June 11, 2023; John 6: 51-58; Body and Blood of Christ
Earlier this year I developed a case of Covid. My symptoms were very mild. I isolated for the prescribed number of days and did not even have a temperature. But for one twenty-four-hour period I lost my sense of taste. No matter what I put into my mouth, it was like eating cardboard. This was very unsettling because there was always the fear that the taste would not return and then, of course, the quality of my life would be significantly diminished,
I think of this incident today as we celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of the Lord because you and I as Catholics believe that Jesus is really present to us in the bread and the wine of the Eucharist. Because we believe this, we receive communion regularly. I would say most of us who are here this morning receive communion every week. But the question that I want to ask today is not how often we receive the Eucharist, but do we taste it when we do? As we come forward to receive the body and blood of the Lord, do we prepare ourselves to accept the flavor of God’s love in our life?
As we accept the consecrated bread in our hands, do we just eat it, or do we also remember how deeply God has blessed us? Do we taste how much we have, how many people love us, what great things we have experienced. In the tasting of that truth we will appreciate how immense God’s blessings to us are and how thankful we should be. As we come forward to receive the cup with the consecrated wine, do we just drink it, or do we allow ourselves to savor that the One we are accepting into our lives has the power to save us, that Jesus can save us from sickness, from fear, and from ourselves. Savoring such power gives us the courage and the strength to face whatever pain or difficulty is in our lives. As we come forward to receive the body and blood of the Lord, do we allow ourselves to sense the tang of God’s presence, so that we know not simply in our mind but in our bones that Christ is with us and will never let us go.
Jesus says in today’s gospel that we must eat his flesh and drink his blood. We must not do this in a mindless routine. As we approach communion, we should prepare for the feast that Chris is offering us. We should not eat without tasting what is present. We should not receive without savoring the power of God’s love.