Last night I taught our RCIA class about the Eucharist. Much of what Catholics believe about the Eucharist can be mind-boggling to those who are new to the faith. How can Jesus be fully present in every consecrated host is certainly a question that challenges our mind. Who can really understand how bread and wine becomes the body and blood of Christ.
Yet who are we to question God. Take a drive out to the country on a very clear night and look at the number of stars. It seems like we can see millions, yet they are so far away we are looking into the past. The nearest star is Alpha Centaur i a mere 4 light years away, not far compared to the rest of them yet 4 light years is more than 23,462,484,000,000 miles if my math is correct. Try multiplying 186,000 x 60 x 60 x 24 x 365. Can you imagine such a distance? Yet that is the closest star besides our sun a mere 93,000,000 miles away. How vast is space?
When you think about the vastness of the universe and realize that God created it all and we only see a small part of it; how can we doubt God’s abilities? How can we question whether God can do something or perform a miracle. If He created the entire universe why would be think He would be incapable of healing a disease or providing what we need.
Try to remember who God is, how powerful He is, what He is capable of and believe.
Surveys claim that only 30% of Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Roughly the same percentage of Catholics attend mass every Sunday so I assume many of them are the same people I see at mass on Sunday. I wonder as I watch people come up to communion greeting others in the front pews or see mobs leaving church as soon as they received whether even the 30% really believe that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist.
It is the doctrine of the Catholic Church that Jesus is present in the Eucharist in His full divinity. It is not a watered down version of Jesus, one that has been stripped of all His power but Jesus in His all of His divinity and power. Hebrews 13:8 tells us “Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever”. John 10:10 quotes Jesus as coming so that we might have life and have it abundantly. John also told us that God is love. The first chapter of Mark, verse 41, tells us that it is Jesus’ will to heal. In Matthew 4:23 we learned Jesus healed all the sick who came to Him. We all remember the story of the Good Thief who Jesus promised on the Cross that this day He would be in paradise. Such was the love that Jesus had.
In the Eucharist we encounter the living Christ not a wafer as other faiths claim. The Eucharist is love itself because that is the nature of God. We should expect God to show us His love as we receive Him. With Jesus all things are possible.
We need to remember that the same Jesus that fed the 5,000, healed the blind man cured the paralytic and raised Lazarus from the dead is present in every Eucharist. If you look at the gospels you will see that Jesus healed all those who came to Him in faith seeking His healing. He healed all who came to him, not some, not only a token few. He healed all who came to Him in faith. This same Jesus with all of His love, compassion and power is present in every Eucharist. Yet how many of us go up to communion haphazardly without really expecting Jesus to do anything? How many of us go through the motions when we receive, not really willing to let Jesus bless us.
Jesus passionately desires to bless us every time we receive Him. There is a Niagara Falls of graces He longs to pour on us but we must be open to His graces. We can’t be determined to stay the same as we came in. We must be willing to change, to abandon our grudges, to forgive the people He wants us to forgive. We should pray to be open to the graces He wants to give. We should be focused as much as possible on Jesus as we attend mass.
Often I pray with the sick. The most successful prayers I can say is to pray with someone before mass; thank Jesus for the gift of the Eucharist, that He is present in all His power, that all things are possible for Him and that He loves that person more than we could ever imagine. Then I pray that as the person receives communion they be totally open to the graces Jesus wants to give them, that He pour His love upon them and bless them. People have told me of negative biopsies, operations becoming unnecessary and operations going way better than the doctors expected.
Pray for the grace to receive as often as possible. Pray to be open to what to what Jesus wants to do and trust Jesus. He will bless you in ways you can never imagine.
This morning many woke up shocked to discover that David Bowie died yesterday after an 18 month battle with cancer. It seems that every time you turn around you hear of another person with cancer. Why is cancer so prevalent? Why are so many people dying of cancer? Shouldn’t we have discover a cure or better methods of preventing it? I sure many people question why God has done nothing about cancer.
My freshman year in college, 1969, I had an awesome history professor. He said to him the greatest argument against discriminating against women or minorities was the possibility that God had gifted one of them with the ability to cure cancer but that person was unable to get into medical school because of discrimination. How true that could be. Ironically that professor died of cancer before I graduated.
Since Roe v. Wade over 57,000,000 million Americans have been aborted. How many brilliant scientists and doctors might have been in that number, we will never know. A number that large must have included many geniuses. Who knows whether or not cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s might have been defeated if Roe v. Wade hadn’t happened? Who knows what diseases might have been eradicated?
If you asked God why He didn’t do something about cancer or Alzheimer’s or some other disease; would His answer be that we kept aborting the people He sent to solve these problems. Think about it! Can we afford abortion?