Prepare for the Lord…
The disciples prepared for the Last Supper, and we should similarly prepare for the Eucharist:
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
He sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him. Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”‘ Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.” The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover. -Mark 14:12-16, NAB
The disciples were unaware of the momentous occasion that was about to happen. They were preparing for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but Jesus actually sent them to prepare for the Last Supper – the first Eucharistic banquet.
Just as the early Jews prepared for feasts in a special manner, at Mass, we prepare for the Eucharist in a special way. During the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the priest prepares the altar and gifts. Meanwhile, we should be preparing ourselves for the feast we are about to receive.
Our preparation should begin prior to attending Mass. According to Canon 919 of the Code of Canon Law:
A person who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain for at least one hour before holy communion from any food and drink, except for only water and medicine.
Following the Code of Canon Law, we prepare our bodies by fasting for one hour prior to Communion. This prepares our bodies to receive the fullness of the Eucharist.
Beyond preparing our bodies to receive Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, our true goal should be to prepare our minds and souls for the feast. The Eucharist is more than a mere ritual that we partake in each week; we are actually receiving Christ’s body and blood into our bodies. We should not take it lightly.
Our preparation should go beyond fasting. Our minds should be focused on Christ throughout the Liturgy of the Word. As the Liturgy of the Eucharist begins, we should open our hearts and souls in prayer. Mass is the pinnacle of our day and week – the focus and center of our faith. It is not just a weekly obligation; it is a wonderful celebration of Christ’s saving work on the cross.
Do you properly prepare yourself for the Eucharist each week? Regardless of what you have done in the past, start preparing for the Eucharist properly. Fast for one hour prior to Communion. Attentively listen to the Liturgy of the Word. Open your heart and soul to Christ during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. If you do, you will begin receiving Christ in a fuller way than ever before, and you will notice a difference. I’m not convicting you; I’m speaking from experience. The Eucharist has changed my life. Now, let it change yours.