Receive the Holy Eucharist in purity!
Priests have been singing this song ever since I got so attentive in church. Yes; there was a time I did not have much interest in the church as much as I do today.
When I developed a special relationship with Christ, I understood why priests insist we need to purify ourselves before we receive the Holy Eucharist!
We seldom take these sentiments seriously.
My discovery of the relationship between the Holy Eucharist and the story of the Ark of the Covenant will help you treat the Holy Eucharist with extra caution.
Now, I’d like to capture this interesting story right from the Old Testament. Most of us Catholics understand the origin of the Holy Eucharist from the point when Jesus fed His disciples before His death.
So, what does the Old Testament say about the Holy Eucharist?
Holy Eucharist in the Old Testament
The Ark of the Covenant was about to fall. Out of goodwill, Uzzah thought it wise to protect it as indicated in this verse.
2 Samuel 6: 6-7; As they came to the threshing place of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out and took hold of the Covenant Box. At once, the LORD God became angry with Uzzah and killed him because of his irreverence.
Anyone would ask, “why did the Lord kill Uzzah?”
We would all feel obliged to rescue the Covenant Box anyway!
God killed Uzzah because of irreverence, and not because of his kind gesture to rescue the Covenant Box! Uzzah was probably not a good person, therefore, unworthy to touch the Covenant Box!
Did God expect Uzzah to let the Ark of the Covenant fall?
Of course not!
God wanted to display the purity He expects in anyone who touches the Covenant Box. The tripping of the cart is insignificant.
The story of Joshua leading the Israelites across the red sea implies the sacredness of the Ark of the Covenant.
Ark of the Covenant across the Jordan
What is a covenant?
A covenant is like a lease agreement between two or more parties. God instructed Moses to make The Covenant Box otherwise known as the Ark of the Covenant and gave him particular specifications. The lid of the Covenant Box captures my attention when God instructs Moses to make two winged creatures on it, facing each other across the lid. God then told Moses to put the two stone tablets in the Covenant Box. The two stone tablets contained the Ten Commandments. The statement that astonishes me most is this verse!
Exodus 25: 22; I will meet you there, and from above the lid between the two winged creatures I will give you all my laws for the people of Israel.
Considering the lid was made of pure gold and the Covenant Box was made with state-of-the-art material, it goes without saying that the Covenant Box was highly honored. God sat right on the golden lid as He gave Moses laws for the Israelites! The Ark of the Covenant is widely spoken about in the Old Testament. A lot transpired until such a time when the Covenant Box disappeared. However, our focus is not on its history but its significance.
Then came the time of Joshua, who took over Moses when the Israelites had completed their stay in the wilderness! The Covenant Box played a significant role in the successful crossing of the river Jordan by the Israelites.
Here is a similar perspective of the Ark of the Covenant.
You cannot pull yourself off the wilderness hook without God! Joshua and the Israelites camped at the Jordan for three days waiting to cross over, and these were the instructions!
Joshua 3: 2-5; Three days later the leaders went through the camp and said to the people “When you see the priests carrying the Covenant Box of the LORD your God, break camp and follow them. You have never been here before, so they will show you the way to go. But do not get near the Covenant Box; stay about a kilometer behind it.” Joshua said to the people, purify yourselves because tomorrow the LORD will perform miracles among you.”
People are fond of brushing off the Old Testament, yet it is the origin of everything that we do in the church today. The kind of dishonor that sometimes takes place in the church is due to a partial understanding of the worth of the Holy Eucharist, altar, and the church as a whole. As it is now, Jesus replaced the Covenant Box when He gave up His life on the cross.
A critical analysis of Uzzah’s death, and the instructions to stay a kilometre behind the covenant Box
Uzzah was not worthy to touch the Covenant box.
Joshua instructed the Israelites to purify themselves before the journey across the Jordan began. In spite of the Israelites heeding to Joshua’s call, God asked them to stay a kilometer behind the Covenant Box.
What do we get from this narration?
The Ark of the Covenant contained the Ten Commandments. God sat on the lid of it while blessing His people. God’s power emanated from the Covenant Box to the people.
Today, the Lord’s invisible capability reaches us through the Holy Eucharist, at the altar, during mass. It doesn’t mean God does not bless us when we are not in church. This is in reference to the Covenant Box regarding this topic.
Uzzah died because he touched the covenant box yet he was impure. God used Uzzah’s death to demonstrate what He feels when we receive the Holy Eucharist without caring to purify ourselves.
God gets annoyed.
And do you know what happens?
We don’t die like Uzzah. Something we may not figure out dies in us.
What if we keep receiving the Holy Eucharist without going for confession? Many deaths take place in us. We open doors for regression. Our lives tend to move backward or stagnate. The efforts we put in to make our lives better hardly bear fruit. We keep asking where we went wrong and never get an answer.
So, what should we do?
It’s better not to receive the Holy Eucharist than to receive the Holy Eucharist while harboring sin.
Confession is a purification process that lasts a few minutes but saves a lifetime. Practice makes perfect. When you get used to confessing, it soon becomes normal.