All of time and space, infinity and eternity, in a piece of bread.
In the Old Testament, we read that the Israelites grumbled against God because they grew tired of eating the same daily bread.
It's easy for us to pass judgement on their ingratitude. "What?" we sneer, "Was it not enough for God to rescue you from slavery and preserve you from death that you now have the audacity to grumble against the food He gives you?"
We wouldn't be incorrect....
In fact, from the standpoint of truth, it wouldn't be going far enough.
God wasn't merely feeding them. He was training them in faith and preparing them for a far deeper reality. That reality is that our very life- Eternal- will always be dependent on the Daily Bread He provides us.
The cause of our transgression is that we are guilty of the same lack of faith as our forefathers.
The very message of the Eucharist is of faith and perspective and gratitude. In fact, the very word Eucharist means Thanksgiving.
We scoff at unbelievers who do not see Him in the consecrated Host and Cup but we have no right to boast as if we have any credit in this miraculous change. We recognize Him in the Mass? We do well. As James says, even the demons believe. Make no mistake, they know who it is the Priest elevates.
When Jesus comes to us in our trials, do we grumble against Him? When He comes to us as the beggar or the unborn child, do we welcome Him or keep walking? In our pain He purifies us, in our defeats, He humbles us, He makes us obedient through chastening. He calls us to Him through the storm. All in disguise, veiled in mystery.
Do the dishes in a dishwasher grumble. Heat, agitation and purifying water makes them clean. We are the pots in the potter's hands, can we expect less?
The reality of what we perceive vs what is, is not limited to the perceptions of sense. It is true with the perception of time, as well. The suffering we think will last forever will be gone in a vapor. The wave upon endless wave of eternity, we don't want to even think about. How horrified might we be of our worst moments if the lens were suddenly drawn out to infinity?
We loathe the trial and fear the walk and sometimes feel He has abandoned us. He hasn't. He merely comes to us in stealth, in forms we cannot perceive but can only trust in faith.
True. We recognize Him in the Communion line. He is also waiting for us in the confessional and in the Adoration chapel. He is with us in our loneliness. Not with us during our loneliness but in it. He was in it in Gethsemane and on the Cross. When we hurt, He hurts especially when we hurt from remorse.
He is the hope in our hopelessness, He is our answer when answers are not there. He comes to us in the form of those who repulse us just as others are repulsed by us.
He is victory disguised as failure, He is power made manifest in weakness. He is the great light seen by the people who walked in darkness.
Our Jesus is the ultimate enigma and eternal paradox. He says to save our life we must lose it, to rejoice we must suffer, to dance we must mourn, to love, we must be hated. To be hated by those we love is the sting that burns but God uses it as the salve that heals. All things work together for His good purpose.
Never can we understand Him until we get to where He is. However, He does promise us that He will get us there if we abandon ourselves to His will. It is a will we cannot see, cannot explain, cannot understand. We can only surrender to it by faith. Very easy to say, very hard to do.
We may pass through the fire of trial or the bitter coldness of desolation knowing that He is-at once- the cause or allower of that suffering, the goal on the other side of it, and the means to get there. He- at the same time- propels us forward and allows obstacles to make it harder to prove our efforts. Again, all of this veiled in mystery.
The rich and haughty seem to skate right through. That is what the eyes perceive.
In the end, the lowly are exalted and the proud are laid low. Beggars and outcasts will be fitted with crowns as kings will be denied even a drop of water.
Many in this world walk right past the great King of Glory who appears to us as a hungry person and will run to the destroyer who appears as easy money or easy sex or power or a quick high. The King of Majesty is clothed in burlap while the enemy appears in shiny satin. The eyes beguile the mind of the fool. Only faith unlocks the door.
Faith is what flows into the constitution that can endure the unendurable, the heart that hopes for the hopeless, the soul that forgives the unforgivable, the mind that believes the unbelievable.
In faith, we see the stunning truth. He who brought down the walls of Jericho and parted the Red Sea and cast Lucifer from heaven, comes to us in the appearance of bread. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith, the impenetrable foundation and fortress and the highest mountain top. All that we believe must be built on that.
All of eternity and infinity, the Alpha and the Omega, help in the hand and elevated by a priest before you. Eternity steps into time. Eternity enters into you, at your Amen.
Lord, You are unsearchable.