Category Archives: Eucharist

No Need To Pretend.

If you have children, you probably enjoy watching them play pretend. They can pretend to be or do all sorts of things. It’s likely that you also have occasionally had to step in and say, “That’s not nice, even to pretend.” There are some things that are inappropriate enough that even to pretend to do them is not acceptable.

The same holds true for adults. I suspect that, in general, most married people would not like the idea of their spouses taking another partner out on the dance floor and dancing in a way that simulates having sex. The idea of adultery is so abhorrent that even to pretend to do it is unacceptable, particularly in public.

There are certain movies, songs, and other forms of entertainment that are worth avoiding because what they portray is not good to take into one’s heart and mind. “It’s just pretend” doesn’t always justify indulging in something.

Catholics are often criticized for their belief that they are actually eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking the blood of Jesus. “How abominable! How gross! How blasphemous! It’s cannibalism! How can you believe such a horrible thing?” Many of these objections come from non-Catholic Christians. They believe that the Lord’s Supper is symbolic.

Now, if eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking the blood of Jesus is such an abomination, why would it be okay to even “pretend” to do it? Why does it suddenly become acceptable to pretend to be a cannibal? Is that what Jesus has commanded us to do? Jesus wants us to pretend that we are doing something abhorrent simply to remember him? That doesn’t make sense. Jesus only commands us to do good.

If Jesus only commands us to do good things, then eating his flesh and drinking his blood must be a good thing. There is no reason to “pretend” in order to escape committing an abomination because it isn’t an abomination to begin with. If you actually eat his flesh and drink his blood you are doing a good thing.

“How can this be?” That’s exactly what Mary asked the angel Gabriel when he told her she was going to be pregnant with the Messiah. Her response was “I believe you, but I’m curious as to how this is going to happen since I’m a consecrated virgin (“I know not man”). Gabriel told her the Holy Spirit would do it.

When we ask, “How can this be” we are echoing many of Jesus’ disciples who asked, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus never told them that it was only symbolic, or a metaphor. He told them it would be accomplished by the Spirit (my words are spirit and life). “Spirit” does not mean “symbolic.” Just as Mary actually, literally conceived Jesus in her womb by the power of the Spirit, Jesus gives us himself to physically consume by the power of the Spirit.

When many of his disciples left him, Jesus turned to the twelve and asked if they were going to leave him too. Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” This is much like Mary saying, “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your will.” We don’t need to understand it in order to accept it.

When Jesus said, “The flesh is of no avail,” he was referring to people who try to figure it all out “in the flesh” or, without faith. He echoes the scripture which says “You are not in the spirit, but in the flesh.” Only God has the ability to raise the dead, control nature with a word, make the blind see and the deaf hear, etc. Only God can make a virgin conceive a child without involving a man. Only God can raise himself from the dead and make himself physically consumable to us without it being cannibalism or some kind of abomination.

There is no need to pretend to physically consume Jesus. He wants you to do it for real because he wants you and him to be that close to each other. The best way to remember someone is to actually be in their presence. Jesus commanded us to “Do this in remembrance of me.”

Catholics don’t “bite off a piece of Jesus.” We physically consume him in his entirety, body, blood, soul and divinity. There is no pretending. Only real faith in the Jesus. Come join us.

Jesus Gave His Flesh For The Life Of The World: So, Does It Profit Nothing?

During my spiritual journey I have learned that there are basically two ways of looking at John 6:63 where Jesus says, “The flesh profits nothing,” or “The flesh is of no avail.”

One way (A) is to say that Jesus is speaking metaphorically when he tells his disciples to eat his flesh. In other words, verse 63 means, “My flesh doesn’t actually profit anything. This is all symbolic.”

The other way to look at it (B) is to hear Jesus using “the flesh” to mean “human understanding apart from grace” as found elsewhere in scripture such as Romans 8. People are said to be “in the flesh” or “carnally minded.” Or, as Jesus said to his disciples, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” (Matt 26:41)

Let’s see how the two interpretations compare when they are placed within the context of what they supposedly clarify, namely, the words of Jesus that precede verse 63.

Verse 51:

  • “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world (but my flesh doesn’t actually profit anything).”
  • “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world (but you won’t understand this apart from grace while you are still in the flesh).”

