The Great Gift and Mystery
“Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed;
let us then feast with joy in the Lord.”
1 Cor 5:7
The very same empty tomb of Jesus in the Gospel is still present with us today in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. A few years ago, I had the privilege of celebrating the Holy Mass within in the burial chamber with the tomb of Christ as the altar. The rest of the assembly were outside of the tomb, and during the Communion Rite, the priest celebrant goes outside of the tomb and raises the consecrated bread and wine before the assembly and proclaims,“Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him, who takes away the sins of the world...”
Yes, this is the great gift and mystery: the Risen Christ is alive today in the Eucharist.
Many forget that the altar in the Catholic Church is not just the table of the Last Supper, where the Body of Christ gathers; not just the altar of sacrifice, the memorial of the Jesus’s sacrifice in His Passion and Crucifixion; but it is also the tomb where Jesus is risen. Upon every altar of the world in every Catholic church, Jesus is present and alive with the power of the Resurrection in the Eucharist, and in everyone who receives Him in Holy Communion.
Let us not forget Who we truly receive at Holy Communion, and Who we become.
May we see and believe that we receive Jesus the Risen One; and as we receive Him, we become more like Him, sharing in His Divine power which definitively destroyed sin and death. May we surrender our life upon the altar of the Lord - putting our selfishness and sins to death in the tomb of Jesus so that we may become more like Him as to bring the healing, transforming, and victorious power of His Resurrection to the world that greatly needs it.
Father Gerard Alba enjoys being a participant in the salvific work of God as a priest of Jesus Christ in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from Benedictine College, a Master in Architecture from University of Kansas, and a Master of Divinity from Mundelein Seminary. He is deeply in love and in awe of the Creator and His Creation; and enjoys being a co-creator with the Holy Spirit in arts, design, and community building. You can find out more about him HERE.