“Ask Jesus Christ that, if you will ever commit a mortal sin, that He will take you today, since your souls are as pure as the snow on the mountains. Pray to Him for your parents, the authors of your existence. For those who have lost their parents, this is the moment to seek to be united with them. Yes, you are approaching to become witnesses of the intimate union of your souls with Jesus Christ. Look at the angels of the altar, dear little girls. Look at them, they envy you. All heaven is present.”
—Words of Monsignor Jara to Blessed Teresa of the Andes First Communion Class at Mass before receiving Jesus for the first time.
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“The more ardent the love for the Eucharist in the hearts of the Christian people, the more clearly will they recognize the goal of all mission: to bring Christ to others. Not just a theory or a way of life inspired by Christ, but the gift of his very person. Anyone who has not shared the truth of love with his brothers and sisters has not yet given enough.” -Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI
“This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19
The Catholic Church teaches the doctrine of transubstantiation, namely, that in the Eucharist, the communion wafer and the altar wine are transformed and really become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Have you ever met anyone who has found this Catholic doctrine to be a bit hard to take?
If so, you shouldn’t be surprised. When Jesus spoke about eating his flesh and drinking his blood in John 6, his words met with less than an enthusiastic reception. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” (V 52). “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (V60). In fact, so many of his disciples abandoned him over this that Jesus had to ask the twelve if they also planned to quit. It is interesting that Jesus did not run after his disciples saying, “Don’t go! I was just speaking metaphorically!”
How did the early Church interpret these challenging words of Jesus? Interesting fact. One charge the pagan Romans lodged against the Christians was cannibalism. Why? You guessed it. They heard that this sect regularly met to eat and drink human blood. Did the early Christians say: “wait a minute, it’s only a symbol!”? Not at all. When trying to explain the Eucharist to the Roman Emperor around 155 AD, St. Justin did not mince his words: “For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God’s word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the word of prayer which comes from him … is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus.”
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A lot of misinformed people think that the priest is “re-sacrificing” Christ on the altar at each Mass. But, in fact, the same Last Supper is being “re-PRESENTED” to us, through time and space, at the altar. It’s like the sun coming up each morning. The sun which we see each dawn is not a new sun; rather, it is the same sun that has been there all along, but has been hidden to us, due to the curvature of the earth. It is, however, re-presented to us each day, just like the Eucharist is re-presented to us each day, as our daily bread from heaven. It’s a wonderful thing to be present at the same Last Supper that the apostles were at! This is the whole meaning of the Greek term “anamnesis” that Jesus used at the Last Supper – “Do THIS in remembrance (anamnesis) of me.” Anamnesis means to make a past sacrifice present today. This is EXACTLY how the Jews view their Passover meal – “WE are being freed from slavery TONIGHT!” It’s important to know that the word “remember” in the Bible doesn’t mean to just think about a past event. “REMEMBER TO KEEP HOLY THE LORD’S DAY” doesn’t mean to roll over on Sunday and remember, “Oh yeah, it’s the Lord’s Day,” and then do nothing else. “REMEMBER TO KEEP HOLY THE LORD’S DAY” means to go and be present with the Lord in His Church! When the good thief on the cross told Jesus to “Remember me in your Kingdom,” he didn’t mean for Jesus to get to heaven and say, “I remember that thief on the cross. Too bad about him!” No, “Remember me in your Kingdom” is a statement that meant that the good thief was to be present with the Lord in Heaven. And when someone says to “remember your wife on her birthday,” one had better do more than just remember her birthday mentally and do nothing else. No, you better celebrate and do something physically with her!
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“Taking Communion unworthily can result in sickness or death, so be sure you are in a state of grace before taking the Eucharist”