Verse 53:

  • Then Jesus said unto them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you (but my flesh doesn’t actually profit anything).”
  • Then Jesus said unto them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you (but you won’t understand this apart from grace while you are still in the flesh).”

Verse 54:

  • “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day (but my flesh doesn’t actually profit anything).”
  • “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day (but you won’t understand this apart from grace while you are still in the flesh).”

Verse 55:

  • “For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed (but my flesh doesn’t actually profit anything).”
  • “For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed (but you won’t understand this apart from grace while you are still in the flesh).”

Verse 56:

  • “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him (but my flesh doesn’t actually profit anything).”
  • “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him (but you won’t understand this apart from grace while you are still in the flesh).”

Notice that Jesus never says, “My flesh profits nothing.” Jesus says, “the flesh.” This is an important distinction. If his flesh profited nothing, he would also need to say that his blood profited nothing in order to be consistently metaphorical. Yet, he insists that his disciples must ingest both his flesh and his blood.

The interpretation (A) that de-emphasizes Christ’s flesh over his spirit also threatens to undermine the doctrine of the hypostatic union by leaning towards Gnosticism. That is, spiritual things are considered “good,” but physical things are considered “bad.” Yet, the incarnation places the flesh and the divinity of Christ together as fully good. (More can be learned about the Gnostic threat here.)

Interpretation (B) explains how the Christian can receive Christ without compromising the hypostatic union rather than receive Christ merely in a “spiritual” capacity. The Christian can fully receive the entire glorified Christ (body, blood, soul and divinity). Christ’s flesh, blood, soul and divinity profit us eternal life which is everything! We become fully united to him. He dwells in us and we dwell in him (vs 56). It is the ultimate example of the expression “you are what you eat.” It is also the ultimate fulfillment of what was foreshadowed at Passover: then as now, believers are instructed to eat the Lamb that was slain. Additionally, we can take Jesus at his word when he says at the last supper, “This is my body” and “this is my blood.”

We do not receive Christ without faith. It is such faith that allows God’s grace to work in us to accept that which our carnally minded understanding fails to grasp. Without that grace, we are offended by the idea of ingesting his flesh and blood (Jn 6:61). Such grace comes from the Father (Jn 6:65), and through the Spirit we receive life (vs.63).

“There are some of you that believe not.” (vs. 64) In order to believe, we do not need to fully comprehend how God accomplishes the miracle of feeding us with his flesh and blood. Nor do we need to see the bread and wine change in appearance. “We walk by faith, not by sight.” We only need to accept it like Peter and ask, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (vs. 68)

There is no reason for Christ to have given his flesh for the life of the world if his flesh profits nothing. His words are “spirit and life.” If we want life, we must abandon our desire to remain in “the flesh” and humbly ask him for the spirit of grace to accept his flesh and blood as he presents it to us. He presents it to us like he did at the Last Supper: under the appearance of bread and wine in the Holy Eucharist.

I’m A Christian, So Why Can’t I Receive Catholic Communion?

Sometimes I hear people complain that non-Catholic Christians are not allowed to take communion (the Eucharist) at Catholic Mass. After all, the word “catholic” means “universal,” and Catholicism considers all properly baptized people to be Christian. So, why exclude some Christians? Isn’t that kind of mean or uppity?

In Protestant circles, it is more common that Christians from other denominations are permitted to take communion “as long as they believe in Jesus.” So, what’s up with the Catholics? It doesn’t seem very welcoming, inclusive or universal.

The Church is indeed “universal.” The Church is for all peoples of all times in all places. However, “universal” does not apply to all principles and beliefs of all peoples. There are more things that unite Christians than divide us. Nevertheless, those things that divide us cannot be ignored. There is not perfect, universal unity in doctrine or practice. Jesus prayed that all of His followers would be one as He and the Father are one. The Church cannot accept every belief and doctrine in the name of inclusion. This is especially true where the Holy Eucharist is concerned.

