By Lynda MacFarland
I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever;
and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh. ~ John 6:51
My graduate thesis centered on the factors within the Church that caused the decline or increase in the practice of Eucharistic Adoration over the last 70 years. On this Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus, I would like us to contemplate this unique aspect of our faith that, just as when Jesus addressed the topic, causes many to turn away.
We hear the Eternal Word speak. And nothing is ever the same. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed” (John 6:53-55). John recounts that as a result of Jesus’ words, many walked away.
Always a Challenge
This challenge from Jesus remains for the faithful today. Later in this same Gospel, Jesus says to Thomas, ”Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe” (John 20:29). That includes you and me! And countless others who have come before us and shared this knowledge with us so that we might know and believe in what the Eucharist is. Not a symbol, not shared during a nice occasional communal meal of remembrance. We consume the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus returns to this reality in the Last Supper account, what we know as the institution of the Eucharist. Like a Passover meal, it relives the past. And like the Passover meal, it anticipates what is to come. “This is my Body, given for you; do this in memory of me,” and then, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you,” we read in Luke’s Gospel account (Luke 22). Jesus will give His life for us, redeem us, and save us so that we may share in Eternal Life with God.
Tell It to the World
And so today we celebrate this Precious Gift, born of the Father’s love for the world, with this Solemnity. According to my thesis research, one of the chief reasons for the lack of participation in Eucharistic adoration was due to a lack of understanding of what the Eucharist actually is. It’s our job, as people who know, to share that with others! In John’s First Letter, he begins with the words, “What was from the beginning, we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life.” And we too see Jesus and touch Him when we take the precious Eucharist into our hand to receive. Tell it to your children. Tell it to the world. How will anyone know if we do not proclaim?
Dear Jesus, thank You for Your Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. “May my life be my thanksgiving prayer to You.” Amen. (Excerpt adapted from the Monks of Adoration chaplet)
Call to Action
Consider how you could proclaim Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist to others? If you participate in a Eucharistic procession today, say a prayer for those who do not yet know or believe in this important truth of the Catholic faith.
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Oh how thankful I am that you wrote this!! The Eucharist is the most valuable and precious if all the gifts in our Catholic faith! So many do not know, do not believe and do not receive the graces Our Lied wishes to bestow upon us in Holy Communion.
Beautifully state. Share this with family, friends and the world.
Once again you hit the proverbial nail right on the head, Lynda! Thank you for this beautiful commentary on the Eucharist as the precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ! Blessings, blessings, blessings! Chris