There was a film back in the 1980s (I think) called “Sleeping with the Enemy.” Today’s Gospel passage might well be titled, “Eating with the Enemy.” One of the things about having a meal with someone or many people for that matter is that very rarely if ever will you sit down to eat with your enemy unless it is for some sort of clandestine purpose. We eat meals with our friends, not our enemies.

This understanding of eating enhances our understanding of the Eucharist as we realize that the ‘meal’ aspect of the Eucharist speaks very strongly of the unity of the Body of Christ. At the Last Supper Jesus spends time with his friends because he knows this will be there last meal together. However, Jesus does not sentimentalize this experience; he sacramentalizes it with the institution of the Eucharist. Whenever the Eucharist is celebrated, unity ought to be celebrated. We should realize that we are one community with all who celebrate the Eucharist. Paul understood this when he berated the Corinthians for the disunity and factions in their midst.

The Passover for the Jews is the event that constituted them as a people, The People of God. It is the same with the Christian understanding of the Eucharist. When we celebrate the Eucharist we are ‘doing what Jesus did’ 2000 years ago. More than that, what Jesus did 2000 years ago is made present to us in a sacramental way such that we can eat his body and drink his blood.

There will always be those who do not want to join with us – that is their prerogative. It is unfortunate but at the same time we have to be realistic and allow everyone the freedom to make their own decision about following Jesus. The challenge each of us faces is precisely this choice. Let us pray for the grace to choose well and so walk the path to eternal life.

What is the most difficult choice I have made in my life? How did I make it? How can I best grow in faith so that I will choose well in the future.

Jesus, you chose the path of obedience to your Father’s will. Help me to follow your example by seeking your will for my life and grant me the grace to follow it.