“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16). God does not withdraw his gifts. His giving continues. His gift of Jesus continues, especially in the Most Holy Eucharist. Having just celebrated Corpus Christi, a Year of the Eucharist, and a Eucharistic Congress in the Archdiocese of Boston (“Jesus is here!”), the Church in the United States continues to rediscover the amazing gift of the Holy Eucharist. For each of us, this is a lifelong process. We want to draw closer to our Eucharistic Lord from First Holy Communion until our final Communion, Viaticum, the Food for the journey from death to life.
The Eucharist is the Sacrifice of the Cross made present and fruitful for us as if we had been present there. At the beginning and end of his papacy, Saint John Paul II reminded us that “The Eucharist is above all a sacrifice” (Dominicae Cenae, 9; Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 11). In the Mass, the glorious Christ comes to meet us through his Cross. The new life he won for us there is given to us in the Mass. This is more than mere existence. It is fulness of life. The Eucharist gives us the fruits of the Tree of Life, the Cross. It is the Gift that keeps on giving. It is the Lord: “Jesus is here!”
The Eucharist is Christ offering himself, giving himself, staying with us, and changing us. In the Mass, he offers himself to the Father. He gives himself to us. He abides with us continuously and he transforms us. The Eucharist is his total gift of himself. He holds nothing back. In this remarkable way, he fulfills his promise to remain with us always. Put simply, the Eucharist is “Jesus giving his life for his people” (Saint Charles de Foucauld).
Just like the rays of the monstrance converge upon the Sacred Host, all aspects of life come together in our Eucharistic Lord. We bring our needs before him in adoration. The strands of life converge on his eucharistic Body. And not just the strands, but our whole life, for in the end, anyone who eats this Bread, his Body, will live forever.
To be a Christian in the full sense is to live from the Eucharist. The Holy Eucharist gives us our way of life, our rule of life. When we wonder how we should live or act, the answer is: “Look at the Eucharist.” There is the Christian life in all its fullness. There Jesus shows us how to live, how to die, and how to give ourselves (W. Stinissen). In the conversation that changed his life, Saint Charles de Foucauld was advised when receiving Holy Communion to “receive the One who is love, by giving yourself to him in return.”
The Blessed Sacrament is the living heart of the Church and of all we do at Saint John’s Seminary. Thank you for your support. Please pray that we will always have good priests, eager to form a holy and Eucharistic People, from First Holy Communion to Viaticum.
By: Rev. Joseph Briody
Professor of Sacred Scripture