August 25, 2015

A Wonderful Homily by Paula Jackson On the Meaning of the Eucharist and of Love

Paula Jackson’s homily, on Sunday, August 23, was deeply moving. It drew together a reading from the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians and the Gospel of John which in part, cited Jesus saying:  “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.” Here is “The truth of the Eucharist.”

Paula’s homily also drew in the heroic life of Jonathan Daniels, a white seminarian, who went to Alabama to work for civil rights and was killed as he protected a young Ruby Sales from shots fired from a white segregationist.  Beautifully, Ruby Sales went to an Episcopal Divinity school in his place and, as Paula said, “became a non-violent warrior for justice.”  And finally, Paula cited Cornel West’s hope for the “fire of a new generation,” saying eloquently “that fire has to be lit by a deep love of the people.  And if love is not in it, then that fire doesn’t get at the moral substance and spiritual content that keeps anybody going.”

Paula concluded with what I found to be the most meaningful illumination of what the Eucharist really means.  I can’t do her words justice, but what I took away is that the Eucharist allows us to be in Christ’s presence, to become one with him.  That is what the taking of the host and the wine means.  As Paula said:  “in the Eucharist, we receive the presence of life of Jesus himself, his love even to death, empowering us with the fire of love we must have to follow him.  So we can become his presence in life, given for the world.”

Something else Paula said earlier has to be remembered--and acted on.  “We can’t just co-op a nice-sounding slogan.  We need to be prepared to take a bullet for it”, much as those brave souls on the express train in Paris were prepared to do late last week.  Doing that can only come from love.

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