St John's Q&A

Saturday, February 18, 2006

"This is my body"

One of our SFA bloggers wrote this comment earlier in the week (btw, the Real Presence refers to Jesus' Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity under the signs of bread and wine):

"On an on-line forum once, the question was asked, 'What would you do if Jesus walked into the room, right here and now?' It was in thinking of my own answer to this question that helped me to realize the truth of the Real Presence. Wow! That was a mighty revelation that steered me out of cafeteria catholicism."

How many of us Catholics truly believe that the Eucharist is really Jesus' body, blood, soul, and divinity? If we pay attention to statistics, the numbers are not good: about 70% of Catholics* believe the Eucharist is only a symbol of Jesus' body and blood. Whatever the percentage, there is a problem here. I think it's because Catholics, by and large, don't really know the Church's teaching about the Real Presence. I didn't know it the first twenty years of my life.

When I was 21, I remember sitting in the office of a priest who was a good friend of mine. We hung out together, played golf, went on trips, etc. We would talk about everything under the sun - sports, religion, poilitics, whatever. On this day, we started talking about the Eucharist. I said, "well, you know, Father, the Eucharist is just a symbol". He said, "what?", with his jaw halfway to the floor.

"It's a...symbol??", I said, very shakily. He replied firmly and plainly, "'This is my body', Greg, means THIS IS MY BODY."

That conversation changed my life. I walked away thinking, 'you mean, that stuff is for real? What happens at Mass is for real? That isn't just bread and wine? It really is Jesus' body and blood? Whoa!!' At that point, God became real for me. Before that time, my approach was that God was way up in Heaven and I was down here on Earth. I realized that He was much closer to me. He was right in front of me, about 20 feet away... (to be continued)

*from studies done within the last 10 years


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