Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It has been so very gratifying to welcome parishioners and visitors back to Church after the long epidemic shut down. Even though we are not back to pre-Covid attendance, one can see the longing people have to once again in the Holy Presence of Our Lord and to receive Him into their hearts and souls. He gives the consolation and peace that the world cannot give. During the “great absence” surveys have been taken regarding matters of Faith. The results are not encouraging. Some reports claim that less than 50% of the American people have a religious affiliation. Also, the reports suggest that a high percentage of Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. The consequence of this error is that there is a collapse of Faith, of morals, of peace and of true justice. If Catholics do not believe that the Son of God is true to His promise that: “I am with you always until the end of time, then what on this earth could possibly unite us with God and one another. Practicing Catholics in the world keep this world from self-destruction. We are the leaven that Jesus said we must be. How then do we counteract this sad malaise infecting our culture, our nation, our world? Personally, we must all renew our faith using our God-given intellect.
Over the next several weeks, I will include in the Pastor’s note the teaching of the Church regarding the most precious gift given to human kind: The Most Holy Eucharist. (From Sollemnis Professio Fidei, apostolic letter on the Credo of the People of God, proclaimed by Saint Pope Paul VI on June 30, 1968.
We believe that the Mass is the Sacrifice of Calvary rendered sacramentally present on our Altars. We believe that the bread and win consecrated by the priest are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ enthrones gloriously in Heaven, and we believe that the mysterious Presence of the Lord, under what continues to appear to our senses as before, is a true, real, and substantial Presence.
Jesus Christ cannot be thus present in this Sacrament except by the change into His Body and Blood, leaving unchanged only the properties (outward appearances) that our senses perceive. This mysterious change is called by the Church Transubstantiation. The reality of the bread and wine have ceased to exist after the Consecration, so that it is the adored Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus that from then on are really before us the Sacramental species of bread and wine.
The unique and indivisible existence of the Lord glorious in Heaven is not multiplied, but is rendered present by the Sacrament in many places on earth where Mass is celebrated. And this existence remains present, after the Sacrifice, in the Blessed Sacrament, that is in the Tabernacle, or monstrance (for adoration), the living heart of each of our churches.
And it is our very sweet duty to honor and adore in the Blessed Host that our eyes see, and Who, without leaving Heaven, is made present before us.
How can we thank the Lord for so great a gift given to us?