2nd Sunday after Pentecost 18.6.17 Eucharistic banquet
Think of some of the best meals you have ever had, and you can probably recall many good ones, with enticing food and drink, and a general feeling of coming away satisfied.
The Mass is often described as a Eucharistic Banquet. Today’s Gospel: God invites everyone. Many think they are too busy – too busy for the One who made the whole universe!
The Eucharist challenges us to believe beyond the power of our senses to detect. Our sense of sight cannot see the divinity within the consecrated Host. Our sense of taste cannot detect the wonder of this special food.
Yet we believe in faith that Holy Communion is a far more enriching meal than any earthly banquet. St Thomas Aquinas refers to it as: … the banquet where [the Father], with [His] Son and Holy Spirit, are true and perfect light, total fulfillment, everlasting joy, gladness without end, and perfect happiness to [His] saints.
We could say of the earthly banquet that it will not make you a better person, whereas the Heavenly banquet will, if properly undertaken. One banquet will make you feel better; the other will make you actually better, as a person.
The Heavenly food will make us more at peace, and generally able to handle things in a better way. It will have a healing effect, transforming us, enabling us to overcome faults, to grow in virtues, to have a clearer understanding of everything relevant.
People will say: I can do all that from home. I don’t need the Eucharist, the Church etc. I can just think about my life, and decide to be a better person. But without the grace of the Heavenly food the human will power runs dry.
We are too bound-up with sinful patterns of thought and behaviour; too many bad habits and generally suffering from mediocrity in terms of doing God's will. Without much to inspire us we will fall flat.
Not every reception of Holy Communion will necessarily bring about change in the one receiving. A lot will depend on one’s disposition, level of faith, the desire for holiness, the recognition that change is possible. The more we want to benefit, the more likely it is to happen. We cultivate the spiritual hunger.
The satisfaction of a good dinner is immediate, but it wears off quickly. The satisfaction from Holy Communion is less obvious, but lasts a lot longer, insofar as it prepares us for eternity.
The Eucharist unlocks or enables many things. We can be in control of all our various emotions and desires. This is true freedom - not the freedom to do as we like, but freedom from slavery to disordered desires.
We are free to go anywhere or do anything the Lord directs. We can be content with poverty or plenty, full stomach or empty (Ph 4,12).
If we lack faith that can be supplied by the Eucharist. Come and be fed, and let the Lord work on us, and within us. If we are even half-interested He will show what is necessary and possible, and the changes will happen.
We will be cooperating, but most of the energy comes from God Himself.
Faith can be supplied, as can enthusiasm, and the ability to persevere. Just as food restores strength, so with spiritual food. This is why we must come repeatedly to this Banquet.
We come every Sunday (at least), and we come with the preparation to appreciate the more subtle workings of this Heavenly food.
This is the best place to be, offering the best food to be found anywhere!