It is easy to get caught up in the minutia, habits, and routine of everyday life and become immune to the meaning of it. As true as that is for our day jobs or family life, it’s true for our spiritual lives as well: We can easily forget the true presence of God at Mass and in the Eucharist, and we need to remind ourselves of the magnitude of this sacrifice.
On a recent episode of Morning Air®, Monsignor James Shea joined John Morales to talk about ways to educate the youth about the importance of the Holy Eucharist and its role in our salvation. “We say ‘Who’ is present [in the Holy Eucharist] because the Holy Eucharist contains the body and blood, the soul and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Our Savior.” Emphasizing that this sacrament is not simply a symbol or metaphor for the body of Christ, John stated that it should be emphasized to all Catholics that God is in the Eucharist, not just a divine bystander.
Monsignor Shea validated John’s point, adding, “We believe that Jesus Christ is really present in the Holy Eucharist, body, blood, soul, and divinity; that he’s really present, he’s truly present, and he’s substantially present.” Holy Communion is the sacrament which completes and fulfills Catholic initiation into the Faith, and such an impactful step in a Catholic’s life would lose all significance if Christ were not truly present in it.
Monsignor Shea, who was inaugurated as President of the University of Mary in 2009, found that the lack of proper education on matters like this is at the forefront of declining beliefs. “We need to engender in young people, especially this tender college age, when people are coming of age, when they’re determining what their lives really are about, it’s important to engender in them a sacramental vision of the world,” said Monsignor Shea. He went on emphasizing that the Eucharist is the “pinnacle” of their young, Christian lives and without a firm belief in transubstantiation, that central support begins to crumble.
Shea submitted that even in the Gospel, people found it impossible to follow Christ once they heard his teaching on the Holy Eucharist. “Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.’” (John 6:53). It was so shocking and unheard of to speak so literally that many followers left Jesus, saying that this teaching was too difficult to adhere to. When Jesus asked if His Apostles would leave him, they stood by Him. We should take after them, the Apostles who trusted in God’s word, in His will, and in His true presence in the Eucharist.
Listen to the full talk below:
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