Season of Light – WEEK FIVE: The Eucharist

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14 Nov 2019

Praying with the Luminous Mysteries: Jesuit Communications offers a series of reflections around the five Luminous Mysteries. This week we explore the Eucharist.

Parishes and prayer groups: Feel free to print and share our PDF resource, attach it to your parish bulletin or post it on your parish website or Facebook page: Dowload Season of Light – Week Five PDF.

Gospel reading
Luke 22:14-20

Set against impending death, Jesus’ institution of the Eucharist is a source of light and hope. Jesus announces that he has ‘eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer’. He wants to be with us and to share himself entirely. Here is the new covenant – Jesus’ body is broken and blood poured out so that we may have life in his name and freedom in his Spirit. Set within the inbreaking kingdom of God, the Eucharist encourages us to continue walking on our pilgrimage of faith.

Questions
1. Louwana Saba celebrates the hope we receive in the Eucharist. What special grace have you noticed emerging within you through your own experiences of Eucharist?
2. We can experience a profound sense of mutuality and relationship when receiving and giving Communion. What experiences of Eucharist have helped deepen your own relationship with the Lord and your fellow believers?

The Eucharist gives us hope

Louwana Saba is Mission Integration Manager at the Mater Hospital, North Sydney. She recalls two privileged experiences of Communion in the hospital, offering insight into the ways the Eucharist brings hope to people.

I remember sitting in the hospital room as new parents, holding our little son in our arms, and being asked if we would like Communion brought to us. Sr Margaret visited us later that morning, praying with us as we held our new bundle tightly, so full of joy, so overwhelmed. I was moved deeply by this intimate and new experience; us, our baby, and receiving the Eucharist for the first time as parents, all in our unassuming hospital room.

And now, years later because of coincidence and blessings, I am working at the very hospital where I delivered both my children.

I don’t have contact with patients in my work. My role is auxiliary, I work with our staff; but there was this one time that one of our Eucharistic Ministers was unavailable and a non-English speaking patient had requested a Communion visit. He happened to be from Lebanon which is where my own parents are from, and with some knowledge of the language, I offered to take Communion to him.

What a humbling moment! Suddenly, I was on the presiding end of this sacred offering. I recalled being the receiver all those years ago, and here I was leading this man, his wife and son in a Eucharistic celebration of the simplest kind: prayer, silence, offering and sharing. All in the quiet of his humble hospital room. And in that intimate experience of Communion, where we exchanged some words and prayed together, there was hope. Hope for connectedness, hope for healing, hope for our world, hope for the light of Christ, hope for love.

Four mornings each week, a small community gathers for Mass at the Mater. Some attending are patients or staff. Some are the religious sisters who have long been neighbours of our hospital.

We are fortunate to have a chaplain celebrate Mass for us. But if he is ever unable to attend, we often still gather in a Communion Service. We gather, read Scripture, pray together, and share in the sacred offering.

The Eucharist is an unpretentious celebration persevering within our hospital walls. It is Christ meeting us where we are. And while we are in the chapel, the buzz of noise outside the chapel reminds us inside that while we are in prayer, the world around us continues. Patients come in for surgery, appointments are being made, babies are born, visitors stream in and out of the main entrance, patients are discharged, and sometimes patients die. The hospital continues to flow, and while it does, a small and regular community gather to pray and celebrate the Eucharist.

We pray for our hospital and its people. We pray for one another. We pray for the future. And at the end of Mass, the Eucharistic Ministers head out to the wards, armed with the hope of Christ, ready for the intimacy that is Communion in our patients’ rooms.

For more weekly prayer and spirituality reflections, go to www.pray.com.au.

Jesus with the Eucharist at the Last Supper by Juan de Juanes, mid-late 16th century. Wiki Commons

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