Happy Divine Mercy Sunday, Canonization day for Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II, and Congratulations to all our First Communicants!
This is a lot to celebrate in just one day! A few years back I wrote back and forth with a non-Catholic Christian lady who had some questions about the Catholic faith. We exchanged about 14 letters, mostly on the Eucharist. Since we are celebrating First Holy Communion today, I want to include some excerpts from one of the letters as a little teaching on the Most Blessed Sacrament. Our First Holy Communion Day is one of the most important days of our entire life. If we remain close to Jesus in this Sacrament, he promises us Eternal Life!
As to the question you asked in your letter, “Do you really believe that the little wafer becomes the body of Jesus, and the wine is really turned into blood?” The answer is absolutely YES! The reason I believe is because Jesus says that I must believe, “For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink”(Jn 6:55).
In one of the letters I wrote to you I pointed out how in Jn 6:53 Jesus said, “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you”. It is impossible that Jesus would command us to do something that we cannot carry out. So how is it possible for us to carry out this command of our Lord? He himself provided the way at the last supper. He took bread, said the blessing, and then said “this is my Body”. Then he said “do this in memory of me” (1Corinthians 11:24).
He did not say it is a symbol of His Body.
You asked if I really believe this. C____, I do believe with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind and with all my strength. Virtually every Catholic Church has a place where the Body of the Lord, which we also refer to as the Eucharist, or the Blessed Sacrament is kept. A candle is kept burning to indicate what we call the Real presence of Christ. In our Church here at St. _____we have people taking turns through out the day to assure that at least one person is constantly praying and worshipping Jesus, who is truly present in the Eucharist. I am committing myself to one hour each day of adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, in addition to celebrating the Mass, at which I receive the Body and Blood everyday. I will pray for you there in His company.
It might help to remember that the Body of Jesus is now Resurrected and Glorified. Thus he can be present in many places and in whatever form he wishes to be present. As he said, “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20).
Let us pray for one another.
May God Bless you,
Rev. Matthew Keller