The (Not So) Hidden Costs of the Eucharist

by | Feb 8, 2019 | Formation, Reflections

Buyer Beware of Hidden Costs

Most of us, even non-car buyers, are aware of the hidden costs of buying a car. If we are not, we risk busting our budgets. Advertisements tout only upfront costs. They say very little of the hidden costs.

  • Financing charges
  • State and local tax rates
  • State licensing fees
  • Insurance premiums
  • Fuel economy estimates
  • Maintenance and repair costs
  • Predicted vehicle depreciation

A recent thougtful article in the National Catholic Register about the Eucharist as the lavish meal God prepares for us in the Eucharist got me thinking about another dimension of the Eucharist we rarely pay attention to … its hidden cost… if we take what Jesus said seriously!

Do you understand what I have done?

The hidden, yet not hidden, cost of the Eucharist

Actually, it is not so much a hidden cost in the case of the Eucharist. Jesus is right up front about it! I think it is more a case of our self-centered focus on what God does for us in the Eucharist than on what God asks us to do in the Eucharist.

Let’s get down to the basic, and quite, upfront costs of the Eucharist!

After supper, he stood, took a towel and basin, then washed the feet of disciples, something a lowly servant did for his master. He became their servant. But knowing that they did not understand him he pointedly asked them. “Do you understand what I have done?” And then he explained to them… very directly! (John 13:12)

I, your Lord and Master have washed your feet. I want you to wash one another’s feet. For emphasis, he even added, “Do this in memory of me!” These were not empty words. It was a call to action. The next day he showed that he meant it when he suffered and died to show us God’s love.

He wants us to focus on action… everyday action. This is what he wants us to do… all of us… wash one another’s feet. The cost, or rather response, to the example of Jesus, is to imitate Jesus. It is a call to transformation.

His focus was not on what he was giving us with his presence but what he is asking us to do.  His explicit focus was not on the role of a priest… but on the command to each of us.

Do we take seriously the command to DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME? Are we prepared for the costs of the Eucharist?

We willingly eat the food but do we do what Jesus explicitly asks of us?

I suggest that we in the Vincentian family pay more attention to the command of Jesus Do this… in memory of me! Do what I have done for you. We are more than a social service agency. We are people who take Christ’s command and the Eucharist seriously.

In this spirit, I suggest a Eucharistic examination of conscience whenever we hear the words “Do This in memory of me.”

When and how have I washed the feet of my brothers and sisters …

  • whether by blood or common humanity,
  • whether they look like me or not,
  • whether they have “earned” my love or not.

Let’s actually do what Jesus asked us to do.

Eucharistic Thinking and Doing

  • Do I understand the Eucharist as a call to transformation and radical service?
  • Do I understand the Eucharist as a call to put on the mind of Christ?
  • How willing am I to wash the feet of the least of my sisters and brothers?
  • What are some of the ways I could in effect wash their feet in my daily life?

Tags: Eucharist