Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Holy Eucharist

This is the greatest of the sacraments because it is Jesus Christ Himself, his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. It is the "source and summit of the Christian life. (Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium, no. 11). Jesus said:
Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever. (The Gospel of John)
This was no symbolic statement. Our Lord literally meant that we must actually eat his Flesh and drink his Blood in order to have eternal life. A further reading of John 6 shows that many in the crowd could not reckon with Jesus' teaching. "Then many of his disciples who were listening said, "This saying is hard; who can accept it?" (v. 60). and "As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him." (v. 66).

Our Lord could not change the truth in order to prevent these disciples from leaving his company.

At the Last Supper, Jesus showed us how we would be able to consume Him. He changed the bread and wine into his Body and Blood. When He told his Apostles to "do this in memory of Me," He was saying that this sacred Meal should be celebrated often. Thus, we have the holy Mass. So, those baptized into the Catholic faith can eat his Body and drink his Blood not only once or on special occasions in one's lifetime, but daily. As a matter of fact, the Church encourages frequent Communion. If possible, it is a worthwhile practice to go to Mass not only on Sundays and holy days of obligation but also every day. Just think what happens: we are actually participating in the same Sacrifice that took place on Mount Calvary and we can receive into our bodies, our hearts and our souls Jesus Himself. The ultimate union!

Next week, I wil continue on the Holy Eucharist.

Father Stanley