In the world today, we seem to be concerned only with the things of the flesh especially physical food. We know that we are composites of spiritual and material elements, so we desire both; but hardly do we look for those spiritual elements that sustain life, and make it worth living. The physical food we consume is only to keep the flesh growing, and we do our best to consume it enough. We ask ourselves today, what efforts do we make to sustain the life of our souls?
When we eat food, the food becomes part of us, which gives energy to our body to do so many physical activities. When we receive the Eucharist, instead of us assimilating the food, the food assimilates us. Jesus transforms us into His own life. We just heard, "Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me." More and more people of our parish have recognized the importance of adoring the presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Our young people have a real hunger to receive Jesus. Every year our teens go to the Steubenville Conference for spiritual experiences; they say their favorite part of it is the Eucharistic adoration.
This is Jesus. The one who is. When we receive communion or come to adoration, we take within ourselves, or we come before the dynamic, powerful presence who speaks to us through the life He has given us. How great is our God. Pope Benedict XVI wrote that the Eucharist is the dynamic presence of Jesus, that grasps us and makes us His own. He gives the total sacrifice of Himself to His Father.
"This is my body which shall be given up for you. This is the cup of my blood, the new and everlasting covenant that shall be shed for you and for all until the end of time." When we receive the Eucharist, Jesus is present as the servant of God, who in His sacrificial death is saving us all; right here, right now. The Gospel says, "The one who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has life eternal." In the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, Jesus is saving us, all His people, saving us now. We receive Jesus strengthening us and transforming our joys and sorrows into prayers to His Father. Our union with Christ in the Eucharist is union with Christ in passion, death, and Resurrection. Sometimes, we are full of joy of the Resurrection, sometimes the sorrow of the passion, but always we are strengthened. The Lord is always in action. His presence is dynamic. The first reading speaks about the wisdom of God. God has built a house and invited us to a dinner. "Come and eat and drink and live forever," He says. He gives us the dream of living in peace and happiness totally united to Him for all eternity.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta had a rule that when a new comer arrived to join her order the Missionaries of Charity, the very next day the new comer had to go to the Home of the dying. One day a girl from outside India came to join the order. Mother Teresa said to her, "You saw with what love and care the priest touched Jesus in the Host during Mass. Now go to the Home for the dying and do the same; because it is the same Jesus you will find there in the broken bodies of our poor."
Three hours later the new comer came back, and with a big smile said to her, "I have been touching the body of Christ for three hours." "How? What did you do?" Mother Teresa asked her. "When I arrived there," she replied,"they brought in a man who had fallen into a drain and been there for some time. He was covered with dirt and had several wounds. I washed him and cleaned his wounds. As I did so I knew I was touching the body of Christ."
To be able to make that kind of connection, we need our Eucharistic relationship with the Lord. The more we have Him, the hungrier we are for Him. We can't get enough of Him. We never will until we are fully united to Him in Heaven. Today we pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit called Reverence. May we receive the dynamic presence that assimilates us into Himself every time we receive His Body and Blood. We approach the altar with humility and deep gratitude and allow the words of our prayer, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed," to become the realization of so great a gift.