Missing the human touch

Lent is almost over and in a few days we will be celebrating Easter. However, with the lockdown still in place, it may seem like Lent will continue onwards.

While the Easter Vigil Mass celebration will still take place, there will be no public reception of the sacraments. That means no new members will be received into the Church. There will be a noticeable void of the outward or tactile components of the sacraments. Even when no one is being baptized at Easter, the Church takes the opportunity at this sacred time to remind and renew our baptismal promises, both in word and with the sprinkling of holy water. We will be able to renew our promises as we participate in the Mass streamed into our homes, but we will miss the holy water. I do feel sympathy for those who are waiting to be confirmed. While they can participate in the praying the Mass, there is no substitute for the oil and the imposition of hands confirming them into the Church.

Perhaps the most missed of all the sacraments is the Eucharist. It’s one thing to abstain on Sunday Mass, but between Holy Thursday and Easter, the ache for the Eucharist will be like physical hunger pains. From posts on the Catholic Twitter thread, many are feeling the absence keenly already. Many online Mass options include the prayer for a spiritual communion, yet that seems like a weak imitation of the real thing. 

We are composed of body and soul; we are spiritual beings living in a physical world. Jesus knew we needed a material way to understand communion with Him, and so He blessed us by turning bread and wine into His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. However, in this time, He is asking us to go deeper; to open our hearts to exclusively receive Him spiritually. How can we let our current situation deprive us of receiving Him, by focusing on the fact that we can’t do so physically? Do we really believe that Jesus will not shower his blessings and grace on us because His Body and Blood have not past our lips? Do we think that God, who created the universe out of nothing, and Jesus, who turned water into wine, healed the sick, and raised the dead, is incapable of communing with those who desire it? Will we mourn our loss instead of rejoicing in His resurrection? 

This year, I will miss the Eucharist and the human touch that makes the sacraments real on a physical level, but I will not let that stop me from glorifying God and praising Jesus during this most sacred time of the calendar year. And in a few months when we are allowed to gather again as a community in worship, the Eucharist will taste sweeter than ever before, and will be just as effective as our spiritual communion in desire.

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