As Christians and especially Orthodox, we have a rich tradition of the Holy Qurbana. How many of us realize the importance of participating in the Holy Mystery? Are we forced into Church every Sunday by our parents or by our community? It is a problem that many youngsters face today. They do not where they belong. Yes, it is true that we do not understand the Holy Liturgy in its entirety. But that is no excuse to walk away and say, “I do not feel anything in the Orthodox Church or I do not feel that I belong here”. Remember, worship is about God and not about our personal and emotional feeling. Whatever be our state of mind, we need to worship God with a true and contrite heart. We need to make a genuine effort to understand the Holy Liturgy. We as the youth must freely accept the Holy Liturgy as Christ’s invitation and recommit ourselves to His discipleship, perhaps repeatedly, at the Qurbana. Then we will realize the true significance of this wonderful sacrament.
In Christ we discover the way to the Father and the way we must relate to one another. His entire life was lived in devoted obedience freely and lovingly given to his Father. This obedience grew out of a radical and uncompromising fidelity to his Father’s will. He was faithful (obedient) to the end: “even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). The obedience demonstrated on the cross was also the revelation of Christ’s love for his own in the world which he loved to the end (cf. Jn. 13:1).
Christ is not only our perfect model for a life of freedom, but he is also the source of this freedom. It is the love of Christ which frees the whole person in the very depths of one’s being. The sacrifice of Christ is the point of contact with our human condition. Jesus’ entire life, not just his final act of perfect love on the cross, was a sacrifice. Everywhere he faced aggression, hatred, revenge and violence. He stood in the face of violence and he did not waver. There was bound to be a final confrontation. His sacrifice was to maintain a faithful relationship with his Father, with the people and with the earth itself. Thus, harmony, peace and love become a real alternative to violence and aggression. In other words, Jesus freely positioned himself on the side of the victim, the poor, the marginalized and the powerless: He did not cling to his equality with God, but he emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as human beings are; and being in this condition he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8).
In our Eucharist, by the power of the Spirit, we can pray “Abba” (Father), with Jesus who was not embarrassed to dine with tax collectors and sinners. The Eucharist is our entrance into the mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Eucharist, moreover, allows us to participate in His sacrifice. It is in this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving that we are able to identify with Christ who is our freedom and in whom we discover our true identity as children of God.
Eucharist is professed to be the source and summit of Christian life. As we make our journey through life, for us who are Christians and Orthodox, we will find in the Eucharist the memorial of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the anointed one. In the Eucharist we celebrate a life freely given in obedience to the Father and in loving friendship so that all “may have life and have it to the full” (Jn. 10:10).
If we are to be freed it is to live fully as Jesus promised, “I come that they may have life and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10). I wish to conclude with Jesus’ words to the crowd, “I myself am the living bread come down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread he shall live forever; the bread that I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world” (Jn. 6:51). “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn 6: 54). “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him” (Jn 6: 56). Let us make a genuine effort to understand and participate in our Eucharist with faith rather than an obligation to parents and society. May the constant celebration of the mystery of Christ our God enable us to reach the eternal life it promises.”