The Living Christ

In October of 1995, Pope John Paul II was on a trip to the United States. As part of his visit he was scheduled to meet with the faculty and seminarians at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. His plan was to first make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament in the seminary chapel. Prior to the Pope’s arrival, a group of security teams made a sweep of the campus using dogs trained to detect anyone who might have hidden themselves in the area. These dogs and their handlers made their way down hallways and through offices and classrooms as they searched every nook and cranny.  Lastly, they began their search of the chapel. The dogs and officers looked down every aisle and through every pew. Finally they went into the side chapel where the Eucharist was reserved. When the dogs got to the Tabernacle they whined and sat down, staring at it. This was their signal to the officers that they’d found a Person. They refused to leave, their eyes fixed on the Tabernacle. Their handlers had to remove the dogs. They’d done their job alright: they’d found a real living Person there in the chapel after all.

A real living Person IS present in the Holy Eucharist.  And yet this is something far too many Catholics don’t seem to recognize. The Eucharist is the Real Presence of Jesus Christ: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. On the night before He died to save us, Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper and told us to do the same “in remembrance of Me”(Luke 22:19).  I’m afraid many Catholics don’t know what our faith teaches us about the Eucharist. And what the Church teaches is exactly what Jesus taught His apostles. If you want to know what Jesus says, I’d encourage you to read the sixth chapter of St. John’s Gospel. You’ll hear him say: “I am the bread if life. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.”  In total Jesus tells us 12 times that He is the Bread that came down from heaven. He was born in Bethlehem which means “house of bread” and He was lain in a manger, where food was kept. Our Catechism teaches that the Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life”(paragraph 1324).  The source—from where our faith originates (Jesus) and the summit—where our faith leads us (Jesus).

We must know the truth of the Eucharist if we call ourselves Catholic. Read John chapter 6 again. Read the Catechism, especially paragraphs 1322-1419. Read some of the earliest Church fathers to see that, from the very beginning of the Church, the Eucharist has been understood to be the Body and Blood of Jesus. Men like St. Clement of Rome, St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Justin Martyr and St. Irenaeus of Lyons wrote extensively about the Real Presence in the first 200 years after Christ’s death and resurrection. So much of what we Catholics believe and how we worship God can only be understood through the lens of the Most Blessed Sacrament. His Presence is why we have Mass and not just pretty music and a sermon. He is why we genuflect when we come into church. He is why we kneel and bow. He is why we are reverent and quiet during Mass. His presence in the Eucharist is why we go to Adoration. The Eucharist is Jesus Himself, just as alive and just as present with us today as He was talking with His apostles or His Blessed Mother. We say we want to be with Him, to be in His presence and know His love and peace. This is what we do at Adoration. We sit with Him and open our hearts, telling Him everything. We adore Him. Jesus gives us the gift of faith to believe in His presence in the Eucharist. Ask Him for that faith and He’ll remove the scales from your eyes like he did for St. Paul (Acts 9:18).  You’ll know that your Savior lives, humbly hidden in a little piece if bread, waiting for you. And you’ll run to Him.

“When we look at the Cross, we know how much Jesus loved us then. When we look at the Tabernacle, we know how much Jesus loves us now.”
          —Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mary K Thompson
    Jun 08, 2015 @ 17:42:02

    I first heard this from our pastor on Corpus Christi Sunday. WONDERFUL !!! Everyone should hear this. Something the Media would never release…

    Reply

  2. Gloria Chiantella
    Apr 22, 2016 @ 03:30:09

    Has this been verified? Examined by the Catholic Church? I haven’t found it on any Catholic Publication, like the Catholic Review.

    Reply

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