Sewing Hope Into Broken Hearts
May 3, 2020

What If You've Received the Eucharist for the Last Time?

We are living in unprecedented and uncertain times. The entire world has been affected by a global pandemic, it has reached nearly every corner of the earth and affected nearly every person on the planet in some way. If you or a loved one has not contracted the disease, you are probably suffering in some other way from the fallout of schools, businesses, and all forms of public entertainment being shuttered. As a human family, more especially as Americans, this is the first time we have experienced the rapid spread of illness, death, job loss, and freedoms being restricted in our lifetime.

As people of faith, it is only natural for us to turn to the Church in difficult times. Unfortunately, at this time many of us are finding that no matter how hard we pull and push on the doors of our Church they too are closed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the Church has been absent or silent during these times. Many priests and bishops have become creative in offering drive-by confessions, parking lots, and online Masses to help nourish the faithful. However, for those of us who regularly participate in the sacramental life of the Church, it hardly seems adequate. These efforts might be admirable but they don't satisfy our deep hunger for the mercy and nourishment that only God can give us by living a consistent Sacramental lifestyle of regular confession and reception of the Eucharist. Simply, to those of us who have been living that way for years, they are as essential to us as water and air.

Suddenly and seemingly overnight, we’ve found ourselves parched and gasping for air, desperate for the Living Water to flood and satiate our souls once again. As this crisis continues we are becoming increasingly famished, fraught, and frantic in our search to return to the Eucharistic table. We’ve moved from hoping and praying for our priests and bishops to open the doors to interrogating them and demanding they no longer sanction us from the Sacramental lifestyle we’ve grown accustomed to for years.

Some of us have outright criticized the character of our pastor or bishop publicly, others repeatedly quote canon law and constantly question the decisions of Church leadership on social media. In the midst of a crisis unlike any of us has ever seen, Jesus, who as Sovereign King and Omniscient God reigns over us and knows the outcomes of the times and seasons, is asking us an important question each and every one of us desperately desiring to receive Him sacramentally again. He inquires, “What if you have received the Eucharist for the last time? If so, will you still follow me?”

With your famished, fraught, and frantic heart will you live the Gospel to the best of your ability? Will you serve the poor, preach, evangelize, and lead souls astray back to Christ or will you walk away with a flash of anger at those keeping you from living a Sacramental lifestyle? Desperation often leads to desolation, being gracious for the gift of faith God has given to us through our baptism and confirmation leads to a contagious generosity.

Therefore, while we are unable to fully experience the “source and summit of the Christian life (cf. CCC 1324),” let us remember that Christ calls us to personal holiness in all seasons of our lives.