|A communicant receives Holy Communion on the tongue while kneeling|
The following words, by St Paul to the Church in Corinth, always gives me goose flesh and sends a shiver down my spine whenever I read them:
“Therefore anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily is answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone is to examine himself and only then eat of the bread or drink from the cup; because a person who eats and drinks without recognising the body is eating and drinking his own condemnation. That is why many of you are weak and ill and a good number have died.”
St Paul is not messing around here when he speaks about receiving Holy Communion. You are drinking condemnation on yourself. That is why so many of you are weak and ill and many have even died, says St Paul. Tough words.
Have you ever imagined what it would be like if you were standing in church on a Sunday morning during Mass and our Lord Jesus suddenly appeared to you, and everyone else in the church with you, in a vision. What do you think you and all the other parishioners would do at that moment when He appeared in the sanctuary? Imagine for a moment this actually happening. If you’ll let me, I will share my imagination of this occurrence.
I think that I would kneel down immediately in my pew when Jesus appeared. No, correction, I know that I would kneel down immediately. I would not dare to look up at Him.
In my imagination, I am of course dressed in my very best cleanly washed and ironed clothing that morning when Jesus appears. I have showered, neatly combed my hair, brushed my teeth, cleaned my ears, neatly cut my finger nails, shaved and of course I look the very best that I could possibly look, given my personal means. I am in my Sunday best!
In my imagination, I have also been a very good Catholic. I would have got to the church very early that morning before Mass so that, not only did I have time to go to confession before Mass, even if I only had venial sins to confess, but I was also early enough to choose to sit in the best pew, right in the front of the church. Not crowded into the back of the church with all the latecomers.
Then, in my imagination, when our Lord Jesus gives me the awesome honour and privilege by calling me to come to him at the sanctuary, I walk slowly up to him and, when I get there, I again fall on my knees. I don’t dare reach out to touch him. Instead, I stay kneeling there, hoping that Jesus will reach out to me and touch me, because I certainly could never reach out with my hands to touch Him. Then, after He gently touches me, I return slowly and quietly to my pew and I stay kneeling in gratitude for this awesome blessing that God has given to me. I stay kneeling until I no longer can see Jesus in the sanctuary.
How do you imagine that this would play out if Jesus appeared at your church during Mass? If you haven’t thought about it then you really should! Why? Well because it’s going to happen tomorrow morning at Mass!