| By Father Dwight Ezop

The Blessing of Bringing Jesus to the Sick and Homebound

If you ask most newly ordained priests what they are most eagerly anticipating about their priestly ministry, virtually all of them will talk about saying Mass and being the means through which the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. The same was certainly true for me, and is still the core of my priesthood.

What I had anticipated less was the deep joy I would experience in the ministry of bringing Communion to those who are hospitalized or who are unable to leave their homes. From my earliest visits to Hillside Terrace, an assisted living facility in Ann Arbor, I saw the power of Christ working in people’s lives through the Eucharist.

What I have discovered is that most often all I have to do is show up. Jesus will take it from there. Simply by greeting someone and offering to pray with them, Jesus enters the room and makes his way into the situation faced by the one who is homebound or hospi-talized. Tracing the sign of the cross on a person’s forehead or raising a hand in blessing can break through a sense of loneliness and isolation, and remind them that they are part of the family of God, his Church.

Being able to bring Christ and his family into people’s lives has been a true gift of my priestly life, and the good news is that this ministry is not confined to the ordained alone. I have talked with many lay extraordinary ministers of holy Communion who have described the same sense of holiness, connection and gratitude they have experienced when bringing Communion to the sick or homebound. They experience more blessing than they receive, simply by carrying Jesus in the Eucharist to those who cannot be with their parish family at Mass.

This is a ministry that is open to all of us; everyone is called by Christ to visit the sick and to pray for them. If you are willing to give of your time, and to be the Lord’s hands and voice to our brothers and sisters who are ill, then I’d ask you to prayerfully consider this beautiful ministry. You just need to show up — Jesus can take it from there.

And so, our journey in FAITH continues.

Father Dwight Ezop is the editor-in-chief of FAITH Magazine and pastor of St. Mary Parish, Charlotte and St. Ann Church, Bellevue.