My wife and I made this prayer card for our parish to be distributed to parishioners this Easter. Our parish merged with another two years ago and we are still finding our way together as a new community. It is a time of transition, having lost familiar parishioners while gaining new ones along with a new pastor. We chose this passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians because the verse speaks to a time of renewal, like spring, for our lives as Catholics today.
The Eucharistic Revival is a time of renewal, a time to reawaken and deepen our relationship with Christ in the Eucharist. One opportunity to do this is by doing good to others. Sacraments and Social Mission: Living the Gospel, Being Disciples, a document created by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, explains that there is an intrinsic connection between the Eucharist and charity. The chapter on the Eucharist takes an excerpt from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s encyclical Deus Caritas Est: “A Eucharist which does not pass over into the concrete practice of love is intrinsically fragmented” (no. 14).
Amidst the frustrations and fatigue we bear due to what is going on in the Church and the world, God presents us with new opportunities to begin again. Like flowers blossoming and trees budding in the spring, our spirit is renewed each time we encounter Christ in the Eucharist. But flowers and trees need to be nurtured and so does our relationship with Christ in the Eucharist. To nurture costs love—giving our entire self. Christ gives his entire self in the Eucharist, and we are called to do the same in the world by being his hands and feet for others.
Holy Thursday is special for me because I always hold on to the last two verses of the reading from John 13: “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do” (Jn 13:14-15).
Jesus gives us a model for discipleship. Reflecting on the Triduum, I think of how tired Jesus must have been throughout his Passion. He could’ve stopped at any point from exhaustion, but he persisted. If we truly desire to follow him, do we raise reasons for ourselves to stop? Perhaps it is frustration or fatigue. We are human and those reasons are to be expected, but we are not limited by or bound to them. To be disciples, Jesus calls us to never tire. Each day is a new opportunity to do something good. It does not have to be something big, but we need to start in order for that good to blossom. I offer a quote for reflection by Servant of God Dorothy Day: “Young people say, what good can one person do? What is the sense of our small effort? They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time; we can be responsible only for the one action of the present moment. But we can beg for an increase of love in our hearts that will vitalize and transform all our individual actions, and know that God will take them and multiply them, as Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes” (Dorothy Day, Loaves and Fishes, 176).
During this Easter and Eucharistic Revival, a time for renewal, I hope we reawaken and deepen our relationship with Christ in the Eucharist through small acts of charity. When we receive Christ in the Eucharist, may this relationship of love extend to charity towards those we encounter in our community. If we ever tire, may it be an opportunity to draw closer to Christ. Let us not tire of starting over again to do good. I hope our parishioners will find similar inspiration as we continue growing together as one faith community.