A Man’s Finest Hour – The Hour with Jesus in the Eucharist

A Man’s Finest Hour – The Hour with Jesus in the Eucharist

I was in the kitchen enjoying a glass of orange juice and a bun that I had micro waved when Fr. Harry came in and said to me: “Are you eaten AGAIN.” 🙂 It was while munching on this delicious bun that the Holy Spirit gave me this line – ‘A man’s finest hour is the hour of the Eucharist’ when in the depth of my being I speak heart to heart with the God who visits me as the Bread of Life.

This week, I was fascinated again as I read Pope Francis reflection on ‘Letting Ourselves Be Changed by God.’ It was a reflection on the prayer of Jacob and how in his encounter with God, he allowed himself to be changed by God.

Jacob was a cunning man who through trickery managed to obtain the blessing and birthright of their father Isaac. The blessing was meant for Esau. Owing to a difficult relationship with his brother, he was forced to flee far from him. Adept at business, he became rich, married Laban’s most beautiful daughter. The pope described him in a modern term: he was a self-made man. Though successful, Jacob lacked a living relationship with his own roots.

One day Jacob heard a call of home, of his ancient homeland, where his brother was. It was while on his journey home – on the bank of the river at night and while pondering what awaits him – that God visited him and began to wrestle with him. Jacob wrestled with God. Jacob was beaten, his sciatic nerve was struck and thereafter he will walk with a limp for the rest of his life. God changed his name from Jacob to Israel. As if to say: you WILL NEVER BE THE MAN WHO WALKS THIS WAY, STRAIGHT. GOD CHANGED HIS LIFE AND HIS ATTITUDE.

Through a lengthy struggle, Jacob emerged a changed man: change of name, change in his way of life and a personality change. He is no longer master of the situation – his cunning is no use to him – he is no longer a strategic and calculating man. For once, Jacob has only his frailty and powerlessness and also his sins to present to God. And it is this Jacob who received God’s blessings with which he limps into the promised land: vulnerable and wounded but with a new heart.

The Pope recounts what an elderly man told him: “Once I heard an elderly man – a good man, a good Christian, but a sinner who had great trust in God – who said: “God will help me; He will not leave me alone. I will enter Heaven; limping, but I will enter.

The Eucharist is the food for our journey to Heaven. Is man’s finest moment not the time when he encounters Jesus in the Eucharist? Though I enjoy buns and orange juice which refresh my body, I know that the hunger in my soul can only be satisfied by Him who comes to me in the Eucharist. He comes to change me: to change us! To help us in this earthly pilgrimage.

Sometimes, this moment of Communion can also be a time when like Jacob we wrestle with God, and we say to Him as Jacob did:

‘I’ll never let you go unless you bless me, Jesus. And He will bless.

Are you sick and desire healing? Is there a blessing you want for yourself or for a family member? Are there dreams and hopes in your heart yet to be fulfilled? What do you desire? Wrestle with God at Communion and never let him go until He blesses you. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains: “the spiritual tradition of the Church has retained the symbol of prayer as a battle of faith and as the triumph of perseverance” (CCC, 2573)

There are times when He may have to break us in order to bless us. Isn’t this, too, the Eucharistic story: that we who receive the true Bread from Heaven must also be broken to become bread for the life of the world? To be broken means that my attitude must change, the way I see people must change, the way I see the world must change. Humility and love must now characterize my life as I see every moment as a time to live out the Eucharistic love in the world.

Since Jesus is really, truly and substantially present in the Eucharist, my time with Him at Mass is my finest hour because it is a moment when in my heart, heaven and earth come together and I become one with my Maker and draw life from His life in my Pilgrimage here on earth until I see him face to face in Heaven.

Your brother,

Fr. Obi