The Eucharist: The Body of Christ
There are some truths that are hard to hear. We don't like to be called out. We don't like to be told we are wrong. We especially don't like our judgment questioned. In our readings at Mass this weekend, the prophet Jeremiah is thrown into a cistern to die because he spoke the truths that were hard to hear. In many ways, we would prefer to pretend everything is OK instead of facing up to difficult truths. One of the central truths of our faith is that Jesus Christ is really, truly, substantially present in the Eucharist - Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. The bread and wine at Mass ceases to be bread and wine at the consecration. The Eucharist is Jesus Christ, not just a symbol of Jesus. However, that truth is being denied by most of us. Pew Research recently published a study that reports two-thirds of all Catholics do not believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. That means only one-third of Catholics believe the Eucharist is more than just a symbol. These numbers are a hard truth for all of us. We as a church have failed to pass on the Apostolic Faith of belief in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We cannot pretend things are OK. They are not. We have to face the hard truth that for most of us, we do not believe that Jesus has remained with us in the Eucharist. We need to do better. Our children and neighbors deserve a better witness. Before we can change for the better, we have to face the truth: we are not OK. As a pastor, I must do better. As families, we must do better. As a parish, we can and will do better. We can be renewed in our belief and love of Our Eucharistic Lord Jesus Christ. Be not afraid. We are in this together. Saint John Paul II, pray for us!