The initial years of the 20th Century saw communists seizing a Catholic parish and imprisoning the priest in his own rectory near the church.
After being locked up in his own house, the priest looked out the window and was horrified to see the anti-Catholic militants enter the church.
Once inside, they went into the sanctuary, broke open the tabernacle and in an act of desecration, threw down the ciborium – scattering the Sacred Hosts on the floor.
>> The priest knew exactly how many Hosts had been in the ciborium: Thirty Two.
However, the communists either failed to notice, or didn’t pay any attention to a small girl who had been praying in the back of the Church.
>> She saw everything.
That night the girl returned, and slipping past the guard at the rectory, entered the Church where she made a Holy Hour.
After her Holy Hour, she went into the sanctuary, and kneeling down, bent over and received Jesus in the Holy Communion with her tongue (Since at that time, it was not permissible lay-people to touch the Sacred Host with their hands)
Each night, the girl returned to the church to make her Holy Hour and received Jesus in Holy Communion on her tongue, just as she did the first night.
On the thirty- second night, after having consumed the last Host, she accidentally made a noise that awoke the guard who was asleep at his post by the priest’s residence.
From his bedroom window, the priest could only watch in horror as the heartrending scene unfolded before his eyes:
>> The girl tried to run away…
…. But the guard chased her, grabbed her, and beat her to death with the butt of his rifle!
The little girl had a heroic martyrdom – all because of her tender and deep love for the Holy Eucharist!
It was this incident that would inspire Archbishop Fulton Sheen – one of the greatest 20th century proponents of the Catholic Church – to spend one hour each, daily, before the Holy Eucharist!
>> The daring action of that little girl, inspired the heart of another fervent soul, Fulton Sheen, who would go on to influence millions to love Jesus in the Holy Eucharist!
Today is the great Solemnity of the Corpus Christi – the Body and Blood of Jesus.
The Catechism of the Church declares that “the mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique”
The Catechism teaches, “In the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained” (#1374).
The Holy Mass is not another sacrifice nor a repetition of the sacrifice of Calvary.
• The Holy Mass is the same sacrifice of Jesus – the perpetual continuation and adoration of the sacrifice of Calvary.
The Priest at the Holy Mass is Jesus Himself, the High Priest and Victim of the Sacrifice.
The Holy Eucharist – the Body and Blood of Jesus – is the greatest treasure that the Church offers to Her children…
>> Yet, the Holy Eucharist sometimes, also becomes the great barrier for people to misunderstand and misinterpret the Church.
The same was true even in the time of Jesus.
>> The mention of His Body and Blood caused great division, misunderstanding and led to the misinterpretation of Jesus.
After having provided physical nourishment for the crowd (Lk 9: 11-17), Jesus had declared Himself as “The Bread Of Life” (Jn 6: 35).
The Greek word that is used for “bread” is “artos”.
>> This “artos”….
… refers to food composed of flour mixed with water, and baked.
… also refers to food of any kind or food in general.
As “bread” or “food” is essential for the physical life
… Jesus as “the bread of life” is required for the spiritual life!
Without bread, physical life would perish….
… Without Jesus, the bread, spiritual life would perish!
The Lord surprised His hearers by saying that “the bread that I give is my flesh for the world” (Jn 6:51b)
>> This saying had caused a dispute among the people, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” (Jn 6:52)
The bold declaration of the Lord that He would give His Flesh and His Blood as food and drink, caused a huge scandal among His listeners and it caused deep divisions and disputes.
>> The same is so much true in our own world – when the Church declares the Holy Eucharist to be the True and Real Body and Blood of the Lord, there are so many disputes and divisions.
On this great Feast day, there are questions that arise before us…
>> What is my belief and understanding of this most Treasured Gift of the Holy Eucharist – “the source and summit of Christian Life”
… Do I believe with conviction that Jesus is truly present in the Blessed Eucharist?
… Do I celebrate and participate in the Holy Mass with this Divine Fervour?
>> What is the effect that this Sacrament of Total Self-giving on me?
… Does the reception of Jesus – the Love Incarnate, make me in turn to be more loving towards others and do I make deliberate choices to extend love to all?
… Does the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist impel me also to make sacrifices – even tiny, insignificant, unnoticed – for the cause and good of others?
>> What is my contribution to spread the good news of the Holy Eucharist to others?
… Am I being a person who radiates the love of the Eucharist to others, by my conscious efforts to be respectful, reverent and devoted in the Chapel or Church and also become aware of the Lord’s Presence, when passing by Churches or handling Sacred objects?
… Do I tell to other people about this exciting, real presence of God in the Holy Eucharist – especially the sick, the suffering and those in distress, that they may experience the real healing presence of the Lord?
Jesus – the Bread of Life – in the Holy Eucharist…
… eagerly longs for our reception and our adoration
The tragedy in our life, however, is that very often, this “magnetic” Eucharistic presence remains abandoned and forsaken!
It’s a pity that the Living Lord is hardly visited in the Blessed Sacrament!
>> Chapels and Churches often remain empty and forlorn!
>> Hardly any say “Hello” to the Lord in the Eucharist!
We sometimes are reducing ourselves to a generation seeking only after mighty wonders,
fascinating miracles and attracted only to external sensations!
>> But the Holy Eucharist – the greatest miracle of the world often remains unnoticed!
We need to come to experience that…
>> There is nothing more sublime in this world than the Holy Eucharistic Presence!
>> There is nothing more beautiful than moments spent before the Eucharistic Lord!
>> The Lord waits for us…every moment…every day!
>> The Lord seeks for us…every second…every hour!
We may have different excuses to evade and avoid time before His presence…
>> Maybe too many works and occupations…
>> Maybe a feeling that it is too dry and boring to be with Him…
>> Maybe an attitude that social works suffice and go beyond all such pious devotions…
But no excuse and no theory can give justification to miss the Presence of the Lord!
>> The more we remain with Him, the more we become like Him!
In the midst of daily scuffles and struggles of life, the Holy Eucharist ought to be the strength and support of our lives.
The Holy Eucharist may not give us…
… perfect answers or solutions in the way we expect.
… us immediate responses and remedies in the manner we want.
But the Holy Eucharist will most certainly…
… strengthen us with grace and power to face the challenges with courage.
… infuse us with a deep and intense authority to defy any difficulties that we meet.
… empower us with immense joy and peace in order to withstand the storms of life.
May we grow in the love of the Holy Eucharist, for, as Bishop Fulton Sheen says, “The greatest love story of all time is contained in a tiny white Host”!
And, in turn, may we become a magnetic Presence of the Lord to others!
… Seeking the Eucharist, to be a Eucharist to the other!
… Loving the Eucharist to break and share oneself to the other!
Wish you a very Happy Feast of the Holy Eucharist!
May our Blessed Mamma of the Holy Eucharist, help & intercede for us, to love the Lord more!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
– Fr Jijo Manjackal msfs