Sometimes I hear non-Catholics say, “If I believed what you Catholics supposedly believe about Jesus being really, physically present in the Eucharist, I would be at the church every day down on my face in worship. Since you Catholics don’t do that, I don’t think you actually believe Jesus is really there. It must not be true.”
Well, I have to admit that there are many Catholics that fail to appreciate the real presence of Christ (body, blood, soul and divinity) under the appearance of bread and wine. Their lack of appreciation does not prove anything except that they lack appreciation. Lots of Catholics fail to appreciate their spouses, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t married. What about the Catholics that do appreciate the real presence? Why are they not constantly down on their faces in worship?
First of all, there are times when we do bow down and worship. However, to do so constantly would not be in keeping with what Jesus told us to do. Jesus told us to go and preach the Gospel. In fact, at the end of each Mass we are told to “Go.” We have worshipped, received the Bread of Life, and now it is time to take Jesus out into the world. To huddle around the church all day on our faces would not be following Christ’s marching orders.
The Apostles spent lots of time with Jesus, but they weren’t constantly falling on their faces in his presence. The Apostle John is known to have lovingly laid his head on Jesus. That’s more of a calm, comforting, assuring kind of posture that illustrates how a Catholic can be all day long, even in the very physical presence of Jesus. We can “rest in the presence of the Lord.” Even after Jesus was transfigured and revealed his glory the Apostles didn’t follow him around groveling on their hands and knees all the time. Jesus didn’t expect them to, either.
There are certainly times when Catholics prostrate themselves in worship to God. Some Catholics could stand to do more prostrating. Too many take for granted the gift that God has given them. Unfortunately, that’s human nature. We can become complacent and unappreciative in any relationship. God’s nature, however, is to send his only Son to become the Bread of Life. He remains true and his heart remains on fire for us. There are plenty of Catholics that do understand and appreciate the Eucharist.
I think sometimes there are people that use the complacency of some Catholics as an excuse to avoid the truth of Catholicism. No matter which Christian church we enter we are likely to find people that are enthusiastic and people that are apathetic. The attitudes of people do not determine truth. Truth is truth whether people appreciate it or ignore it. If we look for Catholics that are complacent, we will find them. If we look for Catholics that are on fire for God, we will find them, too. Always we will find Christ really present in the Holy Eucharist of the Catholic Mass. Jesus told us, “I will be with you until the end of the world.”