Too many people think of Holy Communion as a ritual, rather than a transformative, life-giving reality. Jesus spoke clearly of how Holy Communion—the partaking of his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity—would give us new life and raise us up:
- For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world (Jn 6:33).
- I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world (Jn 6:48-51).
- Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day (Jn 6:54).
- The one who feeds on me will live because of me (Jn 6:57).
- He who feeds on this bread will live forever (Jn 6:58).
- [In the ancient Temple] a tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table, and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. … When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood. … This is an illustration for the present time. … When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made. … He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption … to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him (Heb 9: varia).
So Holy Communion with Jesus takes us, who were dead in our sins, and raises us to a new and eternal life. The Word Eternal does not refer merely to the length of life, but also to its fullness. So we are given not just a long life, but a full one.
And to those who refrain from Holy Communion, the Lord has this to say:
Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you have no life in you (Jn 6:53).
Those who have stepped away from the Communion with the Lord in the Sacrament of the Eucharist are starving themselves and risk utter spiritual death: “no life you.”
And now we go to a surprising place: a Doritos commercial (see video below).
- In this commercial, a man going on a journey exhorts his friend to remember to feed the fish and water the plant.
- I wonder if we cannot see ourselves receiving a similar command from Jesus. Jesus often speaks in parables of a King or a landowner (Himself, really) going on a journey and leaving instructions.
- And Jesus’ instructions similarly involve food and drink. For as he went on a journey he said, “Eat my Flesh and drink my Blood. … Do this in remembrance of me.”
- But in the ad, the friend on the couch pays little attention. And as you can guess, he doesn’t do what he’s been asked.
- Interestingly, however, he does eat the Doritos!
- Perhaps then, he is emblematic of some modern Catholics who, though they get to Church themselves, have not evangelized others (even their own relatives) and do not make sure that they eat and drink by receiving Holy Communion.
- Sure enough, as we have noted, the couch-bound friend (pew sitting Catholic?) does not give food to the fish or drink to the plant and they both die. This is what is happening spiritually to our family and friends who do not come to Mass and worthily receive Holy Communion. And to the extent that we have neglected to evangelize them, we, like the couch-sitting friend in the ad, share in the blame for their deaths.
- Suddenly the couch-bound friend realizes it is Thursday and that his friend will return soon. He sees the death he has helped cause by failing to feed and water, and urgently tries to remedy the situation. Perhaps (we hope) this is a symbol of us in the Church who have allowed 70% of our brethren to drift away from the food and drink they need (Jesus). Waking up from a long nap, we hear the call to the New Evangelization as we see our once-filled parishes and schools empty and closing.
- Now things get silly, but action is taken. The couch-bound friend suddenly leaves his couch (pew) and goes to work. He feeds Doritos to the dead fish and suddenly the fish comes back to life! I know it’s a stretch, but allow this to be a symbol of getting a friend or family member back to the Sacraments. If we do, that which was dead is now alive. Next in the ad, the plant comes alive; then most auspiciously, even Grandpa, whose ashes were knocked off the mantle, also comes back to life! (Remember, though, do not put the ashes of loved ones on the mantle. The Church requires that they be buried or placed in a columbarium at a cemetery.)
- OK I know it’s crazy, but the Doritos can symbolize (by a stretch) the Eucharist. And as for actually giving life, Doritos don’t, but Communion can! When Holy Communion is received worthily and fruitfully, what was dead can and does come back to life. And what is already alive is further enlivened.
So the moral is, stay faithful to Holy Communion or die. And even if you’re receiving, I’m sure you know people who aren’t. They need to get back to Holy Communion or they will perish (cf Jn 6:53).
Now don’t let some guy in a Doritos commercial be smarter than you. Get to work—evangelize. There are people out there (including your own children, family members, and friends) who are dying spiritually for lack of Holy Communion. Get to work—Jesus may be coming soon!
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches (Rev 3:20-22).
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day (Jn 6:54).
Here’s the commercial: