The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ: A Love Which Goes 'To the End'
Enraptured by the wondrous mystery of Eucharist, our hearts are set afire: it is the infinitely powerful God of the universe who, in an incomprehensible display of love and tenderness, pours himself into millions of the faithful around the world! He enters us, transforms us, and washes away our sins that, one day, he may bear us off in his divine arms and gently place us upon an eternal meadow of Love
Pope Benedict XVI displays the Blessed Sacrament: The true Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But the crowd misunderstood Jesus, and asked, "What can we do to accomplish the works of God?" Jesus said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent." They then demanded a sign that they should believe in Jesus; and again they spoke about bread to eat. On hearing Jesus say that the "bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world," those present expressed their craving for such wonderful bread: "Sir, give us this bread always" (see 6:28-34).
Jesus then proceeds to articulate the sublime and heavenly wonders of the "bread" of which he is speaking: "I am the bread of life," and "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." Yet as a result of hearing Jesus proclaim, "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," many of his "disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him" (see 6:35-66).
There were others, however, who understood Christ within the warmth of divine light; illumined by Truth, called by the Father from Whom all life originates, they stayed the course. These were the disciples present at the Last Supper, when Jesus of Nazareth took the bread into his hands, "said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me'" (Lk 22:19). At that moment something incomprehensible took place: an event of immense and incalculable proportions; one in which millions upon millions of Catholics from then until now and on into the future participate, share, and love. Our Lord and Savior instituted the Eucharist, in which he pours forth his most precious body and blood under the signs of bread and wine in order to give us eternal, everlasting life. Who can find words for this Love?
A Gift More Precious Than Our Own Earthly Life
With the many distractions of our modern culture, the buzz of media and demands of the workplace, it is all too easy to begin to adopt a somewhat indifferent attitude toward the sacred gift of Eucharist. It is often as if we are asleep. We are not awake to reality; not fully aware of the immense gravity of the unfathomable graces God has freely given us in Eucharist. We go along on our way each day, and there in the Tabernacles around the world is Christ's body and blood, our Savior who patiently waits for us to notice him, love him, and adore him; yet he so often waits alone and unnoticed.
We are sinners who deserve nothing from Christ; for we are certainly undeserving of this action of God's Son in which he took on flesh and suffered a most cruel Passion and Death. Yet God has done this for us: he has poured out his life blood on the Cross, and he continues to give us his flesh to eat and his blood to drink. Why? Should we contemplate this Love for a thousand lifetimes and beyond, it would continue to escape us.
Yet there are many examples in history where we find a profound understanding of this Love which is Christ truly present in Eucharist. For instance, in the early Church, as today, there were Christians who were unable to attend Mass and receive the precious body and blood of our Lord. Thus it was necessary to bring the sacred Host to the sick and to prisoners. Yet there often existed great danger for those deacons who were given such a sacred task. As a result, rather than allow the faithful to go without this most precious nourishment for the soul, children were permitted to bring Eucharist to those in need.
Tarcisius was such a child: a little boy who, after fervently participating in the holy sacrifice of Mass, carefully hurried forth to bring Eucharist to those who so thirsted for eternal life. With love and adoration, he placed the body and blood of his Lord into a leather pouch, and danced off on his little legs, bound on a divine mission of love. One could easily sense the child's dedication and purpose in the light, vibrant radiance of his stride. Yet along the way he was met by Christian persecutors who cruelly beat him to death. With a fierce dedication born by the knowledge of the reality of Eucharist, this precious child held tightly to the leather pouch which contained the Love of loves ...
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