Only God’s Word is Not Enough! – a Passionate Testimony about the Eucharist
A great achievement of our Protestant brothers is that the Bible became a basic part of our everyday lives. But we, who believe in the Eucharist better know that our meeting with God and Jesus would be impossible without the Sacraments. The person of Jesus Christ is uninterpretable without the Eucharist. This thought grows stronger in me every time I read the story of the disciples of Emmaus in the Gospel according to Luke.
I see this story as a Holy Mass-catechesis. It can be divided into two parts, as the Mass itself; the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. At the beginning of the story the two sad, wandering disciples trying to clear and understand among themselves, what happened in the last few days in Jerusalem, meaning that in Jesus they saw the coming of the age of the Messiah, but Jesus was crucified. Jesus is dead. That is, when Jesus joins in to the downcast apostles, to whom, - after naively asking them as if he didn't know a thing about what happened - he starts to explain from the Law up until the teachings of the prophets the message of the Scriptures, all that had to happen, when the Messiah comes to us. This "job of enlightenment" seems to be unsuccessful, but Jesus accepts the invitation of the disciples and they all gather around the table.
And this is when it all explodes.
This is where the second part of the Mass, the offering of the sacrifices starts. The disciples hear once again the Words from the Last Supper and the veil from their eyes is lifted. In a positive sense, it was a shocking event, to participate in the Last Supper, in the Kairos. It is not a memory, not a remembrance, but the table of the once-and-for-all sacrifice is, where both the Church, and all the born people are present. "Do this in remembrance of me.. and I shall be with you until the end of the world." "Yes" Mystery of faith and We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection, until you come again!"
Without the Eucharist we cannot see this, we do not have insight that Jesus lives and is resurrected. God alone is too "little", that we may discover the transcendent God in the here-and-now.
"Heaven and Earth joins at our table. This bread and wine became life for us. Through Him, with Him and in Him we are yours, we are yours" - says the Hungarian charismatic song and our mind confesses the fact which is rationally unexplainable. Yes! This is the mystery of our faith: the real presence of Jesus Christ in the bread and wine An ecstatic joy! "Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?' There is no more fear, no more hesitating, they run straight back to Jerusalem to share their joy with the others.
Eucharist is not and explanation of the Word, not an exegetical straining, word analysis, but it is the humbles of the heart as we see at the Apostle Thomas, eho cannot say anything else but: "My Lord and my God!"
"Indeed, blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe" - said Jesus to Thomas. Until His ascension to Heaven, all the encounters with the Lord are eucharistic. It is important that this experience, which binds us with all the Christians, who believe in the Eucharist, shall bring us to a closer unity with those, who also confess the eucharistic presence.
The International Eucharistic Congress of 2020 has an incredibly important message by being organized here, in Central Europe. From the point of view of Europe, it has an immeasurable significance in the time, when a lot of us foresee the end of the Christian age, that here, on the border of the East and the West the unity shall be born, the desire of Jesus about the one flock and one shepherd, for which he prayed so passionately in his last days.
We have said for a long time, that if the Christianity in Europe will not be mystic, the Christianity in Europe will cease to exist. Now I say that if there will be no Eucharistic Europe, the continent will be lost for the Christianity.
I see new heaven and earth!
The old one is gone!
Catholics, orthodox, those, who believe in the Eucharist from North, East, South and West: all come to us; let us feel that we have nothing to fear, because the cradle of Christianity is here, in the basin of the Mediterranean, where we welcome everyone with open arms. Come to Bethlehem, to the 'city of the Bread", kings, magi so that the table of Jesus shall be once again one bread and one table.
Our father, Ignatius said that desire is the beginning of everything. I believe and confess that God leads us toward our eternal home through our desires.
Jozsef Hofher SJ