During the Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020 we were deprived of the Eucharist ---the source, the center, and the summit of Catholic belief and practice, so central to the life and mission of the Church---- from March 16 until the great feast of Pentecost on May 31. This hiatus made us appreciate what we were missing. In fact many felt a deep longing for the Eucharist. However, others drifted away, often not returning.
Today we are in a crisis of belief and the Episcopate of the United States has undertaken a campaign to revive our most basic belief, the Eucharist, the true presence of Christ Himself. Today we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) 2023 traditionally the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, but for convenience observed in most dioceses on the following Sunday.
The Awesomeness of the Mass. At the Consecration Christ Himself through the priest (persona Christi representing Christ Himself) changes ordinary bread and wine in a mysterious way as He did at the Last Supper to His body and blood, soul and divinity. Therefore, the priest repeats the very words of Christ, “THIS IS MY BODY; THIS IS MY BLOOD; DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME”. This we call the Eucharist, whom we adore as God Himself.
Thus we believe that the Eucharist is NOT a mere symbol, but IS our Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Nevertheless, the Eucharist retains all the physical and chemical properties of bread. That’s the mystery, but anything is possible for God.
A few minutes later, Jesus Christ in the person of the priest, offers the Eucharist to God as Jesus did at Calvary in reparation for all the sins of the world past, present, and future so that we can enter Heaven if we faithfully follow Him. Thus the sacrifice of Calvary is made present and brought to us in a mysterious way which we call the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass.
Just as the Jewish high priest offered in the temple an unblemished lamb to God and the people would then consume it…..we offer Christ Himself as the Lamb of God in the Eucharist to God the Father. Then we consume the Lamb of God, the Eucharist in Holy Communion and we have the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ within us for a few precious moments to adore and cherish as we are filled with His love and graces. Thus missing out on the Eucharist by not assisting at Mass on Sunday is a big loss.
Awesome, Mind Boggling, Difficult to Comprehend. We believe because Christ said so and nothing is impossible for God. “Do this in commemoration of me.” The Eucharist is God’s greatest gift to us on this side of eternity……Himself. Let us not deprive ourselves of it by missing Mass on Sunday. Many a convert began to explore our Catholic Faith because of hunger for the Eucharist.
This belief is so strong to a good and faithful knight that he would give his life to defend the King of the Universe ever present in the Eucharist against any possible desecration, which has occurred more than once in modern history. Even after reading John 6 and the Holy Thursday Gospel accounts, the Eucharist is still a leap of faith and difficult to imagine even though absolutely nothing is beyond the power of Almighty God.
For us who are so weak in faith, the Good Lord has helped us over the centuries and even in recent years with over 100 documented Miracles of the Eucharist……34 in Italy, 20 in Spain, 12 in France, 9 in Germany, also in the Netherlands. Portugal, Argentina (1992, 1994, 1996), Mexico (2006), Venezuela (1991), India (2001), and Poland (2008 & 2013) among others. They reinforce the faith of the believers and help the doubters. These miracles are optional for Catholics to believe or reject. However, the Church considers most of them to be worthy of belief.
According to investigations, the most recent in 1970-71 and 1981 by medical professors of the University of Siena-Italy, the flesh is part of the human heart and the blood type AB matches the blood on the Holy Shroud of Turin and other Eucharistic miracles. The Lanciano results are very consistent with scientific investigations of other Eucharistic miracles where the sacred host turned into flesh. Scientists also concluded that the heart muscle was in great agony.
Furthermore, they initially found with the crude scales of the 8th Century that one piece of flesh or several pieces of flesh together all weighed the same, indicating that even a fragment of the Eucharist is the entire Body of Christ.
The blood is coagulated into five equal parts and weight, corresponding to the five wounds of Christ. For a medical analysis by Dr. Edoardo Linoli, a professor of anatomy, pathological histology, chemistry, & clinical microscopy and former head of the Laboratory of Pathological Anatomy at the Hospital of Arezzo, go to http://www.zenit.org/article-12933?l=english. There has been no deterioration for almost 13 centuries.
The name of the town where the Eucharistic miracle occurred was changed to Lanciano to call to mind the lance which the centurion used to pierce the heart of Jesus without breaking a bone in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. It is so appropriate that the consecrated host miraculously turned into heart muscle to reflect the Sacred Heart of Jesus which exudes such intense love and mercy for each one of us.
