"My Lord and my God!" This exclamation of Thomas in next Sunday's
Gospel reading used to be our exclamation at the raising of the
Eucharist during Mass. It was a tradition that many Catholics have
forgotten in recent years. It would be good to renew this habit. It's
an awe-filled, humble recognition of Christ's Lordship AND of the
reality of his presence in the form of bread and wine.
Pope John Paul II wrote in his encyclical on the Holy Eucharist,
Ecclesia de Eucharistia: "To contemplate Christ involves being able to
recognize him wherever he manifests himself, in his many forms of
presence, but above all in the living sacrament of his body and his
Notice how Jesus convinced the disciples that he had truly come back
to life in the flesh. They thought he was a ghost, or they didn't know
what to think. They found the miracle of the resurrection too
incredible to grasp.
Jesus revealed the truth of the miracle through his wounds. He does
the same for you and me in every Mass.
Through the use of our logic and our senses, it's difficult to grasp
the truth that the bread and wine miraculously become the actual body
and blood of Christ - the same broken and bleeding body that died on
the cross 2000+ years ago. It's even harder to see and understand that
the resurrected Jesus is also there!
During Mass, we enter the timelessness of eternity to benefit from the
living Christ. When we realize that we personally need the sacrifice
he made on Good Friday, because we've sinned, we begin to look at his
wounds from a crucial perspective. It is then that we begin to
understand the truth about the Eucharist.
The first step toward believing in the miracle of the Eucharist occurs
when we want Christ's death to save us from our sins and we want his
resurrection to take us to heaven. The final step occurs when our
desire to unite to Jesus is so thorough that we yearn for him to
consume our lives with his presence. We want the divine Jesus to come
to us in the flesh - in whatever manner he chooses - to transform us
into his likeness.
It is this desire that makes us exclaim whenever we see the Eucharist,
"My Lord and my God!"
Questions for Personal Reflection: Have you ever doubted the real
presence of Jesus in the Eucharist? How do you feel when you look at
the Eucharist? Does your spirit exclaim, "My Lord and my God"? Why or
Ps 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
1 John 5:1-6
Hope is the theme of the First Sunday of Advent. In the readings for Mass, Isaiah describes a future in which all is well because (1) God is recognized as the highest authority and (2) obeying him is the people's highest priority. This vision gave great hope to the oppressed Israelites. Today if we look at this as a description of heaven, it gives great hope to us, too. When we die, "terms" will be "imposed" upon us because we did not stay entirely on the paths of God (a good reason for purgatory), but we will be living in the light of the Lord after death and there will be no more wars to battle.