Some years ago, a religious persecution in Guatemala left an isolated region of the country without priests. But the people continued to meet in their churches. Once a month they sent delegates to a part of Guatemala where priests were still ministering. Traveling up to eighteen hours on foot, the delegates brought a basket of bread which they placed on the altar and celebrated the Eucharist in the name of their parish. After Mass, they took the consecrated bread, now the Body of the Lord, back home where they distributed it during their prayer services for the next month. When the government threatened to close all the churches, the people said, “If the authorities forbid us to meet in the churches, we shall gather under the trees of the wood or in the caves in the mountains.” The faith of these people should both inspire us and challenge us. They obviously took the Lord at His word that if they did not eat the flesh of the Son of Man, they would not have His life within them (Jn 6:53). And they were willing to make great sacrifices to be able to receive communion. Their love for the Eucharist should strengthen our belief in the Lord’s gift of Himself to us in the bread and wine become His Body and Blood. And their dedication and sacrifice should force us to ask ourselves whether we take it all for granted, and how much or how often we might give other things more importance than desiring to receive the Lord. We must never forget that the Lord has instructed us that if we have His life within us, He will raise us up. What could be more important than that?
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