One of my boys made his First Communion yesterday, and he tried his suit on duly in advance, got his hair cut and washed the morning of, had his father tie his tie, tacked it with a chalice pin, performed all the motions he’d rehearsed the day before, and afterwards seemed pleased and yet confounded enough to say, “I thought it might be different.”
As if thunder might crash, or the veil might be lifted, or a great voice from on high would announce, “You have now received the Lord.” The Consecrated host tasted just the same as the unconsecrated one he received in rehearsal. His life hadn’t visibly changed.
In yesterday’s readings, Philip said to Jesus, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us” (John14:1-12).
I imagine Jesus’s frustration in explaining once again, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”
It’s hard to think well of Philip, considering what I’d give just to be in the presence of Christ as he was–and he still wanted more. He wanted his experience of God to be different, bigger, more certain. He was one of the few and the chosen who knew Christ when he lived, singled out from all of humanity to converse in intimacy with the living God, and he didn’t recognize the gift.
And yet Christ still prepared a place for him in his Father’s house, and when I really examine my life, and how I approach Mystery, it seems possible that whatever dwelling place God had in mind for Philip, is also what he has in mind for me, because I, too, have been given every assurance of the Father’s presence and have overlooked the gift.
Just as Christ’s immersion at his baptism sanctified all the waters for all eternity, when we receive Christ in the Eucharist, he sanctifies every corner of our lives. We really do dwell in his presence, sometimes unknowingly, when we receive his body and blood. And I too have thought that such a cherished state of life would be different, that it would be more profound or full of great acts and mighty deeds.
Lately, it’s just been ironing a suit, making a casserole, cleaning the bathrooms for company, and if any mighty deed has occurred– any great healing– it may be only my recognition that this is Holy.