The Eucharist — Here comes the Son

After reading Father Landry’s column this week (page seven) and Deacon Del’s homily (page eight), I learned that this Sunday will be the 750th anniversary of the feast of Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ.

Not being ordained, or a theologian, or much more than a dad, husband, son and friend, there’s nothing I can say that can even come close to the magnitude of Christ’s coming to us each Mass in the Eucharist. But I would like to give my opinion, for what it’s worth.

This is part of a talk I gave on a YES! weekend in April, at which I was asked to share what I thought about the Holy Eucharist. Teen-agers were the target audience, but I feel that the simplicity of the talk is similar to the style of our wonderful Pope Francis — something everyone can understand.

This talk was given within the context of the Mass, just after Communion, and I must say that I choked up more than a few times talking about our Savior’s ultimate sacrifice for you and me. In part, the talk was: 

“My job here is not an easy one. I’m asked to explain the Holy Eucharist. I’m asked to explain a mystery that millions of non-Catholic Christians can’t understand or refuse to believe. I’m asked to explain the greatest sacrifice mankind has ever seen. Piece of cake, right?

“Let’s get past the basics first. We all know Holy Communion. It’s the bread turned into the Body of Christ and the wine turned into His Blood, and we all file up to the front of the church and we’re given a Host, at which time we return to our seats, pray a bit, and wait for Mass to end.

“As trivial as that sounds, that’s the way far too many Catholics treat this most Sacred mystery.

“Most of us know how the mystery started. Jesus began His mission to save mankind when He was born on Christmas day. He grew in age and wisdom and faith, from a boy into a man. At age 30 His ministry began full-tilt. 

“He brought a radical message to the people around Him. Not one of war and revenge and selfishness. He brought a message of love. Love God, love each other, and love yourself. If you truly do that, you can’t help but to be one of His followers.

“The message had mixed reactions. Some followed, some didn’t. And those who saw this new message of love as a threat to them plotted against Him … to the point of having Him put to death. But this is why He came in the first place, to save us from sin, from Satan, from evil. Only by sacrificing Himself, could this be achieved.

“Jesus Christ suffered one of the most painful, horrendous deaths anyone could imagine. The Romans were very good at that. In His position on the cross, Jesus suffered and struggled for every breath He drew, and to do that, He had to pull up on His arms and push up with His feet, all of which had large spikes nailed into them. It was sheer agony for each breath He drew.  And the way he was positioned on the cross, He struggled for every breath he drew. The few words He spoke on the cross had to have caused excruciating pain. Jesus died because of exhaustion, loss of blood, wounds all over His body, and unbearable pain — pain that started the evening before His inhumane crucifixion. Then, there were the three hours nailed to a tree. All for you and me.

“He suffered that death, once and for all. But giving His Body and Blood just once wasn’t enough. He provides that for us every time we go to Mass without the pain of the crucifixion any longer.

“The Host is not a cookie. It is not a wafer, it is His Body given for us again. The wine is not wine, it is His Blood given for us again. Why? Because it gives us strength, courage, and what we need to overcome the many obstacles that evil sends our way on a daily basis.

“Think about it, whatever we put into our bodies, ultimately has an effect on our bodies. Healthy foods keep us healthy. Not-so-healthy foods wear away at us. Alcohol and drugs eat away at us.

“Jesus’ Body and Blood can do nothing, nothing, nothing, but good for us — physically, emotionally and spiritually. And it’s there for us every single day at Mass.

“When the priest raises the host of bread during the consecration and says, ‘Do this in memory of Me,’ it is at that instant the Host becomes our Lord — living and concrete. Whenever that happens at Mass, I can’t help but bow my head in gratitude, humility, shame, and hope, and most of all love. I cannot go through the consecration without bowing my head, and I never will. The same thing happens when the wine is raised and transformed. That is my Lord and my God coming down to me — to you — to everyone there.

“I look at you Father Jeff [Cabral] in awe to know that your hands are instruments in bringing Jesus’ glorified Body to me. I cannot imagine what you must feel at that moment. I look at you, I look at your hands, right now, and say ‘wow. WOW!’

“How are we supposed to believe this? It does sound a bit far-fetched that the bread and wine turn into the actual Body and Blood of the greatest Man Who ever lived. The bread and wine doesn’t change in appearance, doesn’t change in smell, doesn’t change in feel. But nothing could be further from the truth.

“I ask again, how are we supposed to believe this? Let me ask you this: How hard is it to believe that a baby forms in a woman’s womb, and a heart starts beating out of nothing. That heart can continue to beat, on its own, for up to 100 or more years. How? What makes that heart keep beating. I wished my car ran as reliably!

“Let me ask you this, how can we live on planet earth, a planet that is spinning at 1,000 m.p.h. without us getting thrown into space. Not only that, but while we’re spinning at 1,000 miles per hour, we are rotating around the sun at 67,000 m.p.h. How do we stay where we are?

“If you’ve ever been to Disney or any theme park, most of us hold on for dear life when on a roller coaster, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to how fast we’re spinning and rotating right now.

“How?

“God, that’s how. With God all things are possible.

“We believe this happens because He said so. Before He was put to death for you and me, He told us, unless you eat My Body and drink My Blood, you will not have eternal life.”

The song I used for my talk was George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun.”

Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun

And I say, it’s all right

Little darling

It’s been a long cold lonely winter

Little darling

It feels like years since it’s been here

Little darling

The smile’s returning to the faces

Little darling

It seems like years since it’s been here

Little darling

I feel that ice is slowly melting

Little darling

It seems like years since it’s been clear

Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun

And I say, it’s all right

It’s all right

I concluded the talk:

“Every time you go Mass it happens. 

“Here comes the Son. 

“The Son Who can end a long, cold lonely winter.

“The Son Who can return the smiles to our faces.

“The Son Who can thaw the icy cold of our hearts and souls.

“The Son of God.

“Every time we go to Communion, here comes the Son.

“And do you know what I say?

“It’s ALL RIGHT!”

Dave Jolivet can be contacted at davejolivet@anchornews.org.

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