Throughout Lent, we have been proposing reflection questions for you to consider while watching the episodes of Presence on the FORMED online platform. For the final episode, the question we were invited to reflect on was: “How does Mary’s life show us how to approach the Eucharist in a biblical way?”
This question is especially timely given the fact that the Church just celebrated the Solemnity of the Annunciation this past Saturday, March 25. Although we may not initially connect this mystery of the life of Jesus with the Eucharist, it is indeed very Eucharistic. As we know, human life begins at conception, and so when Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary at the Annunciation, the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. (Jn 1:14) This is what happens at every celebration of the Eucharist, the Word becomes flesh and dwells among us in the form of bread and wine, though in reality, truly as the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus.
As I reflect on this scene from the Gospel where Mary welcomes the Savior into her womb, what strikes is what we hear in the next passage: “In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.” (Lk 1:39–40) With Christ in her womb, the love from the One who is love urges her to go in haste to serve her cousin Elizabeth who had conceived a child in her old age. Learning of this joyful news, Mary went right away to share the love of God.
One of the options for the dismissal at the end of Mass is: “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” The first word is key: Go! Having received the love of God in our body and soul in the Eucharist, we are sent out, and we should imitate Mary and go in haste to live the graces the Lord has blessed us with in His coming to dwell in us. Like Mary, we should be eager to glorify the Lord by our lives, in both word and action. Mary’s going in haste demonstrates this action, and she glorifies the Lord in her song of praise after she arrives at her cousin’s, saying those beautiful words: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” (Lk 1:46–47)
These two incidents of the Annunciation and the Visitation show how Mary’s example invites us to live a Eucharistic life. The Eucharist is far more than just coming to Mass to receive Him, only to forget about Him the rest of the week. Coming to Mass is how we are fed and renewed with the love of God which cannot help but overflow in how we live the rest of the week, letting ourselves be instruments of His love in the daily details of our lives. Everything that we do can be an opportunity for us to give glory to God by the way we live our lives. And Mary teaches us how to do this. This is why I often, when praying in thanksgiving after Mass, ask Mary’s intercession for me that the graces I have received may not be wasted, but shared generously with those whom the Lord will place in my path that day.
As a reminder, we have a weekly reflection question to keep in mind as you watch the next episode of Presence. It can be found on the bottom right corner of this page.