The Eucharist: The Foundation of the Catholic Church
September 10th Readings Reflection: Saturday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
Today’s readings are filled with Eucharistic theology, which is perfect for the Eucharistic Revival that has begun this year. In the first reading, St. Paul stated the Church’s unchanging belief in the Holy Eucharist:
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the Blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the Body of Christ?
The majority of Catholics in the United States no longer believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life,”’ as the Catechism of the Catholic Church states (CCC § 1324). When this source and summit is missing from our faith, our relationship with God quickly deteriorates. The Eucharist is the foundation upon which the Church is built. The parable that we hear in today’s Gospel tells what happens when a house is not built on a foundation: “When the river burst against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed.”
The Eucharist is truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ Himself, as Our Lord stated in the Gospels (see Mat 26:26 and 26:28). The commandment to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength extends to the Eucharist as well, since It is Christ Himself, simply appearing as ordinary bread and wine. To do otherwise is a duplicity, which Jesus condemns in today’s Gospel reading: “Why do you call [M]e, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command?”
The Eucharist is an immense Gift from God; many saints have said that if the angels could be envious, they would envy human beings for the Eucharist, for it is only we who can receive Holy Communion. The Church sees in today’s Responsorial Psalm a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving for the reception of Holy Communion. In the Tridentine Latin Mass, the priest prays part of this Psalm after receiving the Sacred Host, before receiving the Precious Blood:
What shall I render to the Lord for all He hath rendered unto me? I will take the Chalice of Salvation, and call upon the Name of the Lord.
May today’s readings help to fill us with a deeper love and reverence for Our Lord in the Most Holy Eucharist. Jesus, Mystery of the altar, have mercy on us!
My mother is a convert. Before she converted, she went to Mass with me. I led the way into the pew. When I turned to my mother, she was still standing in the aisle starring straight ahead not moving. I spoke to her thinking maybe she was wondering if she should genuflect before entering the pew. No response. I spoke again she 'woke up' and entered the pew genuflecting. After Mass as we walked home, she explained to me that as soon as she entered the Church, she could not take her eyes off the tabernacle even when she tried. She knew "God was in there". She just knew. To the joy of my Dad and I, Mum converted immediately and remained a life long lover of Jesus in the Eucharist.
In essence we ingest God upon taking the Eucharist.