At first, I find Liturgy so hard to understand. I am sorry to tell that I don’t feel the zeal and the enthusiasm to listen on the three hours of discussion about the subject matter. I don’t even find an idea or insight on the subject matter which is most significant for me because it does not tickle my interest and I find it boring. I don’t even see the relation of the Liturgy into my life because what I only encounter in the discussions are all theological terms and words which are so hard to grasp and to understand for they are not down to earth topics. But, even though Liturgy does not excite me, I need to struggle, to prevent myself in getting bored and uninterested, and to swallow my own pride for the sake of learning the significance in my life as future pastor. It seems to me that Liturgy does not love me so I find myself not so interested about it. In struggling, I found a significant insight about the subject matter which I reflected deeply and helped me to understand the significance of Liturgy in my vocation journey and theological formation. The significant insight that I’ve found and reflected upon talks about the four-fold action of Jesus in the Institution of the Eucharist which is in Luke 22:19. This four-fold action of Jesus could be regarded and recognized on the consecration of the bread in the celebration of the Eucharist. This significant insight affected me so much most especially in its significance on my vocation journey. Hence, in my reflection, I would like to relate and connect the significance of the four-fold action of Jesus in my vocation journey, and how does it help me to realize and understand the significance of Liturgy in my theological formation.
Luke 22:19 states, “Then he (Jesus) took some bread, and when he had given thanks, broke it and gave it to them saying, ‘this is my body which will be given for you; do this as a memorial of me! (taken from The Jerusalem Bible). Reiterating this Gospel text something pops-up into my mind; so what’s the relation and connection with it in my vocation journey, and how does it affect my life and my theological formation? Going back to the gospel text, the first thing that I encounter in the gospel is the way how the four-fold action of Jesus is being presented, and how it corresponds to the different realities of my vocation journey. The first action that Jesus did is he took the bread. Reflecting and relating it in my vocation journey, this is somehow an invitation for me to gaze and regard upon the way Jesus calls each and every one of us. In this, I could say that Jesus has no favoritism. He calls us, He chooses us to be an instrument of His love despite the fact that we are not worthy of His love. We are fragile vessel of His love. We are fallen, but redeemed by His act of giving His life for us for the sake of saving us from the onslaught of sin, and this act of love of Jesus is always present, manifested and commemorated as we make present this event in the Eucharist. Indeed, revisiting and looking upon my journey in Religious Life, it is not I who choose this kind of life, it is Jesus. It is Jesus who chose/chooses me to be an instrument of His love. Like the bread that he took for the institution of the Eucharist, it is the same action that He did into my vocation journey. I admit that I am not the best choice of God. Being in touch with my humanity, I do have a lot of shortcomings. I am a vulnerable and wounded person, but for Jesus it is nothing for him. He chooses me because He chooses me. It is really hard to understand and explain why he chooses me because words are not enough in order to explain and understand the way Jesus calls us and chooses us in order to be an instrument of His love. Only the heart that is open for His love understands.
As Jesus took some bread, He gave thanks. This second action of Jesus is another invitation for me to regard the way He consecrate us as we are been chosen to be an instrument of His love. Being chosen for the purpose is not the finality of our vocation journey, He still consecrates us. As I relate and connect it with my vocation journey, I realize that my consecration is not only a trademark that I am a religious, but it is also a proof that Jesus loves me. To be consecrated in and with Christ is really demanding looking upon my day to day experiences in trying my best to live my consecration authentically. But, I realize it is in the effort of following the demands of my consecration that the love of Christ becomes clearer, more visible and more significant in my life and in my vocation journey.
As Jesus took some bread, He gave thanks and broke it. This third action of Jesus is a challenge for me. Acknowledging that Christ chooses me to be an instrument of His love and consecrates me by His love, I asked myself; Am I willing to be “broken” for others? Like what Jesus did in the bread after he took it and give thanks, am I, too, willing to be ”broken” and to be received by the people who are hungry and thirsty for His love? Reflecting upon this which indeed a challenge for me, I come up with a conclusion that my consecration is not primarily for my own benefits. My consecration is for the people who long for God. It means to say, my consecration is not an ego-centered, but a people-centered. This is what it means to be “broken”, to be “broken” in the service of people’s need. At glance, the word “break” or “broken” has a negative connotation. It seems it signify my limitedness, shortcomings and unworthiness upon considering these descriptions, it sounds impossible for me to be at the service of people’s need knowing the fact that I also need God in times of hopelessness and discouragements to accept my finiteness, shortcomings and unworthiness. But, this is not what I mean. To be “broken” for people’s need means to be an earthen vessel of hope, to be a piece of bread for the people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness and love, to be a spark of joy and wounded healer for the people being hovered/clouded by sadness and pains of/in life and to be an ember that will stir people’s passion for Jesus. Indeed, there is gain in pain.
As Jesus took some bread, He give thanks, broke it and gave it to his disciples. This fourth action of Jesus is an invitation for me to be a sharer of God’s love. This is also a sole reason why I should commit myself for others because my vocation is intended for them, and I should never forget them every time I am exerting my effort on my responsibilities, and doing my best on my particular assignments and works in my community. Indeed, charity for others starts from small and humble beginnings like what Christ did for the salvation of humankind. “Though he was in the form of God, Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather, he emptied himself and took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men.” (Phil. 2:6-11). In the Eucharist, the role of charity is being manifested by means of the Holy Communion. The Holy Communion is the apex of Christ’s love. It means to say, through Holy Communion, He manifested to us the real nature of Charity, i.e. laying down your life for one’s friend (Jn 15:13). Looking for what Jesus had done for the humankind, it was so noble and great, but upon looking on myself, I asked myself; am I capable of doing this so noble and great commitment as it is deeply imbedded in my religious consecration? Am I capable of serving the needs of the people of God and sharing my own life to them despite the shortcomings that I have? This what I always say whenever I faced this several questions in my religious consecration; For God nothing is impossible (Lk 1:37)
So, how the four-fold action of Jesus affects my Theological Formation as I conclude this simple and humble reflection of mine? To sum up all what I have told and elaborated, the four-fold action of Jesus is simply a reminder for me that Christ love is the center and the raison d’être of my Theological Formation which being manifested and regarded by the Eucharist. So, even though Liturgy is a hard subject for me, I appreciate it now because Liturgy is not only worship, but its Christ’s way in order to express His love for me. To conclude, I would like to cite a beautiful verse from the gospel which captivates my attention and which for me very related in Liturgy; “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in my love. I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete.” (Jn 15:9-11)