The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Muranga in Kenya has urged the people of God under his pastoral care, especially those who distribute Holy Communion to do it with reverence.
In his homily at the Wednesday, November 15 opening of the Eucharistic Congress in the Diocese, Bishop James Maria Wainaina, however, clarified that communion does not involve giving the Eucharistic alone but also involves serving others in various capacities.
Bishop Wainaina said that members of the Clergy, the religious women and men, and the Catechists who are permitted to give communion should be Christ-like before engaging in the activity.
“Most of us here have at one time or the other given Eucharistic communion to others, either in ordinary or extraordinary manner. It is therefore very important that you be as Christ-like as possible,” he said at the four-day event that is being held at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral grounds of the Kenyan Diocese.
The Bishop who launched the Year of the Eucharist in January this year said that to be Christ-like is not only important but also possible.
He said that it is essential to be Christ-like in giving communion because the church, despite being the mystical body of Christ, is very real in the sense that people are part of the church, and there exists a deep and real connection with Jesus Christ Himself.
Bishop Wainaina said that the one giving communion either in the Eucharist or through service to the people should never do it as an empty action like just giving ordinary food or gifts, but with a lot of reverence.
“The communion giver should already be Christ-like, a true part of the body of Christ, the Church,” the Kenyan Bishop said, making reference to the pillars of the Diocese’s Eucharistic year; ‘believe, celebrate, receive, adore, and commune.’
He added, “We must never forget the essential connection between the mystical body of Christ which is the Church, and the sacramental body of Christ, which is the Eucharist.”
Bishop Wainaina urged those charged with giving the Eucharist to the people to be consciously aware of what they are doing so that they can serve "as part of the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church."
“We must give out our very self to those who are receiving communion from us,” said the Bishop who has been at the helm of Murang’a Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in June 2009.
Those not permitted to give Holy Communion, Bishop Wainaina said, should know that they are giving out their lives “in the form of services that we give”. The Bishop urged them to take solace in the fact that they are participating in communion and therefore, their “lives must not be empty of Jesus Christ".
“Brothers and sisters, we are giving ourselves to the others through giving communion or simply in our life of service, we can still be bread to others,” he said challenging the people of God in his Diocese to reflect on the kind of bread they give to those entrusted to them.
He said that the kind of bread served to others through communion determines the nature and the qualities that will be evident in society.
The Bishop said that some people in society are bitter and some have given up in life because those who were supposed to take care of them only provide a toxic environment.
“Most of us are preachers," he said, and continued, "Do we preach hatred, prejudice, injustice, or corruption as food for our people? As food to those you serve, are you giving it willingly? Or the flock has to kneel down and besiege you to give food that you are supposed to give freely?”
The Kenyan Diocese launched the Eucharistic Year with the expectation that the event would foster positive change in the spiritual life of the people of God, especially in their relationship with the person of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
In a statement that was published on his Facebook page, a day after the launch in January, Bishop Wainaina said “I am optimistic that the launch of the year of the Eucharist will lead to a significant change in spiritual matters within the Catholic Diocese of Murang’a, especially in the number of Christians who receive the Holy Eucharist.”
In his November 15 homily, the Bishop challenged the people of God under his pastoral care to always remember that they are in "deep spiritual intimacy with Jesus Christ".“Even those who are not here today are givers of communion in as much as they give their services for the good of the body of Christ, the Church. Let us always be aware that we are called to a very deep spiritual intimacy with Jesus Christ just because we are called to give communion to others whether it is Eucharistic or service,” Bishop Wainaina said on the first day of the Eucharistic Congress.