August 18th, 2019
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!”
Belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist
A recent PEW study revealed that only 1/3 of Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This is tragic. The Eucharist is one of the most significant beliefs for us as Catholics. Indeed, it is the daily bread that Jesus gave to us to receive his life and his strength to follow him as his disciples.
The PEW study showed that 69% of all self-identified Catholics say that the bread and wine used at Mass are only bread and wine, they are only symbols of Jesus, but not really his body and blood. The other 31% said that they believe that the Eucharist is really the body and blood of Jesus.
This teaching that the bread and wine are truly transformed into the body and blood of Jesus is called: Transubstantiation. The Church’s teaching about the Eucharist and transubstantiation come from the words of Jesus himself:
“Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.” (Luke 22:19-20)
“For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” (John 6:55)
Furthermore, Jesus taught us how important it is for us to receive the Eucharist:
“Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.’” (John 6:53-58)
Just a few days ago, the USCCB (United States Council of Catholic Bishops) posted the PEW survey result on their Facebook page, and then they invited people to share: “What are some ideas to solving this issue?”
So, I thought it would be worth asking the same question to all of you. What are some ideas you have to solving the issue of Catholics not believing that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist?
I honestly want your feedback. This is such an important issue. It’s not like, “Oh well, it’s ok if they don’t believe in the Eucharist as long as they are a ‘good person’.” No. As Jesus’ words indicate, the Eucharist is essential for us as his followers.
I invite you to email me, or talk to me in person with any thoughts you might have.
You are in my daily prayers.
God bless you,