The Communion of the people and completion of the service.
After the Prayer of Consecration is completed and the Great AMEN is proclaimed the faithful pray the Lord’s Prayer and prepare to come to the Altar rail for holy Communion. The breaking of the consecrated bread takes place as the final prelude to the reception of holy Communion.
Our catechesis this morning will reflect on this precious moment between Christ and your soul when you partake of the mystery of Christ’s living Presence. When you receive the Body and Blood of Christ you are made one with the saving acts of His dying and rising. Initiated into the Paschal mystery at baptism we are united with this mystery at every Mass.
The Prayer of Humble Access (BCP: 337) is one of the most treasured prayers in our Anglican patrimony. This prayer beautifully explains what has just happened upon the Altar and what we are about to receive. It reads: “We do not presume to come to this Thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in Thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under Thy Table. But Thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of Thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink His blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by His body, and our souls washed through His most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in Him, and He in us. Amen.”
The basis of this prayer is our Lord’s own words: “So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you; he who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in me, and I in him. (Joh 6:53-56)
As we come forward to receive the sacrament we come to give our self, our soul and body to Jesus that He may “dwell in us and we in Him.” This is truly a sacred moment of “holy” communion.
The Holy Spirit cleanses and heals our soul in the precious blood of the Lamb poured out for us on the Cross. Our heavenly Father loves us and He desires to be united with us in the bonds of the Spirit where love knows only joy.
So I ask you now. Do you thirst for God like He thirsts for you? “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, “If any one thirst, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ ” (John 7:37-38)
On the Cross, as He was dying Jesus said, “I thirst.” (John 19:28)
God thirsts for us. Every time we go to the Altar rail we should be thirsting for Him. If so we shall be satisfied! By thirsting for Jesus we are giving to Him what He really thirsts for… our life and our soul. We give Him our broken and frail humanity; He gives us His divinity. We give Him our nothingness; He gives us His all. What more do we need!