Finding our way through the Eucharist (from my book ‘A Shepherd’s Voice’, 2007)
Our gospel today is part of what scripture scholars claim to be the Last Discourse of our Lord Jesus Christ to His apostles, as narrated in the Gospel according to John. It is called His last discourse because from Chapter 13 to 17, we hear the Lord bidding farewell to His disciples as they shared some kind of a last meal together. In this last supper with them, amidst the fears and anxieties of His chosen companions who felt that they would no longer see their Beloved Master and Lord, Jesus tells them: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still and trust in me.” (John 14:1) These words reveal how Jesus felt deeply the fearful and anxious hearts of His disciples who knew that they would be at a loss without Him. And when Thomas said: “Master, we do not know where you are going, how can we know the way?”, Jesus, with his compassionate heart, responded with a bold and assuring proclamation: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:4-6)
Many people today are lost. They are lost because they have been wandering all their lives in search of the path that can give them deep contentment and peace. Many, in the end, have tried the route of wealth, thinking that having more can make them happy; they realize that the vicious cycle of having more sometimes even leads them to emptiness. Some have tried the route of pleasure rationalizing that indulging in sinful vices can make them happy; but they end up lonelier and more depressed. And there are those who have tried the route of power, feeling that being in control makes them secure in life; but they find themselves victims of their own abusive and oppressive behavior.
Experience tells us that when we are empty, lonely, depressed or insecure, the Eucharist we celebrate and the Blessed Sacrament we adore give us deep consolation and hope. Once, after a mass I celebrated, I noticed a woman sitting on one of the pews of the parish church; she was sobbing and wiping away tears that flowed on her cheeks. I approached her and asked if something was wrong. She then shared with me her problem. She had just discovered that her husband was having an extra-marital affair; this discovery left her feeling deeply hurt and depressed. All I could do was listen to her. But after she poured her negative feelings, I was struck when she said, “Thank you Father for celebrating the mass; somehow, I felt the Lord carrying me through this deep pain. I still don’t know what to do. But I am praying to God that He will show me the way. Please pray for me.” Before I left, I encouraged her to spend more time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
The great mystery of the Eucharist is that when we are down and troubled, Jesus shows us the way to consolation and peace. At times, it may not be immediate, but God works His way mysteriously in, and through, the Eucharist to make us feel His loving presence and faithful assurance that we will never be alone in our journey, that we will never be lost.
Share this insight during this glorious season of #easter