By Kari Bergmann
Recently we celebrated the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, or Corpus Christi Sunday. “Corpus Christi is a Eucharistic solemnity, or better, the solemn commemoration of the institution of that sacrament. It is, moreover, the Church's official act of homage and gratitude to Christ, who by instituting the Holy Eucharist gave to the Church her greatest treasure.” On this day we should do our best to honour Christ, present in the Eucharist, by attending Mass or Adoration if possible or by finding ways to do so from home. If you are unable to come into the Lord’s presence in Mass or Adoration be especially attentive to the Mass readings for Sunday and offer up and act of spiritual communion. The readings reveal the Scriptural foundations for our understanding of the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. In the Gospel reading from John, Christ tells us that “whoever eats [his] flesh and drinks [his] blood has eternal life” and that his “flesh is true food and [his] blood is true drink.” Our understanding of the Eucharist was largely shaped by these words of Christ and many Jewish people rejected him because of this teaching.
If you can set aside an hour of time this week, I highly recommend Bishop Robert Barron’s video on “The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist”. In it, Bishop Barron addresses a concerning study done in the United States that revealed that 70% of Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Bishop Barron explores the history of Catholic teaching on the Eucharist beginning with Sacred Scriptures and the Early Church Fathers. He rejects the notion that the roots of Catholic teaching on the Real Presence are not Biblical but a later invention. The teaching of the Eucharist began with the words of Christ. Bishop Barron’s talk clearly illustrates that there is something much more than the merely symbolic present in the Eucharist. I recommend that anyone who is having doubts about the Real Presence and those who would like to learn more about the history of the Eucharist listen to this talk. You can find it here.
Additionally, Holy Family Parish will be beginning a four-week online faith formation program on the Eucharist later this month, starting Sunday June 28th. Fr Pearce and Christian and Kari Bergmann will be leading ‘Presence: The Mystery of the Eucharist’ which is available on Formed. “Presence’ explores the truth and beauty of Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist, from its origins in Sacred Scripture, to its profound role in the life of the Church and her members. These Sunday morning studies will be available to parishioners who would like to join remotely via Zoom and to a limited number of participants who can meet in-person. The sessions will run from approximately 9:30-11am. More details about the program and how to register will be available on Holy Family’s website soon. We hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity to grow in love and understanding of the Eucharist.