Here in our parish in Kabala, the Holy Martyrs of Uganda, the majority of our outstations are in the Limba towns and villages. The Limbas here are called Wara-wara Yagala Limba, where there is a slight difference in their dialects compared to other Limba communities.
I have found out that the term “Holy Eucharist” has no corresponding term and concepts in their tradition. When I taught Catechumenate classes especially the elderly, I found it difficult to explain to them this sacrament in a way by which they could grasp the exact meaning of it.
However, when I say “Body and Blood of Jesus”, they nod their head in seeming understanding. Because they have a very clear concept that Jesus was nailed on the cross and died. Consequently, they have composed many Limba songs about the suffering and death of Jesus. To use this concept and explain to them the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in this way, is a bit easy. And they have a corresponding terms and concepts like “kɔtɔ” (body) and “marɛng” (blood).
Another significant concept that they can easily visualize is “sacrifice”. They called it “sara”. To say the offering of Jesus body for the sins of the people, is understandable. It is also because in their Limba tradition sara is always part of it.
One concept that we pastoral agents should teach them well is the clear difference of the un-consecrated host that becomes the real body of Christ and the un-consecrated wine that becomes the real blood of Christ during the Mass. The majority of our people cannot distinguished this. For them, consecrated or not consecrated are just the same. More so, they take communion because of the right that the person baptized and married has in the church. Moreover, to let them understand the deep connection, communion, relationship of the Holy Eucharist into their daily lives. That this body and blood become a transforming presence of Christ.
Another challenge is the procession of the Holy Communion taken out from the Tabernacle with incense. It looks that people have not understood well this solemn ceremony. They just think that the Priest is just doing a show. Practical catechesis more than preaching is highly needed.
As a Priest and missionary engaging with the Limba tradition, I asked myself this question; how could I and the people that celebrate the Holy Mass every Sunday make it more attractive and effective? How to make sure that the procession of the Body and Blood of Christ inside the ciborium or be it in the monstrance is not just mere outward appearance but an inner conversion of us?.
But Jesus’s words in the Gospel when he said, “Take it, this is my body….This my blood”. is more fascinating. This is “real”. It shakes us. It is the greatest stuff that we can offer our life to Him. This is the true sacrifice that Jesus offered for you and me. We embody the victorious suffering of Christ. I would like to share this sequence that helps our reflection on this Solemnity of Corpus Domini.
Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ save me. Water from the side of Christ, wash me. Passion of Christ, give me strength. Hear me Jesus, hide me in your wounds that I may never leave your side. From all the evil that surrounds me, defend me. And when the call of death arrives, bid me come to you. That I may praise You with your saints forever.