Don and Annie were “empty nesters” as far as their children were concerned. However for twelve years Annie’s mother had been living with them. At first, she was a great help but as the years rolled by age was not kind to her and she began to diminish in energy and enthusiasm. Then she was diagnosed with a terminal illness. She had only a short time to live and wanted to die in familiar surroundings. Annie and Don agreed to round the clock care. Annie and Don continued their loving care. Their heartaches were many – the pain, the constant demands, family obligations, work obligations. However the biggest heartache was expressed by Annie when she shared with me her longing for Eucharist. She had not been to Mass for so long because she didn’t want to leave her mother nor did she have the energy to get to Mass. Little did this overburdened daughter know that eucharistic acts are as common as bread and wine, as common as the self-sacrificing love we freely give to others.
In our Gospel today, Jesus’ self-giving is now made present in the Eucharist. Our eating this bread and drinking of this cup draws us into the mystery of self-giving. And in sharing in this bread and drinking of this cup, we become Eucharist for others. Annie and Don became Eucharist for their family.