St Francis Q&A

Friday, June 30, 2006

The Eucharist is Jesus' risen body

This is sort of a repeat post on this site, but it's new to the St Andrew's site. There might be a few of these as I get that site started. It never gets old talking about the most enriching parts of our faith, especially the Eucharist.
When I introduced myself the first weekend at St Andrew's, I mentioned that for the first twenty years of my life, I thought that the Eucharist was just a symbol of the Body and Blood of Christ. I'm sure, at some point, that I'd been taught about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, having been raised in a strong Catholic home and gone through fourteen years of Catholic school. I just didn't get it.

Years ago, a study revealed that about 70% of Catholics believe that the Eucharist is merely a symbol, a representation of Christ's flesh and blood. From where did I get this erroneous understanding? From where do the 70% get it? There are, at least, a few possible answers, but these are more rhetorical questions than anything for my purposes here.

It was pretty much one conversation with a priest that changed my understanding, and changed my life. Fr. Tom Wells was a good friend with whom I played golf regularly (the 19th Hole was our favorite), went on beach trips, and discussed everything under the sun - religion, politics, sports, etc. He was a great priest who was brilliant, funny (probably the funnest person I've ever met), holy, and a 100 % believer in the Eucharist.

One day when I was twenty-one, I was sitting in Fr. Wells' office, shooting the breeze with my buddy. I somehow blurted out, "well, you know, Father, the Eucharist is just a symbol". "What??", he said. "It's a ...symbol?", I said very shakily. He replied in a very casual but firm manner, "Greg, 'this is my body' means 'THIS IS MY BODY'". I was simultaneously dumbfounded, intrigued, inspired, and curious the moment these words registered in my mind and heart. That was the moment the light bulb went on: FINALLY, I GOT IT!

We continued talking about how the Eucharist is really Jesus' Body and Blood. Fr Wells explained to me that Jesus doesn't die over and over again at every Mass; Scripture says that Christ died once and for all (see Rom 6:10, Heb 7:27). The Eucharist that is present on the altar at Mass, in the tabernacle in the Church, and that we receive in Holy Communion is the RISEN body of Christ. This realization changed my life (I will write more about this in a future post).

"The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world" - Jn 6:51.


  • Amen !! keep posting about the Eucharist. It is sad but believable when you say 70% of Catholics don't believe that the Eucharist does become the true body and blood of Christ. And maybe that is because they just haven't heard or been taught in a way they understand. Although if those people are looking for a logical or scientific explanation for why or how this happens, then they just may never get it ! Like with you, Fr. Greg, it just takes the right person to talk to that makes it all click and to finally "get it".

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:31 PM  

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