May we reciprocate by intensely loving our Lord with our whole mind and our whole soul above all things, while making every effort to follow His teachings through His Mystical Body, the Church, live a virtuous life, and avoid sin which offends Him.
When one receives Holy Communion, Christ comes into his/her heart, i.e. His very person in a real way. It is communion with the infinite……Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. It can even be said that since the three persons of the Holy Trinity are inseparable, we also receive the Father and the Holy Spirit.
At the same time all who receive the Eucharist at a given liturgy are in communion with each other since all eat at the same table (the altar or communion rail) of the same loaf of bread so to speak.
The following videos and articles are fascinating:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=dKc74WJXBfk – (7.01 min) Miracles of the Eucharist – a great overview.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oogJ-cdi7yI – (3:02) Scientific Evidence of Eucharistic Miracles – presentation by three Polish experts.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pxi_U5JN8wM – (7:42 min) 6 Incredible Eucharistic Miracles
http://www.catholicdoors.com/misc/eucharisticmiracles.htm for descriptions of over 100 of them since the 4th Century.
https://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/the-true-presence-eucharistic-miracles-over-the-centuries-for-corpus-christ - The True Presence: Eucharistic Miracles Over the Centuries for Corpus Christi
https://churchpop.com/2015/06/28/5-extraordinary-eucharistic-miracles-with-pictures/ - 5 Extraordinary Eucharistic Miracles that Left Physical Evidence (With Pictures!)
https://dowym.com/voices/5-incredible-eucharistic-miracles-from-the-last-25-years/ - 5 Incredible Eucharistic Miracles from the last 25 Years. Bob and Penny Lord have visited many sites, wrote books, filmed many sites and produced many television programs on EWTN and DVDs. They can be purchased at http://www.bobandpennylord.com/miracles-of-the-eucharist.htm.
A Pastor's Corpus Christi Homily
Fr. Thomas Hamm, the pastor of St. Louis Church Gallipolis, Ohio, connects his every homily to the Eucharist at least in a small way at the conclusion. Let us add his Corpus Christi Sunday homily of June 11, 2023. It was very well done.
When the Chosen People were journeying to the Promised Land, it was only natural that God would provide them with food for the journey. He gave them the manna, the “bread from heaven” which despite its origin was ordinary food meant for the sustaining of natural life. We too are on a journey. Our true home is in heaven and once again God provides us with food for the journey. God gives us the true “Bread from Heaven”, not ordinary food, but extraordinary food meant for sustaining supernatural life. He gives us the Most Holy Eucharist.
Our journey is not a journey to a land flowing with milk and honey. Our journey is a journey to eternal life, a very participation in the life of the Most Blessed Trinity. Thus, the food God gives us must itself contain that divine life. God must feed us with Himself. Anything else would be only ordinary food; ordinary food that when we consume it, becomes part of us. The divine food God gives us instead makes us like God. It divinizes us. It does not become part us, we become in a sense, part of God.
Thus, today we celebrate this wondrous mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ. In particular, we celebrate the true presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist when He take our humble gifts of bread and wine and transforms them into His on Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. As Saint Paul tells us we participate in the body and blood of Christ. We make communion with Jesus, Himself, which we can only do if He is present in the holy food we consume. Paul also tells us that we become one in Christ by consuming of the one loaf, which again is impossible unless the one loaf is Christ. Further, Paul uses other examples in First Corinthians that show his belief that the Eucharist is the true presence of Christ which should lay to rest the arguments that the first Christians did not believe in the real presence of Christ.
Of course, our Lord's own discourse and the reaction of the crowd should leave no doubt that Jesus was serious when He told us that we must eat His flesh and drink his blood. As scripture commentators make clear, when Jesus’ words shocked the crowd with visions of cannibalism and consuming blood, Christ did not back down. He did not tell them that He was only speaking figuratively. In fact, the original Greek made it clear, that Jesus not only told them they had to eat His flesh, but they had to chew and gnaw it as animals would. But Jesus also made it clear that those who consumed His flesh and blood would live forever.
Thus, God provides the precise food for the journey. If it is to be an earthly journey, then it will be ordinary food. But if it is the journey to eternal life, then it must be food that itself is eternal. Today we honor Christ present in the Most Blesses Sacrament. We celebrate that because of His true presence we can participate in His one, perfect sacrifice. And we celebrate that because we partake of Him who makes us one with Himself, we become more perfectly one with all those partaking of His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity with us. True Presence, true Sacrifice, true Communion, what more could we desire as we journey to be with Him for all eternity.