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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Thursday...The Gift of the Real Presence

Today, Holy Thursday, we commemorate the Last Supper of Jesus…similarly, we celebrate the institution of the Holy Eucharist.

God's love for us is poured out in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, where Jesus Christ becomes truly present for us, giving us life and healing.

We remember Jesus, His life and love for each one of us in the celebration of the Eucharist.

We remember the presence of Jesus through the Eucharist…hidden in the consecrated bread and wine. We proclaim the death of Jesus Christ until He comes in glory.

“And whilst they were eating, Jesus took bread; and blessing, broke, and gave to them, and said: Take ye.  This is my body.  And having taken the chalice, giving thanks, he gave it to them. And they all drank of it.  And he said to them: This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many.” (Mark 14:22-24, Douay Rheims)

“The simplest way to express what Christ asks us to believe about the Real Presence is that the Eucharist is really He.  The Real Presence is the real Jesus. We are to believe that the Eucharist began in the womb of the Virgin Mary; that the flesh which the Son of God received from His Mother at the Incarnation is the same flesh into which He changed bread at the Last Supper; that the blood He received from His Mother is the same blood into which He changed wine at the Last Supper.  Had she not given Him His flesh and blood there could not be a Eucharist.

We are to believe that the Eucharist is Jesus Christ - simply, without qualification.  It is God become man in the fullness of His divine nature, in the fullness of His human nature, in the fullness of His body and soul, in the fullness of everything that makes Jesus JESUS.  He is in the Eucharist with His human mind and will united with the Divinity, with His hands and feet, His face and features, with His eyes and lips and ears and nostrils, with His affections and emotions and, with emphasis, with His living, pulsating, physical Sacred Heart.  That is what our Catholic Faith demands of us that we believe.  If we believe this, we are Catholic.  If we do not, we are not, no matter what people may think we are.” - Father John A. Hardon S.J.

“And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. This is my body.  And taking the chalice, he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this.  For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28, Douay Rheims)

The Roman Catholic Church has consistently held fast to the belief in the Real Presence of the Holy Eucharist.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

“The mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique.  It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all sacraments tend.”  In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.” “This presence is called ‘real’ - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.’”(The Catechism of the Catholic Church: para 1374)

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