I’m in Arabia at a conference for catechists. My keynote address is on the Eucharist. It includes this delightful and thought-provoking story by Richard T. Szafransk published in Emmanuel, used with permission, and adapted by me.
I was a grape once. Now I’m a raisin. I’m stuck in this box with a bunch of other raisins. I live in the kitchen cupboard of the priest’s house. Our raisin box sits in here next to a box of Wheaties. The priest doesn’t seem to care for either one of us.
The other day I was talking with one of the Wheaties. We agreed that we’re not very happy being what we are. And we both had a chance to be something else. I could have become wine, but turned it down. The flake could have become bread, but he turned it down. We would have had to be crushed, and it didn’t seem worth it. But now, I’m not so sure. People celebrate with bread and wine . . . not with raisins and Wheaties. I heard the priest talking to someone in the kitchen about how even in worship people celebrate with bread and wine. But it’s only out of something being crushed that these things arise.
The priest and the other person talked about someone named Jesus. It seems this Jesus suffered a lot for other people. He was crushed under the weight of their sins, they said. (Like wheat and grapes, I thought.) That’s why we celebrate, they went on. We celebrate the fact that Jesus saved us by being crushed for us. We celebrate with bread and wine.
I wonder if people appreciate how much Jesus did for them. The two people went on talking about how being crushed meant dying to oneself and giving oneself to others, being nourishment for others. They said that many people are afraid to do that, but that people had to die to themselves in order to follow Jesus. They too, had to be crushed. I thought, each person is kind of like a grape or a grain of wheat then. Like me. (Well, like I was.) And it takes a lot of wheat and grapes to make bread and wine.
They went on saying that when people don’t give themselves for others, don’t become the living Body and Blood of Christ in the world, then they have to repent. I suppose if I were a person, I’d have to repent. I was afraid to become wine, something with which people could celebrate. I didn’t know what I was doing then. Perhaps people don’t know what they’re doing. I wish I had another chance. People do.
What aspect of the Eucharist most appeals to you?