The Happy Priest - God is With Us: The Gift of the Holy Eucharist
The Eucharist is the most visible miracle known to the human person
"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" (John 6: 51).
Once again, let us review something that is so fundamental: at every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we participate in a marvelous miracle, the miracle called Transubstantiation. Transubstantiation means "change of substance," or "change of reality." When the priest repeats the words that Jesus spoke at the Last Supper, the bread is no longer bread, and the wine is no longer wine. Instead, the entire substance of the bread and the entire substance of the wine have been changed into the substance of The Body and Blood of Christ.
Transubstantiation occurs only by the power of God, and in a way that we cannot empirically detect. We know that transubstantiation takes place through the certainty of faith. Jesus, the Son of God; Jesus the Messiah; Jesus the Lord and Savior of the universe said: "This is my body;" "This is my blood."
Faith is a vision superior to reason, but it does not contradict reason, precisely because faith relies upon the authority of God who does not deceive, nor can be deceived. Jesus is the truth and thus is incapable of lying.
When we consider the sixth chapter of John's Gospel, we are faced with a dilemma. As C.S. Lewis put it so clearly, either Jesus is a liar, a lunatic, or he is who he says that he is: the one true God.
"The Jews murmured about Jesus because he said, 'I am the bread that came down from heaven', and they said, 'Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? Then how can he say, 'I have come down from heaven'?" (John 6: 41-42).
The crowd could not grasp and accept Jesus' teaching on the Eucharist because of their lack of faith. They could not see Jesus for who he really is.
In our modern times it is commonly understood that among Catholics there is an alarming loss of faith in the Real Presence.
This massive loss of faith is expressed in the loss of reverence in our parishes. Sloppy dress, loud talking in church, cell phones going off, lack of Sunday attendance at Mass, and few people going to Confession, are all signs of a terrible loss of faith in something so fundamental to Catholicism.
What is the cause of this disturbing apostasy?
Every Sunday during the Profession of Faith, we affirm our belief in eternal life. "We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come."
Do we really believe this?
How many times do we ever hear convincing homilies about the eschatological teachings of the Catholic Church?
Rather than being an affirmation of the realities of eternity, many funeral homilies tend to be a humanistic celebration of the person who has died.
In our modern day culture we are continually bombarded by secularism and we need to be continually reminded of the most basic fundamentals of our Catholic Faith
"Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life" (John 6: 47).
God and eternity are not things that are distant from us. When we truly believe, we already participate in eternity.
"Life shared with God, eternal life within temporal life, is possible because of God living with us: Christ is God being here with us. In him God has time for us; he is God's time for us and thus at the same time the opening of time into eternity. God is no longer the distant and indeterminate God to whom no bridge will reach; he is the God at hand: the Body of the Son is the bridge for our souls" (Joseph Ratzinger, God is Near Us, 144).
Close to the tabernacle a candle burns brightly as a permanent reminder that God is with us. God is truly present and he reveals himself to all those who believe.
What is it that keeps us from really believing in eternal life?
If our sight is set on the things of this world alone, we will eventually no longer seek the world to come. The loss of seeking eternity is rooted in our loss of faith in God.
The only way that we can truly believe in the Real Presence is if we truly believe: believe that God is alive and ...
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