With some exceptions, non-Catholic Christians generally believe that the communion service is a symbolic memorial intended to help us remember what Christ did for us. So, the bread and wine are about Christ. Catholics believe in transubstantiation. The bread and wine actually become Christ. The bread miraculously transforms into His literal flesh. The wine miraculously transforms into His literal blood (Jesus said, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him.” John Chapter six). The elements retain their outward appearance of bread and wine, but the substance has changed. This is an important distinction of beliefs that cannot be ignored. The Eucharist isn’t just about Christ, it is Christ. It’s not just a metaphor for Catholics.

“Communion” is an expression of unity among those who partake. Unless you believe that the bread and wine actually is Christ, it would be a false sign of unity for you to partake of the Eucharist. In other words, it would be a lie for both of us. One of us would be saying, “This is Jesus,” and the other would be saying, “This is not Jesus, it’s only about Jesus.” We would both be claiming a perfect unity that was not really genuine.

The other reason that non-Catholic Christians (or any non-Catholics) are typically not permitted to take communion is for your protection. In 1Corinthians chapter 11, The Apostle Paul warns against eating and drinking the Lord’s Supper without properly discerning it. Doing so can result in sickness, weakness or even damnation. Consequently, the Catholic Church doesn’t want you to take communion unless you properly understand and discern what you are doing. It’s for your own good for the Church to say, “Don’t take communion.”

It’s not about “exclusion” or “being mean” or “thinking we’re better Christians than you.” Anyone is welcome to come and participate in a Catholic Mass. Please, come join us. However, if you want to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, you must first enter into full unity with the Church. Otherwise, it becomes something less than an expression of genuine unity of faith (it’s not a real “communion”). It also places your soul in jeopardy. We don’t want that for you. We want only the best for you. We want you to have the fullness of the Universal Faith and the spiritual healing of the Eucharist, Jesus Himself.

The Worship Music Battleground

One of the things I noticed during my years in non-Catholic churches was the frequent tension over worship music. While there are certainly tensions over music in Catholic churches, it seems to be a much more persistent battle ground for Protestants (at least in the denominations I attended). Why was the debate and tension over worship music so consistently intense at these churches?

There were older people that wanted more traditional music. There were younger people that wanted more contemporary music. There were people that liked all types of music. There were people that didn’t really care much about music at all (they tended to focus more on the quality of the preaching). The ever-present issue was how to keep everyone happy, which, of course, is impossible. I sensed that there was something much deeper than mere differences in musical preference, but I could not put my finger on it.

There were always possible solutions offered. Perhaps there could be a mix of traditional and contemporary music. Or, there could be two services, one traditional and one contemporary. The church could simply decide to use only contemporary music or only traditional music. Those who might be displeased would have to find a church to suit their preferences, or stay and not complain. All of these solutions had problems, especially since these were typically small churches with limited options.

For example, in order to have two services, these small churches needed to grow in number. In order to grow in number, they needed to attract younger people. In order to attract younger people, they needed more contemporary music. Traditional folks felt left out. But, if the church stuck with traditional music, the young folks would leave and find other churches with rocking worship teams, light shows, fog machines and T-shirt-wearing preachers.

It was hard to find a good balance of traditional hymns and contemporary music. It was also hard to find a music leader or worship team that was comfortable and adept in both genres. And don’t forget to add some Southern Gospel into the mix as well.

Recently, while browsing my Facebook newsfeed, I saw a video that had been posted. It was a video of a woman singing a Christian song and the caption read, “She really took them to church!” Then it hit me. I realized the reason that worship music is such a ticklish issue at these non-Catholic churches. They tend to gauge the quality of worship with the degree to which the music (and/or the sermon) inspires them. Unless they feel a certain level of inspiration, they haven’t really “been to church.” If the music or the sermon was particularly inspirational, they might remark, “Wow, we really had church today!” Good music and good preaching equals good worship.

The emphasis of these non-Catholic worship services is music and preaching. At least one of these has to be inspirational in order to feel as though worship has “happened.” If the music is dull, the preacher has additional pressure to be inspirational. If the preacher is dull, the music had better be good enough to compensate. If neither the music nor the preaching inspires, people will look for a different church where they feel they can “really worship.” Music is their highest level of worship. This “sacrifice of praise” is largely how they worship. Take away the music and the sermon and there is not much of a “worship service” to speak of.

