Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday Mass: Humility and the Eucharist

This morning's readings were about humility, and as I prepared to receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ encapsulated in the form of bread and wine I was awestruck by the incredible humility of the God that we serve.  I have heard many people claim that God must be incredibly needy if he has to have his creations constantly praising him, but the praise isn't for Him. It's for us.  Gratitude benefits the one who is grateful far more than it benefits the one who receives it.

No, the God that I serve is so humble that He was not only unafraid of becoming one of His own creations so that He could instruct them personally on what He wanted them to do, but He didn't stop there.  He went further.  He allowed them to crucify Him, to put him to a horrible and shameful death, and still He did not abandon them.  He humbled Himself still further, giving Himself to them as food and drink so that He could become entirely one with them.  There is hardly a human comparison to be found to that level of humility.

Here He is, God of infinite power and knowledge and wisdom, pouring Himself into bread and wine, transforming it in such a way that it is no longer mere bread and wine yet it appears to be so.  He risks everything for us.  He risks being walked by and ignored as nothing important.  He risks being thrown out or tossed away carelessly.  He risks being spilled, trampled, and abused.  He risks being consumed by those who see His weakness as proof that He is nothing, and who consider as nothing the gift they are being given.  He risks all of that because He knows this is what it takes to give those who love Him the strength they need to get through each day in a world full of sin.

It is not a wonder to me that Protestants, Jews, and Muslims alike reject the Eucharist.  How can the Jew and the Muslim, who cannot accept that God humbled himself enough to become a human being borne of a woman, accept that greater mystery of God as simple food and drink? How can the Protestant, who cannot accept that God would humble himself enough to be represented by a too human Church, accept that Christ would allow himself to be housed in bread and wine made by human hands?

The truth is that our God knows who He is.  He knows His own worth, and has no need of human acknowledgement to find it.  He does not need people to agree that He came to earth as a human being in order for it to have been done.  He does not need people to accept that He is Truly Present in the Eucharist in order to be there.  He knows who He is. In the Eucharist, I think we find the secret of true humility: to know who you are without illusions and without false modesty.

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