Our Diocese has proclaimed a yearlong celebration of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. This dedicated time concludes appropriately on Corpus Christi, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, which this year falls on Sunday, June 19.
What a blessing that we have been given; what an honor to hold salvation in our hands each week!
Jesus generously gives us this gift of Himself to us with the promise that whoever eats this Bread will live forever.
This obviously is not ordinary bread that we’re talking about: this is not Stroehman’s white or Arnold’s 12-grain wheat or ATV Italian bread, which actually makes great French toast. Imagine using Italian bread to make French toast.
But rather, this is the Bread that has come down from Heaven to spiritually feed us on Earth. This is Jesus, the Bread of Life, and it comes with a lifetime guarantee: the pledge of everlasting glory.
Christ sacrificed His life so that we can live with the simple instruction to eat the Bread that has been consecrated in remembrance of His great sacrifice on the Cross. He said, “Take this all of you and eat of it. This is My Body which will be given up for you.”
Jesus said this at the Last Supper where he anticipates His Death, His giving over and His giving up of His total self on Calvary the next day, Good Friday. And He did this all out of love for us so that we can live. His great act of love, of sacrifice, secured for us eternal redemption.
The Eucharist was a decisive moment in the formation of the Church, for its foundation and its conception is the three sacred days of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and these are forever consecrated in the Eucharist. As this most holy of sacraments makes present Jesus’ Paschal Mystery of the Triduum (these three sacred days) we are brought into communion with Him.
The Eucharist, Jesus’ Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, is all about Life. The Church draws her life through a real and connective contact with this redeeming sacrifice. The Eucharist is the source and summit of everything we do at our parishes, and it needs to be the same for each one of the members of His Body, the Church. As the Holy Eucharist flows throughout us, it brings us life.
Everything we do should flow from the richness of the Body of Christ, for without it we have no life – no life as a Church, no life as a community, no life as a family and no life as individuals. It is our Lord, who is so fully present in this Most Blessed Sacrament, that brings us together, unites us as one, around His holy table to bring us life. And with the Eucharist we flourish!
The power of this life-giving gift of Jesus in the Eucharist cannot be underestimated, and the opportunities to receive our Lord, our King, our Savior, cannot be taken for granted. There is nothing greater that we can do – there is nothing better that we can do as Catholics – than to partake in this sacred meal at Holy Mass.
The Eucharistic Banquet sustains us in this world by making us more like Christ and helping us grow in faith and holiness, therefore preparing us to join our Lord in the great eternal Banquet Feast in the heavenly kingdom. So why would we want to miss one opportunity to participate in this sanctifying dinner featuring an appetizer of God’s Word and the Bread of Life as our entrée?
Jesus puts it quite plainly and simply, “Whoever eats this Bread will live forever.” This is Christ’s teaching and it is His promise! I for one can’t wait for dessert!
By Father Thomas Bortz, pastor of St. Ignatius Loyola, Sinking Spring and Pastor of St. Francis de Sales Parish, Robesonia.