Catholics also desire and appreciate inspirational music. This is obvious throughout the history of music and its use in the Mass and monastic life. I personally have my favorite cantors, hymns and musical genres. However, the music and the preaching are secondary or supplementary to the primary act of worship, the Eucharist. A Catholic Mass can be held without any music at all and the primary act of worship still “happens” in its fullness.

The way Catholics primarily worship is by offering the perfect sacrifice of Jesus to the Father. There is no song or sermon that can match such perfection. So, if the music is boring or the sermon is dull, there is still the ultimate sacrifice of praise and worship in the lifting up of and the receiving of Jesus Christ. The music is not the highest form of worship. Preaching is not the highest form of worship. The sacrifice of Christ is the highest form of worship, and that’s what the Mass is. At Mass, the worship “happens” regardless of how inspired the people may or may not “feel” that day. After each Mass, the Catholic has always “been to church.”

In non-Catholic churches, people that feel inspired primarily by Southern Gospel music will likely have a harder time worshiping in a rock style worship service and vice versa. They may even be repelled by such a service. In Catholic churches, the same act of worship takes place regardless of the style of music or the quality of the sermon. Some might whine or complain about the music, but the quality of worship is not dependent on how the people “feel.” It is perfect every time because it is Christ Himself being lifted up, not just spiritually, but in the flesh. The worship of the Mass is the same everywhere in the world, even if there are differences in styles of music, emotional reactions or other cultural expressions. Ultimately, the Catholic goes to Mass to adore and receive Jesus Christ in the flesh, music or no music.

Unfortunately, many Catholics (especially younger ones) don’t realize or appreciate this reality and they have left Catholicism to attend non-Catholic churches where they “feel” more inspired by the music or the preacher. Or, they will only go to Mass if there is “good music” or a priest they like to hear preach. They have missed the whole point of true worship and have abandoned the highest form of worship possible in order to appeal to their individual tastes and emotions. God wants more than hearts full of emotion. God also wants hearts of obedience. For example, God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s offering because they were of substantially different forms.

The sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb of God, is superior to all other forms of worship we can possibly offer. Of course, we can praise and worship God anytime, anywhere and everywhere through song and prayer. So, why are Catholics obligated to attend Mass every Sunday? Why are we encouraged to attend Mass every day if possible? Jesus is there in the flesh to personally meet you!

I once heard a non-Catholic friend bemoan the fact that the worship music of his heritage is being supplanted by more contemporary music. He felt as if there was no longer a place for him. My heart hurt for him because I sensed that he felt his highest form of worship being taken away.

As wonderful as praise music is, there is an even higher and more intimate form of worship to offer God. You can find this worship at every Catholic Church in the world, music or no music. Jesus awaits to embrace you, in the flesh.

The Lamb Is Real; Why Pretend?

When John the Baptist saw Jesus walking towards him he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” He didn’t mean that Jesus was like a cute, fluffy little animal. He meant that Jesus would share the same fate as the lambs that were sacrificed at Passover.

It took a while for the closest followers of Jesus to realize His fate. Passover lambs were killed. Their blood was shed. His followers didn’t want to face this reality about Jesus, even when He told them point blank, “I’m going to have to suffer and die.” Peter basically said, “No way, Jesus! I won’t let that happen to you!” Jesus responded by rebuking Satan. Why? What was Satan up to? Satan was up to his old trick of denying God’s words, just like in Genesis. Satan told Adam and Eve, “You won’t die if you eat that fruit!” But sin did lead to death. And Satan was trying to say that Jesus didn’t need to die for our sins.

Even after Jesus died and rose from the dead his followers had a hard time accepting it. They just couldn’t wrap their brains around the idea that He literally had to be slaughtered and die, just like those Passover lambs. Eventually, Jesus and the Holy Spirit helped them understand.

There was still another fate that Jesus had to share with those Passover lambs. He would have to be eaten after He had been slaughtered. Again, His followers couldn’t wrap their brains around this reality. Even when He told His followers point blank several times that they would have to eat His flesh and drink His blood, they just didn’t get it. Again, Satan steps in to deny Christ’s words. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat? This is a hard saying! Who can hear it?”

