June 7, 2024

Christ the Cornerstone

The Eucharist nourishes and sustains Christian life

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson

Eucharist, as the source and summit of Christian life, completes Christian initiation and sustains our life in Christ as missionary disciples. (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1322)

Last weekend, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). In the Gospel reading, St. Mark recalled the words of Jesus that instituted this great sacrament: 

While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many” (Mk 14:22-24). 

We believe that the holy Eucharist nourishes and sustains our life as missionary disciples of Jesus Christ. We believe he is truly present in the form of bread and wine substantially changed into the Lord’s body and blood. We also believe that the grace we receive in the holy Eucharist empowers us to carry out successfully the mission we have received from Jesus to proclaim his good news to the whole world.

The three-year National Eucharistic Revival that the Church in the United States is now celebrating will experience a peak moment this summer (on July 17–21) when tens of thousands of people from all across our country will journey to Indianapolis for the first National Eucharistic Congress in 83 years. Our archdiocese is privileged to welcome our sisters and brothers from our nation’s east and west, north and south, to this historic moment of eucharistic revival for our country and our Church.

The reasons for the National Eucharistic Revival (2022–2025) are given on the revival’s website (www.eucharisticrevival.org): “Our world is hurting. We all need healing, yet many of us are separated from the very source of our strength. Jesus Christ invites us to return to the source and summit of our faith in the celebration of the Eucharist.”

The holy Eucharist, which is the sacrament that unites us with the real presence of Jesus Christ who gives himself to us—body and blood, soul and divinity—is the “source and summit” of our Christian life.

The Eucharist is the sacrament that completes the transformation in grace that was begun at our baptism and was deepened during confirmation. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the Eucharist nurtures and sustains our life in Christ. It makes it possible for us to accept the challenge given to us by Christ to serve as his missionary disciples and to proclaim his Gospel message to the ends of the Earth.

As the Eucharistic Revival’s website explains:

Scandal, division, disease, doubt. The Church has withstood each of these throughout our very human history. But today we confront all of them, all at once. Our response in this moment is pivotal.

In the midst of these roaring waves, Jesus is present, reminding us that he is more powerful than the storm. He desires to heal, renew, and unify the Church and the world.

How will he do it? By uniting us once again around the source and summit of our faith in the celebration of the Eucharist. The National Eucharistic Revival is the joyful, expectant, grassroots response of the entire Catholic Church in the U.S. to this divine invitation.

Jesus is present in many ways, and he reveals himself to us in different forms. He has told us that he, the Word Incarnate, is with us in Scripture. We can meet him in the people we love, in strangers and indeed in all humanity, the brothers and sisters of our common Father in heaven. But Jesus is most powerfully present to us in his gift-of-self to us in the bread and wine that are miraculously transformed into his own body and blood.

Jesus unites himself with us in holy Communion. He then sends us out to be united with the rest of God’s family and, together, to change the world. How blessed we are to be one in Christ! How blessed we are to have the opportunity to encounter the Lord of life in a deeply personal, intimate way and, at the same time, to be connected to the rest of humanity by the power of the Holy Spirit!

As we prepare to welcome pilgrims from all over the country next month, let’s ask our Lord to renew our devotion to him in the holy Eucharist. Let’s be sure to attend Sunday Mass and to participate fully in this sacrificial banquet of Christ’s love. Jesus is truly present to us in the Eucharist. Let’s welcome him into our hearts and into our daily lives. †

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