On Holy Thursday, the first day of the Triduum, we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, where Jesus instituted Eucharist with the washing of the feet, a sign of service. We reflect on what it means to be eucharist to one another, by serving one another.
This is how one person described this: “In order to know what “being Eucharist to others” means, you need to know what “Eucharist” means. “Eucharist” comes from the Greek “eucharistein”, which means “to give thanks” or “thanksgiving”. The word in Catholic (and Orthodox) [theology] has also taken on the sense of a sacrifice: to give (by means of sacrifice) thanks. So the Eucharist of the Church is a sacrifice of thanksgiving. It is also the sacramental and real presence of Jesus Christ.
“So what does it mean to “be Eucharist” to someone? It can mean:
“To carry out Christ’s ministry toward another person, e.g. to be charitable, merciful, etc. To be self-sacrificing for someone else’s good. To express, through your interaction with someone else, your thanks to God.”
Essentially, it means revealing the loving presence of Jesus in a real and tangible way to the other. This is the charism of Incarnate Word Sisters, “to make the love of God as shown in the Incarnation, a real and tangible presence in the world today.”
So this Holy Thursday, when we won’t be gathered in the official liturgy of the Church, but searching for a way to enter into the essence of the celebration, let us take this opportunity to connect in a special way our charism and the various mission statements of our ministries, to Eucharist.
As S. Augustin said, “We become what we receive.” In this great pause in the world, let us be grateful for the silence and the space to reflect anew on the gift of Eucharist, and our beautiful charism and mission statements.
Let us also consider that this is an opportunity to realize more fully the four-fold presence of Christ in the Eucharist, one of which is the “people gathered.” We can in our small communities gather physically, and bring into our awareness those with whom we cannot be with personally. We can find spiritual nourishment in this practice, and it can unite us more closely to Christ because of its self-sacrificing nature.
Let us pray for one another, that this time of grace unite us more closely to God, to the People of God, and to one another.