Published August 27, 2020, 4:29 PM

by Fr. Emeterio Barcelon, SJ


Fr. Emeterio Barcelon, SJ

Many faithful rue that they cannot attend Mass because of the pandemic. Sometimes we take for granted what we had on a regular weekly basis. With the pandemic, we have been deprived of the greatest of gifts. During the first century, the normal Jew thought of blood as the seat of life. And as many of those who listened to Jesus could not accept what He promised to give them and they walked away. Jesus asked His disciples if they would also leave. And Peter answered that they have nowhere else to go. They would remain loyal even though they could not understand what He was promising them. He promised to give them His flesh and blood. And He asked them to do it in remembrance of Him. In the Mass we have the miracle of the bread and wine changing into His Body and Blood. It was not a greater miracle than the Word of God taking on human flesh and lived in this world to save us from our sins and unfaithfulness. God became man in Jesus of Nazareth.

Twenty centuries later, we still do what He asked us to do in memory of Him. We have forgotten many of the things that He taught. But the Eucharist we have not forgotten and we celebrate Mass every day that we can. It is the same miracle that happened when he offered Himself on the Cross. That is the same sacrifice that we continue at every Mass.  The crucifixion was just another Roman crucifixion in punishment of a crime if it is not linked with the last supper that He had with His disciple in which He took bead and wine and transported them into His Body and Blood. He promised that those would drink this drink would never thirst again. And those who would eat this bread would not hunger again and would enter into His heavenly kingdom.

Many have given up their lives in witness to this miracle from the first century to our day, from St. Ignatius of Antioch in the first century to Bishop Romero of our times. This miracle they believed and we too believe that the bread becomes the Body of Christ every time the priest pronounces the word of consecration over that bread. This is the belief that we have. That this is the way Jesus will stay with us till the end of time. We have Hosts that have bled over the centuries. In Santarem in Portugal they preserve the Host that bled some centuries ago but also in Argentina only recently with the witness of Bishop Bergoglio, now Pope Francis.

This is a basic tenet of our faith. As a Catholic we believe that Jesus in truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.

Many churches have set up chapels of adoration where people can adore and worship the Blessed Sacrament. And on the feast or Corpus Christi, we carry in procession the Blessed Sacrament where only men participate in the procession. The women adore in the sidelines. This is our faith that in which Jesus will stay with us till the end of time.

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