COMMUNION (Translation of “La Comunión” by Eduardo Galeano)
As dawn broke everyone was out of bed at the sound of the bugle. No one in the entire barracks had slept a wink. The prisoners had been ordered to stand at attention well into the wee hours of the morning, after enduring another grueling day of beatings and threats of facing the firing squad. Rumors had spread of their imminent extermination.
Suddenly, a prisoner who had recently been brought in from Montevideo, and who had not yet lost track of the days, reported: “Today is Easter Sunday!” The Christians among them began to spread the word. It became clear to them that this called for a celebration! But meetings among the prisoners were absolutely forbidden. Gathering together, whatever the reason might be, was out of the question. The prisoners had learned from bitter experience that this prohibition dare not be taken lightly. But this time they just had to do it. The rest of the prisoners, those who did not profess Christianity, offered their help. A few of them sat perched on their bunks facing the barred door, just to keep watch. Others formed a circle of men milling aimlessly around the participants, all but hiding them from view. It was inside this circle that communion was celebrated.
Miguel Brun murmured some words in an undertone. He recalled the resurrection of Jesus, a sure sign of God’s ultimate purpose for the release of all captives. Jesus had been persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and finally murdered. But on a Sunday morning, just like this one, he had cracked the walls and rolled back the stone so that every prisoner might be freed.
But in the barracks there was nothing. There was no bread, no wine, not even a glass. So it became a communion of empty hands! Miguel extended his hand to the man next to him. “Let us eat,” he whispered, “This is his body.” The Christians in the group all moved their hands to their mouths and ate the invisible bread. “Let us drink. This is his blood.” And they all raised the nonexistent cup and drank of the invisible wine.
And then, … they all embraced one another.
Submitted by John Driver