The Real Presence

June 23, 2019 | N W | Eucharist, Faith, Father Salvador, Sacraments, Saints, Strength

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
June 23, 2019 – Year C
Readings: Gn 14:18-20 / Ps 110 / 1 Cor 11:23-26 / Lk 9:11B-17
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor

A story is told that, one day, Saint Mother Teresa went to see a man who owned a big bakery in India. She asked him to give bread for her hungry orphans. Annoyed that Saint Mother Teresa’s presence in his store might not be good for business, he spit in her face. Unperturbed by the man’s horrible actions, Saint Mother Teresa said, “That’s for me. How about some bread for my orphans?” Shamed by the saint’s response, he gave her all the bread she needed.

What gave Saint Mother Teresa patience, strength of character, and all the energy she had to serve the poorest of the poor, and all the trials in the process? She said that she got her power from the real presence of the Lord Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. When someone asked her why her sisters would spend about three hours in prayer each day before the Blessed Sacrament, instead of using those precious moments to take care of the poor, she answered that if they did not pray that much, they would not be able to serve the poor.

Today, we are celebrating the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. Although we could say that every day is the feast of the Eucharist, because the Mass is being celebrated 24/7 in all the four corners of the world, our Holy Mother Church wants us to devote this particular Sunday to reflect on the significance of the Holy Eucharist in our lives. It requires faith to believe in the real presence of Jesus in the consecrated host we receive in Holy Communion. Even after the consecration, the bread and wine still taste the same. But we believe that they are transformed into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Our presence in this Mass is great news. It means that the Lord, in His mercy and kindness, has given us the gift of faith. In the second reading, which was taken from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, the apostle said, “I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night He was handed over, took bread…broke it and said, ‘This is my body…’” We are all here because we believe in Jesus’s words that He is indeed here in our midst, sacramentally present in the form of bread and wine.

A few years ago, my cousin told me that one Sunday morning, she just didn’t feel like going to Mass. Her husband, who is a Muslim, noticing that she had no plan of going to church, told her, “If I could just believe what you believe, that your God is indeed present in that bread which you call the Eucharist, I would be going to your church every single day.”

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, human as we are, our faith sometimes is not as strong as it used to be, just like the father of the boy possessed by a mute spirit in St. Mark’s gospel. When Jesus told him that everything is possible to one who has faith, he cried out, “I do believe. Help my unbelief.” May we say a similar prayer every time we approach the Lord Jesus and receive His Body and Blood in Holy Communion.