Monday, February 7, 2011

Defender of the Eucharist

He didn't wear a cape. He didn't draw a crowd or look for applause. He had on a green sweater but a sword and shield would not have looked out of place in his hand. He is a hero and a defender of the Eucharist.

It was easy to tell that the couple sitting just a few rows from me at Sunday evening Mass at the Cathedral weren't Catholic. The woman didn't participate at all, in fact, she seemed in a daze. The man tried to follow along, but there was just something a little off. Something that just felt wrong. I thought briefly about the New Year's day car bomb outside a Christian church in Egypt and that we might become martyrs. When it came time for communion, they stayed back in the pew. There was some discussion between them, the man obviously trying to convince the woman to take the Eucharist. She remained in the pew. He went to receive. He took the Eucharist - the body of Christ - in his hand but didn't consume it. He clenched it in his hand after looking at it for a few seconds. He returned to his seat briefly. He motioned to the woman that they should leave; he was still clenching the Eucharist in his hand. They quickly got up and headed for the door. I was stuck at the opposite end of my pew with the communion line to my immediate left. I could never make it to them before they reached the street.

Just as I was despairing of my inability to do anything I saw him. The man in the green sweater quietly but quickly went after the pair. He retrieved the Eucharist. He is a hero in the truest sense of the word.