Circular and Horizontal Eucharist
It is 9:30 in the morning. Feet shuffle in. Chairs are moved, making space for anyone who comes. All are welcome. The whir and beep of a medical device sets a steady beat. Wheelchairs slowly enter bearing the gifts. It is not the wine and bread they bear but the gifts that are the people they carry. A priest shuffles in and prepares for Mass. It seems to me that the real vestments worn this morning are the cloth of bandaged stubs of legs now gone, braces that steadfastly support atrophied limbs, a helmet that protects a fragile brain, and the quiet chatter and acceptance of each person present for each person present…and the smiles, even through pain. Residents, staff, friends – all the same and all uniquely special in God’s eyes. This is Eucharist in a skilled care facility. This is the Eucharist Jesus calls us to – a circular, horizontal Eucharist. We are called to be bread for each other, to be drink for parched souls and for lives so often lived in loneliness and exclusion, to be voice for the voiceless, and hope for the hopeless. This is the Eucharist that moves in ever-widening circles, reaching beyond our imagination.
Kathy Flynn OP