Non-Catholics will ask: Why do you have a special building dedicated to the Catholic Eucharist? “Why so much real estate?”
Because we believe that the Eucharist is not a “what” but a “Who” = Jesus Christ our Lord Himself, in the flesh.
“The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life … For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ Himself, our Pasch.” (CCC 1324)
We believe that Christ is truly, really present, His body, blood, soul and divinity. Jesus makes this clear in today’s Gospel and further in that same chapter six of John’s Gospel.
“Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life within you.”
We are used to hearing these words, but Jesus’ audience were shocked and appalled by them. Besides being revolting to them, the ancient Jews prohibited the drinking of the life-blood of any creature. Because life was in the blood. Many ancient pagans believed that drinking the blood of an animal (especially a powerful animal) would give them the power of that animal. The Jews found this reprehensible.
Yet the very reason the Jews prohibited this practice is the very reason Jesus required it: for He commended us to eat, not the flesh of just any creature, but the flesh of the divine Son of God. It is His life that He wants to be within us. And not the flesh of a corpse but the flesh of the resurrected and glorified Christ, the Son of God.
When His listeners balked at this, Jesus did not try to dial back on the rhetoric. Instead, He increased it. He starts using the Greek word for “feed on”, rather than simply “eat” or “dine”.
So, when we receive Our Lord in the Eucharist, we take in the power of Christ our Lord within us.
Furthermore, given the very frightening and dire circumstances we find ourselves in lately, with all the uncertainty, we may be questioning: Where is God in all this? In the Eucharist, we believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. Our Lord Jesus continues to be Emmanuel, God With Us. It is important for us to truly believe that — especially now.
Our churches in the Diocese of Metuchen remain open. If you find that it’s after hours and this church is not open, find a nearby church that is open and spend some time with our Lord.
Let us not despair. We have Jesus Christ on our side, His Power within us, His presence with us through all the tough times. Cling to that hope. Jesus our Lord is our hope.