Over these past weeks, many people have expressed their heartache over not being able to participate in person at Mass and receive the Eucharist. This lament is uttered not just by those who participate in Mass regularly but also by Catholics whose attendance is less than frequent.
We should not be surprised because, in our Catholic DNA, there is the imprint of the communal encounter with Christ. We instinctively know that we encounter Christ in the people of God, the living Word proclaimed, and in the participation and reception of Eucharist. At Mass, we become whom we receive. As a Catholic — practicing or not — there is the need — this hunger — for belonging, for receiving, and for becoming.
At this moment, it is our past participation in His fullness that allows us to be for others the presence of Christ. Think about all of our alumni being the Eucharist in our hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and in our communities. Catholic University nurses, doctors, peace officers, social workers, scientists, and men and women in the military are the “thanksgiving” our University offers to God and our service to all the sick and suffering throughout the world. Our alumni do not enter into harm's way unprotected. They have the support of our prayers as the Body of Christ.
“This Easter, we may not be able to physically receive our Lord. But there are literally thousands who will receive Him through the hands and hearts of our alumni, students, parents, professors, and staff.”— Fr. Jude
So many Christians and people of good are fighting this disease. Let us all give thanks to Christ this Easter for these men and women who are literally rescuing people from the jaws of death and conquering fear in the process.
I have a strong belief that when this crisis has passed there will be more people who will renew their belonging, their receiving and becoming the Eucharist we celebrate.
Happy Easter! Christ has conquered sin and death! Rejoice in Him!
Rev. Jude DeAngelo, OFM Conv.
University Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry