Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
This Sunday the Church celebrates the Feast of Corpus Christi (Body of Christ). This feast has special meaning for me because it is through receiving the Eucharist “by accident” that I joined the Catholic Church. It is through spending time in Eucharistic adoration that I heard the call to be a priest. And the first Mass I celebrated as a priest was on this feast of Corpus Christi in 2002. The Eucharist has played a central role in my life.
The source and summit of our faith is the Eucharist – Jesus is truly present to us – body, blood, soul and divinity – in the Eucharist that is consecrated during the Mass. This was instituted at the Last Supper when Jesus took the bread, broke it and gave it to the disciples saying, “This is my that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Then he took the cup filled with wine, gave it to the disciples and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
Now it is hard to understand how we could actually eat and drink the body and blood of Christ. The early followers of Jesus thought it was difficult to understand too. Read John 6 and you will see how many people left Jesus because they thought He was talking about cannibalism. And Jesus let them walk away, knowing that their faith could not support such a teaching. Jesus did not say, “I’m just speaking symbolically or metaphorically. Come back. I was kidding.” No He let them walk away. And He looked at the remaining 12 and said, “Will you leave me too?” Peter speaks up for all of them and says, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have the words of everlasting life.”
The Eucharist is one of the ways Jesus is able to be immanently close to us. Christians have gathered to read the Word of God and celebrate the Eucharist from the time of Christ and we continue today.
I have had many wonderful and mystical experiences with the Eucharist as have thousands of Catholics before and after me. I know it may be difficult to understand. But Jesus fed 5000 people with a few loaves and fish. Is it not possible for Jesus to nourish us with His flesh and blood under the appearance of bread and wine? With God all things are possible.
Do I believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist?
Do I nourish my soul with the Eucharist on a weekly or daily basis?
May our eyes be opened to the wonder and beauty of God’s intimate love for us in the Eucharist.