Not only did many of Christ’s followers leave Him at this point, but Satan entered into the one that would betray Jesus. This is where Judas left Him. Jesus just let them all walk away. He didn’t call them back and say, “Just kidding! You don’t really have to eat my flesh and drink my blood! It’s only a metaphor, people!”

Interestingly, people didn’t walk away from Jesus when He said things like, “I am the door,” or “I am the vine.” These were metaphors. Jesus didn’t follow up these metaphors with statements like, “My body is real wood,” or “My blood is real sap.” But He did say, “My flesh is real food,” and “My blood is real drink” when people were bothered by the idea of eating His flesh. Jesus was not speaking symbolically when he told them they must eat His flesh and drink His blood, and people knew it. That’s why they left Him.

First truth, hard to accept yet real: Jesus had to literally be slaughtered like a Passover lamb.

Second truth, hard to accept yet real: Jesus had to literally be eaten like a Passover lamb.

As far as the first truth goes, few Christians would deny that Jesus was literally slaughtered for our sins, just like a Passover lamb. That one is not so hard to see.

The second truth, however, still gives folks trouble. It’s just too much for some to believe that Jesus can literally feed us His actual flesh and blood. But, if His slaughter and shedding of blood were literal, why would our eating of Him be merely symbolic, especially since He so vehemently insisted that His flesh is “food indeed” and His blood is “drink indeed?” He is the literal Lamb of God, after all. Why wouldn’t He be consistent and complete His role as the Lamb of God in a literal way?

Perhaps the reason people balk is that it’s still “a hard saying.” We can easily see the “mechanics” of His slaughter. It’s not so hard to imagine Him bleeding on the cross. But, the method by which we literally eat His flesh and drink His blood takes a greater leap of faith. So, it’s easier to explain it away as mere symbolism. But Jesus certainly didn’t “pretend” to die on the cross. Why should we “pretend” to eat His flesh and drink His blood?

“Pretend” is exactly what I did during my twenty years away from Catholicism. I would participate in The Lord’s Supper at various churches, but I did so with an understanding that it was “only” a memorial service. It was similar to a memorial service on Veteran’s Day when one soberly remembers the sacrifices made by soldiers. Or, it was like offering a “toast” to the memory of a departed loved one. I was “pretending” to eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus in order to help me imagine and recall His sacrifice. The bread and grape juice were simply “memory joggers.” But, Jesus did not say, “Unless you pretend to eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you.”

Something was amiss. Pretending to eat His flesh and drink His blood took no real faith. I might as well have been eating a birthday cake to remember someone’s birthday. I’m not suggesting that it was void of meaning. Of course, it was sobering, emotional and edifying to recall what Jesus had done for us. But, I was still only pretending to eat His flesh and drink His blood. That wasn’t what He instructed us to do.

I would never pretend to eat my breakfast, lunch and dinner in order to sustain my physical life. I would slowly wither away. So, why pretend to eat Jesus in order to sustain my spiritual life? The death of the Lamb of God was obviously very real. Eating the Lamb of God must also be real, just like at Passover. After all, if you didn’t really kill and really eat the Passover lamb, death followed. It had to be real and complete in order to be life sustaining.

Some may object that in John 6 Jesus said, “My words are spirit and life. The flesh profits nothing.” Doesn’t that mean that all this eating of His flesh is just symbolic? No. “Spirit” never means “symbolic” or “pretend.” Without the spirit of God, none of this is possible or life giving. “Spirit” is very real. “Spirit” is not a metaphor. “Spirit” brings life.

Additionally, it is strange for many to claim that the same flesh that Jesus gives “for the life of the world” should be the same flesh that “profits nothing.” It’s the flesh which profits nothing, not His flesh. “The flesh” is used elsewhere to signify our human understanding and lack of faith. “The flesh” is what causes people to walk away from eating “His flesh.” Jesus did not say, “My flesh profits nothing. He wants us to eat His flesh because it profits eternal life which is everything.

