Open hand after hand; white and wrinkled, young and old, tan and callused, black and soft, brown and dry, a few had sores, all of them open and anticipating Jesus Christ in the palm of their hands. They each came to me with their own story, allegiance, denial, awe, confusion and understanding. They came extending their hands seeking solace, answers, sacrifice, clarity, and love. I held the Eucharist up and looked over the top of it into his blue eyes honored by the presence of Christ, into her brown eyes searching for God’s peace. I blessed the little ones and smiled as I laid my hand upon the top of their heads. As I said the words, “The Body of Christ” I said it loudly with conviction, and tenderly with a welcoming spirit, and each person accepted, some with an audible amen, most quietly bowing their heads in the presence of Christ. And I stood there amazed by the power of the Eucharist, by the ability that God had granted me to hand him to each of his followers, each of his beloved. It was an honor, a humbling privilege that lead to goosebumps, and awe standing there open to God’s will to flow through my body and soul out to others through the Eucharist.
We are blessed as Catholics to have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through the Eucharist, the meal, the sacrifice, and the real presence emotionally before us, physically consumed by us. Yet, 70% of American Catholics no longer receive the Eucharist (Father Robert Barron 2016 Podcast The Real Presence). I am not sure where the 70% went but the 30% I gave the Eucharist to that evening understood, longed for, and received Jesus Christ. They were comforted, filled, and loved in that moment of peace, open hand after hand.