Receiving the Host: You or It?

Corpus-Christi2As usual we put ourselves first instead of the mystery.  As usual it’s about us and not the that which we receive.

Years ago I’ve said that the “Body of Christ” is not a treat or reward for what you’ve done or achieved.  I’ve said that those against Church teachings should be the first in line to receive the “Body of Christ” often.

It’s always about “that strange little wafer” with ourselves following second.

Is that small “wafer” supposed to validate us or influence us for times to come?  Is that small “wafer” the end or the means toward one?  Is that small “wafer” reduced to a dog’s treat for a job well done or to remind us who’s in charge and of our human frailty in the midst of swallowing a bit of the Divine into our mouths?

For me, Communion sparks and enlightens in spite of the cattle call way of receiving the “Body of Christ.”

I don’t know who I present the “Body of Christ” to in the long line on a Sunday morning at St. Sebastians in Milwaukee.  Is she just following the crowd as it leads to me or she is struggling with a part of her life?  I don’t know.  Does he thinks he’s “gay” and doomed to eternal death as I hand him the Bread of Knowing?   I don’t know.  Do the children I bless, too young to receive, become a terrorist and blow up this church with me in it?  I don’t know.  Does the sinner who knows himself to be one but still receives, receive the promised gifts of reception?  I don’t know.

I don’t know.  They come forward and I present to them the “gift of life.” This small “wafer” prompts and propels  in its tiny shape but always mysterious in its results.

If we only realized that the conversation is not about questionably married people but it’s all about this tiny “wafer” that transforms and informs the lives of all who eat it.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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1 Response to Receiving the Host: You or It?

  1. John says:

    Well said, we don’t know who is before us taking the wafer, could it be Christ himself. We don’t know who is before us in our lives, but yet we are ready to pass judgment on who we meet and read about. Tolerance is the lost word in society


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