Is the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist something that we just have to accept on faith, then?
July 5, 2020, 12:00 PM
The words of the One who died and rose again should be enough “proof” for us. Yet Jesus Christ, the Good Teacher, gradually prepared His disciples for the great mystery that He would reveal in the Blessed Sacrament. The discourse of the Eucharist in chapter six of John’s gospel immediately follows a miraculous multiplication of loaves and fish to feed a hungry crowd. Jesus showed His followers that He could feed them, at will, with earthly food, then He told them that one day He would feed them with heavenly food – His own body and blood.
That being said, there have been many miracles since the time of Christ that attest to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. If you do a Google search of the words “miracles of the Eucharist,” you will find many examples. Here’s one: In Lanciano, Italy, in the eighth century, a priest was celebrating Mass and started to wonder whether the consecrated host in his hands truly was the body of Christ. As these thoughts crossed his mind, the host took on the appearance of human flesh and began to bleed, with the blood dripping on the altar. That host is preserved to this day in a monstrance in Lanciano.
In the 1980s, a scientist who was a professed atheist requested permission to study the Lanciano event, hoping to disprove the miracle. His investigation determined that, even though the preserved host is dried out after more than a thousand years, it is still fresh. Scientific testing proved that it is actually human heart tissue, with a blood type of “AB positive.” Every part of a heart that is required to function was present in the host. As a result of these findings, the scientist became a Catholic. If you visit Lanciano today, you can see the results of his study posted on the wall of the parish church. The study is entitled, “And the Word was Made Flesh.”
Remember: Jesus is not some fictional character in a historical novel. Nor is He far away in some distant heaven, leaving us alone down here to do the best we can. He is alive and well and present to us in the Eucharist, offering us eternal life and love. This love is too great for us to remain indifferent to it – or to relegate it to an hour a week. The Son of God offers His whole heart and life to us. He wants nothing less in return. Jesus gives us His perfect heart and wants our imperfect hearts in exchange, just as they are (though He loves us far too much to let them stay that way!).