Thursday of Holy Week


I can remember quite vividly the moment I became aware of food. A friend was saying what a good meal we were having or perhaps was recalling a good meal in the past and I remarked that I never really bothered about what I ate. (This was a long time ago). He looked at me with astonishment, maybe because, being Jewish communal meals and what was prepared to nourish and please the people at table, were sacramental to him. For me it was one of those moments when you see something you did not see before. A discovery.

Until that moment I was a bit like the philosopher Schopenhauer who told his landlady that he didn’t mind what he ate as long as it was the same thing every day. He didn’t want to be distracted from thinking by anything as banal as food.

Something similar happened to me with regard to the Eucharist whose foundation from the Jewish Passover meal we remember today. Seeing how John Main celebrated it with such reverence and depth of meaning and then discovering the light shed upon inner world through meditation, made me realize, with a sense of discovering what I had long been familiar with but never understood, that this really was food to be enjoyed and taken seriously.

Then I saw through reading the great reverence and grateful delight that the early Christians felt towards the Eucharist. Slowly it dawned on me that both meditation and the Eucharist are about the same real presence manifesting in different ways. What makes it real is of course reciprocity. There is nothing more destructive of presence than distraction. Sitting at a meal with others who are constantly sneaking a look at their phone and texting, for example. This is probably what Judas was doing at the Last Supper.

To make this point Jesus shocked and woke them up by washing their feet. The Eucharist feeds us at source with this spirit of humility. Jesus gives himself in this medium without reserve. He is not self-important. Nothing is more important than not being self-important. Then, by throwing open the interior doors of love, we are flooded with a sense of discovery. We see what has always been there but what we failed to understand.

Communion is about being re-membered.

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