend, as I watched my parish’s second grade students make their First Communion. Father told them in the homily, “You’ll be receiving Jesus today, and you get to receive him every time you come to Mass.” He gave each student a chart and encouraged them to keep track of their first 100 communions. It got me thinking about how many times I’ve received our Lord since my First Communion back in 1994. I did some calculations, and while I can’t get to an exact figure, I reckon I’ve received communion more than 6,000 times in my life.
Looking back over those twenty-five years since I first received Him, I see how those thousands of communions form a single golden thread that’s woven throughout my entire life. They are a sign of continuity and stability against the inevitable backdrop of change and transition that marks any human life. He has been there in the midst of everything, from the turbulence of adolescence and painful periods of discernment to career changes and cross-country moves. No matter where I go or what I do, I can count on the Lord to be waiting for me in the tabernacle, available for me to receive Him at any Mass.
Yet I don’t always feel Jesus close to me. Here lately, if I’m being honest, I often feel as though I’m reaching out for Him in the darkness and finding nothing at all. Still, today’s Gospel reminds me that I can hold onto His promise: I eat His flesh and drink His blood in communion, and He remains not just with me or close to me, but in me. And I remain in Him. And all is well.
Think back to your First Communion. Were you excited? Overwhelmed? Joyful? What about the last time that you received Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament?
Lord, You are always always waiting for me. Even when I can’t feel your presence, remind me that You abide in me.
Copyright 2019 Mary Beth Baker
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