By accepting the Body of Christ, do I believe that He can do everything? Do I ask the Lord to come to me in His mercy and say “only a word” and I will experience healing?
The priest celebrating Holy Mass, after preparing in silence to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord, takes the broken Host in his hand and, raising it over the paten or chalice, says: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb.” And here we are reminded of John the Baptist, a prophet from the turn of the Old and New Testaments. He comes from the desert, where he opened his heart to the word of God and prepared to be His word by which he would announce to the world that the Saviour was coming. Using at this point in the liturgy of the Holy Mass the words of John the Baptist, the prophet of God’s closeness – because that is what he should be called – the priest says that He, the Lamb of God, our Saviour, is already here! You have to open your heart to His coming!
This text is related in content to the song “Lamb of God/Agnus Dei”. There and here, Christ is the lamb about whom the prophet Isaiah speaks: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter” (53:6-7).
This is why we have the courage to cry out: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed.” These words, known in the liturgy of the Holy Mass since the 11th century and spoken three times with the gesture of beating the breast until the Second Vatican Council, express our sense of sinfulness. In fact, we are not worthy to accept Christ, God himself, into our hearts. We humbly muster this courage through faith in the fact that it is He himself, the innocent Lamb, who took upon Himself our sins and, by the power of His death on the cross, takes them away, thus destroying what divides us from Him.
After the centurion confessed: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed” (Mt 8:8), Jesus praises his attitude, saying: “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith” (Mt 8:10). It is faith in the healing power of Christ in Holy Communion that leads us to accept Him. The sincere awareness of our unworthiness “brings forth” the healing power of Christ. Many of us need bodily healing and Jesus heals them if we have faith and if it is God’s will. However, we all need soul therapy, because we are all still susceptible to Satan’s temptation and the effects of evil.
By accepting the Body of Christ, full of trust, do I open my heart? Do I ask the Lord to come to me in His mercy and “only say the word” and I will experience healing? This centurion speaks very simply, in a human manner, with deep conviction that what he asks for will happen; with such conviction as if the healing of his servant had already taken place! And when I speak his words, does Christ then “find” in my heart faith equal to that of a centurion? Is this really the case? Do I go with such faith in the communion procession to the One who can do everything?
Father Tadeusz Dajczer, founder of the Nazareth Family Movement, says this about experiencing this moment of the Holy Mass: “I will speak with faith. . . ‘but only say the word and my soul will be healed’, this is a word that has no limits of power, which is capable of changing my heart, healing my soul now [. . .]. I should not set limits to His infinite power and the infinity of His mercy. After all, it may happen that He, God present in the Eucharist, will at some point transform me with the power of these wonderful words [. . .]. It all seems crazy [the priest continues], but Jesus who comes to me in the Eucharist really loves me madly. And He really wants to live in me madly, to sanctify me, giving me, along with His holiness, Himself” (Dajczer T., Amazing Nearness, Eucharstic Renewal Books, 2009, pp. 102-103).
The priest has just said, “Blessed are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb.” By participating in the Holy Mass, we are already blessed, that is, happy, because in a moment we will meet Christ, our Lord and Saviour, our Friend and Healer; He will fill our hearts and walk with us through life. What else do we need to be happy!
It is worth paying attention to one more aspect of the confession: “Lord, I am not worthy. . .”. Well, we all say these words at the same time, the faithful and the priest. It is a common and humble declaration of faith in the power of Christ and at the same time a sign that we are creating one community to participate in this one unique Feast and to accept one and the same Bread of Life. This is how the Church appears, one community united by faith and prayer, gathered around the table where Christ, the Son of God, becomes the food that gives life.
In this community spirit, we want to receive Holy Communion today.
Prayer of Saint Faustina (after Holy Communion):
“O my Creator and Lord, you alone, above all these [all] gifts, give yourself to me and unite yourself closely with your miserable creation. Here our hearts understand each other without any choice of words; here, no one can interrupt our speech. What I am talking about with You, O Jesus, is our secret, which creatures will not know and Angels do not dare to ask. These are secret forgivenesss that only Jesus and I know about – it is the mystery of His mercy that embraces each individual soul. For this incomprehensible goodness of Yours, I adore You, O Creator and Lord, with all my heart and soul. And although my adoration is so miserable and small, I am at peace because I know that You know that it is sincere, although so clumsy” (Diary 1692).