"The Body of Christ."
"El cuerpo de Christo."
Over and over again. Always the quick glance at face and nametag. Was he sitting at the table where the men were speaking Spanish? Was he greeting friends from the county by punching knuckles? It is a swift assessment.
I sometimes give communion to the Native American and say, "El cuerpo de Christo." He doesn't seem to mind. The Cambodian looks puzzled.
The same glance has to register if the hands are open, palm up, or if the hands are folded, is the mouth open? Open wide? Or will I be feeding the parking meter again?
I notice the hands, all shades of pink and brown, callused, smooth, missing a tip or an entire finger, scarred by burns. I notice the tongues--no, I notice the teeth more than the tongues. Are there teeth? Missing front ones? The meth users are easy to spot.
Some of the communicants look me in the eye. Some respond, "Amen." More of them say, "Thank you." Every few weeks I give them the "YOU are the Body of Christ" speech. They almost believe me. St. Teresa of Avila's insight about Christ having "no body now on earth but yours" comes in handy.
It is a simple moment, feeding the hungry, visiting those in prison.
Next week we'll celebrate a First Communion. Won't that be something?