I was driving pass a prominent Catholic Church in Manila during the Covid pandemic lockdown when I noticed many of the faithful standing outside the gated Church premises. Some were on their knees, praying with their eyes fixed in the very direction of the tabernacle in the locked Church. Though they could not enter the Church for Mass or for Eucharistic adoration, the fear of Covid or the lockdown of their Churches could not diminish their faith in the Real Presence of Jesus in the tabernacle.
What an amazing gift from God to have that humble faith in the Real Presence of His beloved Son in the Eucharist. We cannot thank God enough for the gift of this faith and for sustaining this faith in us. But do we really understood why Jesus Christ chose to be present with us always under the form of bread and wine?
We find two qualities of authentic love present in the Eucharist – presence and sharing. Lovers are always present to the beloved and lovers always share with the beloved all that belongs to them. Jesus chose to be always present with us under the forms of bread and wine to share with us all that belong to Him alone. What are some of the things that Jesus shares with us by His Eucharistic presence and how do we share these with Him?
Firstly, the Eucharistic Jesus shares with us His own life.
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise Him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink” (Jn 6). Through our communion with His flesh and blood, Jesus brings us to share in that intimate life that He has with the Father and with the Holy Spirit.
How completely do we partake in His life? Are we striving to live in a state of grace and to grow in that grace? Are we seriously nurturing that life within us and avoiding the things that hinder the growth of this life in us like sin and selfishness? Are we trying to grow in this life by fervent prayer for His grace and fidelity to His will for us all the time?
Are we also sharing with Him all the aspects of our lives? Are there any areas of our lives that we are trying to keep from Him? Are we trying to be in control of any aspects of our lives to the extent that we begin to exclude Him?
Secondly, the Eucharistic Jesus shares with us His own mission.
The mission of Jesus is to deliver souls from the bondage of sin and bring us into unity with Him, “Jesus was going to die to gather into one the dispersed children of God” (Jn 11:52). He offers us a share in this mission through His Eucharistic presence, “Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf” (1Cor 10:17).
Through the Eucharist, we also share in the passion of Christ for unity and the salvation of all souls. We cannot be united with Him in the Eucharist and not gather souls with Him, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Lk 11:23).
We share in His mission by being people of truth in word and deed. Rejecting all the many forms of relativism and subjectivism of our times, we labor for peace and unity by being people of objective truth. We are open to offer reconciliation with all persons and to unite all to Christ. We are zealous to bring souls to Christ.
Thirdly, the Eucharistic Jesus shares all His experiences with us.
St. Paul reminds us that we also share in all that Christ experienced in His humanity, “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” Through the Eucharist, we have a living communion with the humanity of Christ and all that He experienced in this life.
Like Jesus, the Church and her members will be mocked and ridiculed. It is no coincidence that the lewd and vulgar gender confused men who call themselves “Sisters of Perpetual indulgence,” have dedicated themselves to mocking and ridiculing all that we Catholics hold sacred like Our Lord Jesus Christ, His blessed Mother Mary, the religious life, and priesthood. We cannot be Eucharistic people without being ridiculed and mocked for our beliefs and morals.
Like Jesus who was betrayed, abandoned, and denied by His closest followers, the Church will be betrayed and scandalized by her human leaders who were charged to teach, govern, and sanctify the Church in the name of Christ Jesus. Many people will also abandon Jesus and the way of life that He demands from us, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”(Jn 6:60) Like Jesus, the Church will be incessantly and gravely tempted by the devil. We cannot share in the life of Jesus in the Eucharist without sharing in His sufferings and trials.
Fourthly, the Eucharistic Jesus shares with us His own virtues.
The Eucharistic Lord sheds His light on our path so that we too journey to heaven in His footsteps, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”(Jn 8:12) He teaches us and gives us strength to practice the many virtues that He makes present in the Eucharist.
Through the Eucharist, we learn from Him loving obedience to the Father’s will for us. We learn how to humble ourselves from the One who chose to be in our midst under the form of fragile bread. We learn purity of heart and body from uniting ourselves to His Eucharistic presence. We learn from Him to offer service to all persons as He washed the feet of all His disciples at the Last Supper. We learn from the Eucharist how to be present to others and give of ourselves to them without reserve. We learn the virtues of silence and patience from His silence in this sacrament. In short, there is no virtue that is not present to us in each Eucharist along with the grace to practice the same virtue.
Lastly, the Eucharistic Jesus shares with us His own final victory.
Jesus promises us final victory if we do not quit in sharing all that He offers to us in the Eucharist, “Whoever eats that bread will live forever” (Jn 6). He does not promise us ease, acceptance, and success in this earthly journey. On the contrary, there will be many failures and defeats on the hard and narrow road to heaven. We shall have struggles with discouragement in this journey. He assures us that we will share in His resurrected life if we persevere till the end.
This is why the Eucharist is a sacrament of hope, giving us all the strength that we need now and filling our hearts with joyful hope for the future. Thus, we do not give up. We do not cave into the forces of darkness in our lives or in the world.
For this joyful hope to be alive and for us to have this strength in us, it is not enough for us to merely believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Yes, we must thank God for this gift, and we pray for those who have lost this faith. We must also hold on tenaciously to this faith.
But we must also remember why He is always present with us – to share all that is His with us. If we continuously share in all that belongs to Him through the Eucharist, we shall one day share in the joys of eternal life.
Glory to Jesus! Honor to Mary!
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