Tuesday, May 27, 2008


If you are like me, you may be related to someone, know someone, or have heard of someone who was Catholic, but no longer attends a Catholic church. Perhaps they’ve moved on to mainstream Protestantism (Baptist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist) or even to some of the other more Fundamentalist, or Non-denominational Christian churches.

If we ask these persons why they left, we often get the usual answers, “I don’t get anything out of Mass” (did you put anything in?), or “I really enjoy the music and enthusiasm of my new church”, or “It doesn’t really matter where I go, they’re pretty much all the same.”

I can’t help but wonder, as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, if perhaps the real underlying reason is that they just don’t get it. They don’t understand, or don’t believe, that Jesus Christ is TRULY PRESENT in the Eucharist. This is central to our Catholic faith. It is what separates us from our Christian brethren. It is what we, as Catholics know, through our eyes of faith, and in our hearts, know to be true.

And why is it so difficult to believe? Don’t we believe, all of us who call ourselves Christians, that Jesus Christ was crucified, died and was buried. And don’t we all believe that He rose again from the dead and ascended into heaven? If we believe that He was able to do that, then why is it so difficult to believe that He can’t change bread and wine into His Body and Blood?

In our Gospel reading today (John 6:51 – 58) Jesus speaks very clearly about Him being the “living bread that came down from heaven”, and that “whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

We are told that the Jews were not too happy with this and questioned what Jesus was saying. What a perfect time for Him to have said, “Now wait, just hold on! Calm down, calm down! I’m only speaking metaphorically here.” But you know what? He didn’t! Instead He reiterated what He had said. He said that His “flesh is TRUE FOOD” and His “blood is TRUE DRINK”. He also clearly states that it is necessary to eat His body and drink His blood in order to have eternal life.

It is in eating His precious Body and drinking His precious Blood that we, as Catholics, are TRULY UNITED with Christ. He is in us, and WE ARE IN HIM. We become the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church.

When we eat His Body and drink His Blood, Christ lives within us and, hopefully, through us. We, united with Him, should let His light shine through us, through our lives, and how we love and care for those around us.

Normally when I preach I suggest some acts of Christian charity for the following week. This week, however, I would like to suggest that we pray. I am suggesting that we pray especially for those fallen away Catholics who we know, and those that we don’t, that they will come to understand and believe in the Real Presence of Our Lord and Savior in the Holy Eucharist. I am suggesting, too, that we pray for those who still call themselves Catholic but who may be struggling with the Real Presence, that they, also, will come to know and believe in His presence with us, and within us. And finally, I suggest that we pray for ourselves, that united in our faith and belief in the Real Presence of Christ among us, our knowledge of and love for Jesus will grow, mature, and blossom so that His light within us will truly shine.

May God bless you! ( He does, I know!!)


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