The Catholic Mass is not merely a memorial service to remind us of what Jesus did. It is partly that, but it is also the Supper of The Lamb. It is where we literally partake of the flesh and blood of the Lamb of God that was literally slain for our sins. At Mass we are provided real flesh and real blood, which is real food and real drink from the real Lamb of God all made possible by the real spirit of God. No pretending. We literally receive the glorified Christ under the appearance of bread and wine. We dwell in Him, and He in us, just as He promised in John chapter 6.

Before we partake of this glorious, miraculous meal, the priest echoes the words of John the Baptist, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those called to the Supper of the Lamb!” This is Jesus. Like the Passover lamb, He died for real and we eat Him for real. As a result, He gives us real, eternal life. The Angel of Death passes over us.

So, when someone says, “Well…we don’t really eat His body and drink His blood. That’s just symbolic.” My response is, “Was His death real? Did He really shed His blood? Did He really give His flesh for the life of the world or did He just symbolically die? Did the Israelites really eat the Passover lamb, or did they just kill it and then pretend to eat it? Do you really believe that the flesh of Jesus, which He gave for the life of the world, profits nothing?”

Why A Manger?

With Advent upon us, we begin a period of reflection, repentance and expectation. We await the coming of the baby in the manger. It’s a good time to contemplate the significance of the manger. Of all the places that God could have directed Mary and Joseph to spend the night, why a stall with a manger?

We often hear that it was a place of poverty and lowliness. It was a humble beginning. The God of the universe condescended to low estate to meet us where we are in our infirmity. This, of course, is true, but there’s even more to it than that.

Flash forward to the Last Supper. Jesus takes bread and says, “This is my body. Take and eat.” (Matt 26:26) Rewind back to the Bread of Life discourse in John chapter six where Jesus says we must eat His flesh to have eternal life. His followers asked in horror, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Rewind just prior to that and we see Jesus feeding thousands with a few loaves of bread and a few fishes. Not only were the people fed, but there were baskets of food left over. There was no shortage. There was plenty for everyone. Then Jesus informs them they must eat His flesh. Miraculously, there will be plenty for everyone.

It all began in a manger. Jesus wasn’t placed on the ground on a bed of straw or a pile of wadded up cloth. There is a reason the manger was specifically mentioned and emphasized. A manger is a container for food. This baby would be food. Like the Passover lamb, He was meant to be sacrificed and eaten. So, He was placed in a food trough.

But, how can one, little baby be food for the entire world? We might as well ask, “How can this man make so much food from a few loaves and fishes?” or, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” With God, all things are possible.

Our role is not to completely understand this amazing reality. Our role is to take Jesus at His word. We can walk away from it disturbed (like many of His followers did in John 6). We can try to rationalize it away as merely a metaphor. Or, we can embrace it like Peter and say, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life.”

This Advent, as Nativity scenes begin to pop up here and there, remember the purpose of a manger. Remember the loaves and fishes. Remember that Jesus said, “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you.” (John 6:53) Remember that Jesus calls us to “take and eat” of Himself to sustain our eternal life.

Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart

On this Thanksgiving weekend, I’m reminded that the word “Eucharist” comes from the Greek “eucharista” and means “thanksgiving.”

There is no better way to give thanks to God than to participate in the greatest act of worship possible: the sacrifice of Jesus. There is no better way to “make our bodies living sacrifices” (Rom 12:1) than to unite them to Christ’s sacrifice by receiving Him in the Holy Eucharist.

All of our own acts of worship fall short. No matter how sincerely we sing or how eloquently and emotionally we praise Him, we can never match the perfection of Christ’s worship. No matter how much we devote our lives to serving God, we will always fall short of Christ’s perfect service. So, in His mercy, He makes a way for us to unite ourselves, body and soul, to His own, perfect sacrifice.

The priest says, “The Body of Christ,” and we say, “Amen.” We receive the glorified Jesus. We dwell in Him and He dwells in us (Jn 6:56). We become united to the perfect, eternal sacrifice that Christ, the High Priest continually offers before the Father.

As a dear friend of mine recently said, “It’s all about a relationship with Jesus.” Indeed, there is no closer relationship to Jesus than the Holy Eucharist. We accept Christ into our hearts, and we accept Christ into our bodies. That’s intimacy. You can’t get more personal than that in a relationship.

Thank God for His mercy, His grace and His real presence in the Holy Eucharist.