Today’s Gospel Reading at the Sunday Mass comes from Mark 14:12-16, 22-26:
While they were eating,
when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,
Jesus’ disciples said to him,
“Where do you want us to go
and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
He sent two of his disciples and said to them,
“Go into the city and a man will meet you,
carrying a jar of water.
Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house,
‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room
where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”‘
Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready.
Make the preparations for us there.”
The disciples then went off, entered the city,
and found it just as he had told them;
and they prepared the Passover.
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, gave it to them, and said,
“Take it; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,
and they all drank from it.
He said to them,
“This is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you,
I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine
until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.
While they were eating,
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ; and what a wonderful annual reminder this feast is to provoke us into remembering what we believe as Catholics; that the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is the actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. We believe that at the time of consecration during the Sacrifice of the Mass, what was previously wine and bread becomes the promise of Jesus Christ; that the wine becomes His actual Blood of the Covenant and Bread becomes His actual Body. This belief is distinctly different than what other Christians believe about ‘Communion’; which ranges from it being just a remembrance shared in grape juice distributed in little plastic cups and unsalted crackers, to it being consubstantial presence (Christ Jesus IN/WITH the Bread and Wine), rather than a transubstantial presence (Christ Jesus AS the Bread and Wine).
What we Catholics believe about the Corpus Christi as the Holy Eucharist is what Jesus literally recorded to have taught in each Gospel book, what Saint Paul actually taught in 1 Corinthians, and what the Fathers of the Church taught from the beginning. The most beautiful thing about our teaching on the Holy Eucharist is it’s consistency with sacred Scripture and fulfilled theology; all of which I talked about in three apologetic articles on the subject:
The hardest thing for me to come to grips with during my conversion to the Catholicism was belief in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. In fact it wasn’t until I read a book called Eucharistic Miracles, by Joan Carroll Cruz, which contains “over thirty five famous, amazing, historical miracles of the Eucharist: Hosts that have turned to visible flesh when consecrated, Hosts which have bled. Hosts which have become hard as stone upon being received by a person in mortal sin, Hosts which have levitated or manifested their hidden presence by mysterious lights, etc,” that I came to believe in the Real Presence. After reading about all of these well documented miracles I could no longer deny the power and grace of God in deigning to share His life with us in this way. To read about these Eucharistic Miracles online, just visit the website of the Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association.
To contrast the reality of the Presence of Christ Jesus as the Holy Eucharist, let me tell you about some things that are not real that I experienced one day this week at a pickle farm. First, I saw the very same batch of pickles, with the very same juices and herbs, being packed into at least ten different labeled jars. How’s that for comparison shopping? The next unreal thing was that after prolonged exposure to crushed red pepper seeds being used for Hot & Spicy pickles, I actually found myself hallucinating and seeing things that were not real. I’ve never smoked marijuana or done acid or any illegal drug, but if that is what it is like, I’ll continue to pass. I think I saw dead people. The last unreal thing I experienced came by the way of the young Amish girls who were packing the pickles. Heretofore, I thought that Amish women were some of the most quiet and virtuous creatures known to man. What I learned this day was that Amish women curse worse than sailors and seem quite content to yell and laugh at decibels that cause headaches. They might still be virtuous, but the jury is completely out on that now.
What the Catholic Church taught me about Holy Eucharist and Jesus Christ is that what I thought was unreal is actually real. What life in the world continues to teach me is that what I thought was real is actually unreal. In a world where there are so many parades for things that are not real and have no heavenly value, it’s good that the Catholic Church still holds fast to the tradition of parade for Corpus Christi.
“Lord God I pray that the Body and Blood of your Son Jesus,
that I receive the Holy Eucharist become fully part of me,
so that I might die to Christ and He live in me.
In Jesus’ name I pray.”
Scripture texts in this blog are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.