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“I HAVE LONGED TO HAVE THIS MEAL WITH YOU.”

Father Francis's picture
Corpus Christi

Mk. 14:12-16, 22-26

A man asked 'What do Catholics believe about the Holy Eucharist?' The priest replied, 'It looks like bread, tastes like bread, feels like bread. But once the priest, holding the wafer of bread between his fingers and thumbs at Mass, says over it, “This is my Body” we believe that the Risen Lord’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity is truly present.

The substance of bread is changed into the Risen Lord in what is, in fact, the greatest miracle that takes place every day in our Catholic churches.' The man then said, 'If I were a Catholic, and I believed that, I would never get off my knees adoring Jesus.' His reply gives we Catholics much food for thought. How strong is our belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist?

I remember speaking at a Parish Council Meeting trying to persuade the council members to help me introduce adoration 24 hours a day. They all agreed it was an excellent idea but some thought it was not a very practical one. I could appreciate their point because we were a small and elderly parish. I then took the idea to the priests of the deanery with its12 parishes, some which I thought may be interested in helping our parish. Sadly, it was not to be. They too agreed it was an excellent idea but for security reasons they could not support it. I personally think we missed a wonderful opportunity of showing Our Lord how much we loved Him, and how much we wanted to thank Him for His generosity in being with us every second of every day.

It is sad that we are unable to leave our churches open night and day. Just think if they were left open what a message it would send out to the world. Some people, of course, would think we were fanatics. Perhaps Jesus is a fanatic in leaving Himself with us as a Prisoner in the Tabernacle. Others would have to admit that we have strong beliefs. Still others might wonder what we were doing and why and perhaps be inspired to join us. I think it would certainly bring an increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life and, above all, tell Jesus how much we Catholics appreciate what He did for us.

How did Jesus begin His Last Supper? He sat down at table with His 12 apostles and said, “I have longed to have this meal with you.” Remember who is speaking – God – not just our favourite celebrity. What He says He means. Today is the feast of Corpus Christi and we have to ask ourselves how do we, as a person and in our parishes, respond to the eagerness shown by Jesus. We should all try to receive Him, not just on Sundays, but as often as we can and even every day if possible. When we approach Holy Communion we should prepare our hearts to be as worthy as possible to receive Him.

I think it will be a matter of great regrets if we get to Heaven but have not received Holy Communion as often as we could have done. 'Jesus, I now appreciate how wonderful you are. How sad, how cold, how foolish I was. I had the opportunity to receive you so often in Holy Communion and I didn’t.' Do not wait until you get to Heaven to appreciate the Real Presence but appreciate Jesus now.

I always look upon those people who go to Mass and Holy Communion every day as His special friends. It is He who gives them this special love and grace in the unique way He has to be with us always.

When we come to Holy Communion let our first words be, 'Thank You, Father, for giving me Your Son. Jesus, I love You and thank You for all You have done for me.' There is no better way to start our thanksgiving. May we all receive through the Holy Spirit the grace to be drawn nearer to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

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