During the Corpus Christi Retreat, which Sister John Mary led, she reminded of us of a story that is often told about a Catholic priest and a pastor. The pastor told the priest, “If I believed what you believed, that Jesus was really present in the bread, I would walk on my hands and knees in the Church.” It is a good reminder for sure of what we believe and we should often evaluate our reverence in the Church and towards God. However, the same could be challenged of the pastor, if he really believed what he professed he would be down on his hands and knees praying and asking for grace before he dared lay a hand on Scripture. Scripture is the word of God and everything it says has to be taken seriously because these are the words of God, the saving and live giving words of God. We, too, as Catholics must have a great reverence for Scripture and the Holy Eucharist.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus said, “Unless you eat my body and drink my blood, you have no life in you. For my flesh is true food and my blood true drink.” Basically, this is like a doctor saying, “Unless you have this transplant you will die.” Is it enough to eat the Body and Blood of Christ to be saved? We know many people who have done great evils have received the Body and Blood of Christ – Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini to name a few. If we were to read further on though, we would read Jesus saying it is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail. From that we know that we must not only eat the Body of Christ, we must also allow it to make the great changes in our soul so that we can have life in us.
We might be thinking, “What do you mean - I don’t have life in me?” Look around – St. John Paul II said to us that we live in a culture of death. We don’t battle against this culture. A person once said to me when referring to a politician that he was a decent person. Yet this politician must go along with abortion because it is what his party demands. It is now decent to accept the killing of innocent children. We don’t fight against this evil. We have euthanasia, contraception, pornography, drugs, profit before people - these are all the culture of death. What could we think of right now that we are doinging against these great evils? Most of us, me included, could say we are doing very little against such great evil. We might wonder what could we do because these things are too much for us to fight, we are not strong, we are too attached to our things, our lives, to fight this evil. Do we even have the energy? I, personally, feel no. But I know that is why we have to get the life that the Eucharist is offering us. That means we have to pray to open our spirits so that they can receive the life we need. We must daily be asking to remove what is killing us and to desire what is offered in the Eucharist.
Today after the morning Mass, we are going to take the Eucharist in procession. Not as a show of, “Look at us Catholics,” but rather to show the world that we have been entrusted with the solution to death and that is the Eucharist. Let us pray dearly beloved that we will come and share in this life and that our love will help others to love and come to the Eucharist. Lord, may it change our lives and may you draw many more into your Presence.