May We All Be One in Christ as We Rekindle Our Love for the Eucharist
Many Catholics today struggle to believe the Eucharist is more than a symbol, that Christ is truly present, according to a Pew Research study. This troubling trend prompted the U.S. Bishops to establish a Eucharistic Revival, which begins this month.
The revival will include efforts to educate and inspire, to move hearts, to celebrate the great gift Jesus gave us on Holy Thursday, when he transformed the traditional Jewish Passover meal into the life-giving sacrament of his Body and Blood.
On that night Jesus said: “’Take [this bread] and eat; this is my body’. Then he took a cup [of wine] … and gave it to them, saying, ‘…this is my blood’” (Mt 26:26-28).
Jesus was not using a metaphor; having transformed bread and wine into his body and blood, he was speaking literally: “…my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink” (Jn 6:55).
But like the disciples who heard Jesus say these words 2000 years ago, many Catholics today respond: “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” (Jn 6:60).
Our 21st century minds seek facts, logic and reason. But it is the “sacred mysteries” we celebrate at Mass, not the sacred explanations – it is not our intellect that is fed at Mass, but our faith.
We come to Mass because our hearts yearn to be one with the Lord, to be in communion with him. As St. Augustine describes it, “Our hearts are restless until they rest” in the Lord.
So when we receive Holy Communion, his true body and blood, we are in communion with him: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (Jn 6:56). This fulfills Jesus’ desire “that they may be one just as we [Father and Jesus] are” one (Jn 17:11).
Thus the U.S. bishops seek for “Catholics across the United States [to be] healed, converted, formed, and unified by an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist—and sent out in mission ‘for the life of the world.’”
On June 18, the Saturday before the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), the Diocese of Austin will launch our Eucharistic Revival. Mass will be celebrated at 8:30 a.m. at San José Parish in Austin. Our bishop will lead us in a one-mile procession to the Main Building at St. Edward’s University. There Bishop Vásquez will lead Eucharistic Adoration with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction.
“This will be a great witness to show who we are as Catholics. Every time we receive the Eucharist, we are encouraged to take Christ into our communities, our families, schools, workplaces, hospitals and neighborhoods. That’s what it means to be a Eucharistic people – to bring Christ to all,” Bishop Vásquez says in this month’s interview (Page 13).
Over the next three years, the diocese will coordinate with parishes to offer other educational and liturgical opportunities to educate and inspire the faithful in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Visit austindiocese.org/eucharistic-revival for more diocesan resources. The USCCB offers additional resources at eucharisticrevival.org.
Blessed Carlo Acutis has been named patron of the Eucharistic Revival. He wrote: “the more often we receive the Eucharist, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of heaven.”
The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith, and Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. May we all be one in the Lord and in solidarity with one another as we enter into exploring the sacred mystery of Christ truly present in the Eucharist – the bread of life!