“The Church draws her life from the Eucharist. This truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith, but recapitulates the heart of the mystery of the Church, who joyfully experiences the constant fulfilment of the promise: ‘Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age’ (Matthew 28:20).”
With these words, St. John Paul II begins his final encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia. As we celebrate in our archdiocese our Year of the Eucharist, it is worth reviewing in detail this last letter, written by John Paul the Great in order to “rekindle this Eucharistic ‘amazement.’”
How much is contained in this simple yet profound expression: “Eucharistic amazement.”
What better remedy to the overwhelming lack of faith in the Real Presence registered nowadays among Catholics in our country! Rekindling once and again the amazement of the one who meets the Eucharistic Jesus consciously — we must make of it a habit.
That same amazement of those two who, on their way to Emmaus, meet someone who explains the Scriptures and then breaks the bread, turning invisible at that very instant, leaving their hearts burning when they find that the crucified Jesus is more alive than ever when the bread is broken.
That same amazement of those kids who, after several months of sacramental catechesis, feel in their mouths for the first time the consecrated host, letting it melt delicately on their tongues, becoming aware of the presence of Jesus in their hearts.
That same amazement of the newly ordained priest, who raises for the first time a piece of bread with his trembling hands, as the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father, transforms it into the body of Christ within his fingers.
That same amazement of thousands of pilgrims who witness the eucharistic miracles in different shrines, as tears roll down their cheeks while they gaze upon such a prodigy that overwhelms them.
That same amazement of millions of members of the faithful, who gather with their priests every week to worship Jesus, hidden within the bread from heaven that contains all sweetness.
That same amazement of the dying person, who feels in anguish how his life is escaping with no return, and receives for the last time the Eucharist, experiencing the sudden serenity that allows him to close his eyes, knowing that the viaticum will keep him company along his journey to the heavenly Father’s dwelling.
If someone no longer believes in the Eucharist, it is because he is no longer amazed by this infinite miracle of love, in which the Son of God makes himself so little, simple and humble in order to get inside us.
Let us live our Year of the Eucharist in an intentional, concrete and — most of all — passionate way. Let us be amazed at every Mass like those at Emmaus, closing our eyes after receiving Communion and feeling our hearts burning with the certainty that it is truly Jesus who dwells now within our heart.
Be passionate about our faith!
Northwest Catholic - November 2020