"Be hospitable to one another without complaining. As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace. Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." —1 Peter 4:9-11
St. Peter's words to the Christian communities of Asia Minor are striking, indeed. Rooting the virtue of hospitality in the action of service, Peter uses an image for parish liturgical ministries: "stewards of God's varied graces!" How many of us ever stop to consider that what we do to enable the liturgical assembly to worship God is stewardship? How many of us stop to think that when we use our gifts in service to others, God is glorified? This should always be in the front of our minds as we serve. Every liturgical ministry is an exercise in hospitality: giving of ourselves — serving (without complaining!)—by using our gifts to help our brothers and sisters praise and worship God! In that, God is glorified.
Ministers of Holy Communion
The demands of hospitality for both the ordinary and extraordinary minister of Holy Communion needs to pay attention to both the sacrament and the communicant.
All actions should show care and reverence to the Blessed Sacrament. Avoid handing the vessels containing the sacrament to extraordinary ministers as if in an assembly line. With intention and purpose, the extraordinary minister should both receive the vessel and go to the designated spot for distribution.
Pay attention to the person receiving the sacrament. Eye contact is essential. The communicant comes forward, moved by the grace of God, to receive the bread of life and drink from the cup of salvation. This is indeed, a moment of which Saint Paul wrote — in this act, God is glorified. While slightly raising the consecrated bread or consecrated wine, look into the eyes of each communicant. Such eye contact recognizes the individual as a person God has summoned to "come, eat of (his) food, and drink of the wine (he has) mixed" (Proverbs 9:5).
Be conscious of peace. Avoid distributing the sacrament in a hurried or perfunctory manner. We have all experienced a minister who simply dispenses the sacrament, giving the invitation ("The Body of Christ" or "The Blood of Christ") without looking up, sometimes even while the communicant is still approaching the minister. Be slow and deliberate, with consciousness of this sacred, unifying moment.
For more information please contact Sr. Sandy at:
St. Rose of Lima Church
50 Short Hills Ave. Short Hills, NJ 07078