In June (19th this year, but celebrated on the 22nd) one of my favorite feast days is celebrated… The Feast of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of Christ!! This year it will be especially inspiring, because my son’s girlfriend will complete her conversion process, be Confirmed and receive her First Eucharist in the Catholic Church. Interestingly, my youngest son also received his First Communion, years ago, on this Feast day.
The Eucharist is the center of the Mass and our Catholic Faith, and yet so many people in the pews do not truly understand it. Some studies show that as many as 70% of Catholics misunderstand this teaching and feel that the Eucharist is just a symbol. This Feast day reiterates the Church’s teaching that at the Consecration, the bread and wine become the actual Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
It has been so exciting for me to teach my son’s girlfriend, Molly, about the Eucharist. It is easy, even for devout Catholics, or cradle Catholics, to develop an attitude of familiarity when we are in the presence of The Lord in this Sacrament. I sometimes realize that my mind is wandering during the Consecration, or as I approach the Altar to receive my Lord. Watching Molly’s awe and excitement has breathed new life into my own excitement knowing that my King, my Lord, is present in this Sacrament.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which means ‘House of Bread.’
He was laid in a manger, or a feeding troth.
The Jews wiped the blood of the unblemished Lamb over their doors during the Passover, then consumed the lamb.
The Israelites were given Mana, bread from heaven, when they were in the desert.
Jesus is the ‘Bread of Life’ and the ‘Unblemished Lamb of God’ who must be consumed.
When this teaching is concluded, John 6:66 states that many couldn’t accept it, so they left. When we ignore, minimize or change this teaching, are we then leaving too?
When we look at the early church fathers, even to Scripture in the Acts of the Apostles, we are shown time and time again that the early Church did not think this was a symbol. They believed in the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We should not make the Lord’s heart ache, as he looks to us and says once again, “Do you also want to leave?” Let us mimic Peter’s response, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)
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