Jesus gave a challenging homily in his hometown Synagogue, and the people nearly threw Him off a cliff. So you can understand my hesitancy to challenge people on sensitive or awkward topics, yet sometimes I do need to call these things to our attention. Please do not throw me off a cliff. 😊
We believe that Jesus is really, truly, substantially present in the Eucharist. Every particle of the consecrated Host is Jesus. This is why we fast from other food for at least an hour before receiving Him. We don’t want the Eucharist to be treated like any other food. Similarly we want to stop and pray for at least 15-20 minutes after receiving Him before taking other food into our mouths. Usually the time after Communion and before the end of Mass is sufficient to allow our bodies to assimilate the Eucharist before we head out for a pancake breakfast or coffee and rolls.
What concerns me is the number of people I see chewing gum at Mass. I do not want to single anyone out, which is why I am addressing this in a general way. I want us all to think carefully about what we are doing. If we chew gum immediately after (or worse, while!) receiving the Eucharist, that means Jesus is now in our gum! Are we going to throw away Jesus when we toss out that gum? Even if we would swallow the gum there is a chance that the Eucharist will remain trapped in the gum when it passes from our body. Even more, what does this show our children or grandchildren who are watching our example?
We want to give our bodies time to absorb the Eucharistic Species before putting anything other than water into our mouths. We believe that we become what we receive when we receive the Body of Christ. Our reverence for the Eucharist needs to begin before Mass starts and continue after Mass so that we do not commit Sacrilege (a grave sin!) by failing to treat the Eucharist as what it truly is: the Body and Blood of Jesus.
So please, keep the Mass gum-free. Wait at least 20 minutes after Communion before eating or drinking anything other than water. May all of our actions before, during, and after Mass show our reverence for Jesus present in the Eucharist—His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity.
Peace in Christ, Today’s Reading: Jer 1:4-5, 17-19; 1 Cor 12:31—13:13