Little Rock Scripture Connections Newsletter
March 2021
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Wait for One Another: Eucharist in a Time of Pandemic

by Fr. Joshua J. Whitfield

This time of pandemic invites us to reflect upon the fact that in the Eucharist we desire not just Christ but each other. 

For most of us, Mass has been different lately, to say the least. Awkward, sanitized, masked, careful, or virtual—comforting and uncomfortable—a religious experience of mixed emotions. Mass this past year, in whatever form we have experienced it, has offered moments of pure gratitude and solace but also sometimes sadness. We should just be honest about that; it’s not unfaithful to acknowledge the strangeness of it all.

How do we make sense of this strange, sometimes strained, religious experience? Can Scripture help us? Through Scripture, can we hope, pray, and work our way through our experience of celebrating (or not celebrating) the Eucharist during this pandemic?

I think so. I have been comforted by Paul, especially his words to the Corinthians. Although for quite different reasons, the Eucharist celebrated at Corinth was strange too. You see, the Corinthians had difficulty gathering as well—not because of a pandemic—but because they had let their social divisions disfigure their celebration. At Corinth, rich members of the community ate before poor members. They began the Eucharist without them. For Paul, this was antithetical to any celebration of the Eucharist, and it’s why he told them to “wait for one another” (1 Cor. 11:33). To celebrate the Eucharist without the other members of the body present was to contradict what the Eucharist must always signify: the unity of the ecclesial body. Paul’s constant message to the Corinthians was that “there should be no divisions among you” (1 Cor 1:10), a message that applied to the celebration of the Eucharist as much as anything else.

How do Paul’s words help us reflect upon our own experience? Paul reminds us that the Eucharist is never an individual affair; rather, the Eucharist is communion, with God and with each other. Just as Paul exhorted the Corinthians to “wait for one another,” so, in a sense, should we. Undoubtedly, our circumstances are different. Most of us do not belong to small house churches but to large parishes. Waiting for one another isn’t as easy as it was in Corinth! Yet, the ecclesial reality and goal of the Eucharist remains the same. For us too there should be “no divisions.”

This time of pandemic invites us to reflect upon the fact that in the Eucharist we desire not just Christ but each other. For those who are physically at Mass, there is the emptiness of every other pew. For those who are at home, Sunday morning looks and feels different than it did before. The pain we feel here is ecclesial; it hurts not to worship with others.

And, of course, it’s not just the pandemic that causes this pain. Racial injustice and division, economic injustice, politicized polarization: these too cause us to feel the pain of a divided ecclesial body, even at the Eucharist. In a way, we are little different than Corinth. We too, in many ways, must learn again to “wait for one another.”

For now, this pain we feel can be turned into prayer and action. We can still reach out to each other, expressing our unity—our communion—in other ways, until we can all gather again at our parish altars. We can wait for one another in prayer and spirit, desiring the Eucharist together, until the Lord comes again (1 Cor 11:26).


whitfieldJoshua J. Whitfield is a priest of the Diocese of Dallas. Whitfield is a contributor to the Dallas Morning News and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2016. He is the author of Eucharist, Bread of Life (Little Rock Scripture Study) and The Crisis of Bad Preaching (Ave Maria Press).


Order Fr. Josh's new book on the Eucharist!
Great for individual reflection or small group faith-sharing. 

Eucharist, Bread of Life

Fr. Josh writes, "I was thrilled to contribute to the Alive in the Word series from Little Rock Scripture Study, and honored to write on the Eucharist. I wanted to share some passages from the Bible that helped me fall in love with the Eucharist, that were meaningful for my own faith journey. Exploring the book of Exodus, I learned how our covenanting God fed his people in the desert and how in that meal some even saw God. In John's Gospel, I learned how the bread Jesus offers is really his flesh, given to us for life and eternal life. And in 1 Corinthians, I learned what it means to celebrate the Eucharist as the church, as brothers and sisters willing to 'wait for one another,' loving each other, caring for each other, and worshipping in unity. These passages have spoken to me so often in my walk with Christ, and so I wanted to share them with you. I hope this small study helps you deepen your love for the Eucharist. That's why I wrote it: to share that eucharistic joy that is now so central to my life as a believer.

Read more on Fr. Josh's website.
Order Eucharist, Bread of Life at


Perfect for Holy Week: Plan a Day of Reflection at Home

Lenten Day of Reflection

Let us help you plan a simple day of reflection in the quiet of your own home—retreat alone or gather a group on Zoom! We have free resources that can help—a sample schedule, opening and closing prayers, and retreat tips—on our Alive in the Word retreat planning website. We have twenty-five Alive in the Word topics to choose from, including Lent, Eucharist, and Hope! One book per participant will offer you plenty of material for reflection, prayer, and discussion. Enjoy FREE SHIPPING until March 31! Use code MARCHIND at checkout.


Keep Calm and Zoom On

LRSS North Carolina group_2

This LRSS group from North Carolina is enjoying their fifth online Bible study! They are studying The Passion and Resurrection Narratives of Jesus for Lent and Easter. "We are so used to it," their facilitator Ed Beckley writes, "that it works almost as well as being in person." And he adds, "We love our Little Rock!" Well . . . we love you, too! Carry on!

Perks of Ponder

Ponder: Contemplative Bible Study

If you facilitate regular fall and spring Bible study, why not offer Ponder sessions in between for those who wish to participate? These sessions can focus on praying, reading, and discussing the Sunday Scriptures. Ponder is a worthwhile year-round investment for every Bible study participant that wants to better understand the Sunday readings. Bulk pricing on 5+ copies! To learn more, visit 


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