Friday, July 27, 2018
Then Christ took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” – Luke 22:19
We see the words often carved into the wood of the table that abides at the front of the sanctuary. We see the words placed in the stained glass window that portrays the Last Supper. And we see the words in the liturgy for holy communion, liturgies ancient and contemporary. We hear the words in the lyrics of hymns, old and new. “Do this in remembrance of me.”
After probably 10,000 times being the priest for the Holy Communion, now in these gloaming years of reflection, I am appreciating more and more the subtle significance of those words, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
What is the deeper understanding of those words? Is it merely to keep doing this rite of bread and wine? Or is it more? What is involved in this mysterious rite of “doing in remembrance”? What is this practice, this “practice of remembrance”.
As a pastor of forty years, I have done more than my share of funerals. I have experienced loved ones for whom either the sense of loss or the sense of lingering regret was forefront in the time for preparing for the services. Yet … among families where love was flourishing … the tears always gave way to the “practice of remembrance”. Where once there was the vacancy of the departed, now there was a bringing back to life the remembrance of the departed now returned in a different form.
“In remembrance of me!” The sharing of the Communion-Moment is the bringing back into our human experience the memories of Christ. Not only His words, not only the stories, but His Voice, His manner, His mission, His quality of spirit. The practice of remembrance is to bring back to life in our spiritual imagination and in our spiritual reincarnation of the very Life of Christ in our midst. Though Christ may have gone to heavenly places, Christ still lives in these earthly place. In the remembrance of Him, Christ is with us always until this age we have known is no more in limited form.
In Remembrance of Christ,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz