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Never Let Me Be Parted from You
Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter
Jesus said to the crowds, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. But I told you that although you have seen me, you do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, share your word and Eucharist with me as I turn my heart to you now in prayer. I need your resurrected power and life. Just as you opened the truth of your Father to the crowds, open the Gospel to me and give me a true hunger for you. Make my heart burn while you speak to me.
- True Hunger: Jesus promised us that if we come to him we will never hunger and thirst. Yet he also called “blessed” those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6). So, in some way, we are supposed to hunger but, in another way, Jesus has come to satisfy all hunger. The hunger Jesus satisfies is that existential longing for meaning and for transcendence. We all long for our lives to matter, to make an impact, to mean something to someone. We want to be loved, needed, protected, desired. None of us want to feel inconsequential. That is a divine longing that reflects the God in whose images we are created. Jesus fully satisfies all that in his person and particularly in his Incarnation and Eucharist. He has come down to be with us because he loves us, because we matter, because he desires us.
- Believe to Be Satisfied: Yet, to be fully satisfied we need to believe in him. We need to take the risk of giving our hearts and minds to him in faith. “Whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” The satisfaction of not hungering and thirsting is tied directly to coming to him and believing in him. Faith and following him are the solution. This is also true on the human level. No one can fall in love and experience the completeness that another brings, which is amazingly beautiful even if imperfect, without taking the risk of following and believing in the other. Trust and “entrustment” to the other are necessary. Thus it is with Christ.
- Never Let Me Be Parted from You: At that moment in Mass when the priest has prayed the Lamb of God prayer, broken a part of the host, and put it in the chalice, he leans forward and prays “never let me be parted from you.” That prayer expresses the desire of the beloved. And Jesus doesn’t want to be separated from us either. “And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day.” Heaven is where all our hunger and thirst for love will be fully fulfilled. The love we feel from Jesus and others here on earth is just a promise, a down payment.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, I long for you and desire you with all my heart. I want to believe in you and follow you wherever you lead me. I know I will still hunger and thirst for the good things of your kingdom to come, on earth as it is in heaven. I know you can and will fill me now and forevermore. I love you and want to follow you all the days of my life. Indeed, never let me be parted from you. Amen.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pray a spiritual communion or receive you in communion, and unite myself to the Eucharist being celebrated around the world. “My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love you above all things, and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were already there and unite myself wholly to you. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.”
For Further Reflection: The prayer the priest prays before kneeling and consuming the precious Body and Blood of the Lord in Communion. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who, by the will of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit, through your death gave life to the world, free me by this, your most holy Body and Blood, from all my sins and from every evil; keep me always faithful to your commandments, and never let me be parted from you.”
Fr. Mark Haydu, LC, is a priest living in Rye, New York. He currently serves as the local New York Chaplain for the Lumen Institute where he offers spiritual coaching to business leaders seeking to integrate faith, character, and leadership: www.lumeninstitute.org. He hails from Akron, Ohio.