There are a number of differences between Catholics and the hundreds of christian denominations around the world. But the one difference that really separates us is our absolute belief that the bread and wine we use at the mass truly does transform into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. We believe in this because we accept the words that Christ says in scripture. It is the same words from scripture that we use in the mass. “...Take, eat; this is my body…” (Mathew 26:26-29) Even before the last supper, Jesus tells his disciples, and his other followers “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, you will have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” This is said during what Catholics refer to as the “Bread of Life discourse” (John 6:50-58) When Jesus is so blunt, it’s hard to imagine that he is talking metaphorically or symbolically.
In this time of COVID it seems that the Eucharist has been diminished to somewhat of a choice. The Eucharist has become optional as if the words of Jesus no longer are true. Most people that have not gone to mass over the past ten plus months probably don’t fully understand the weight of the Eucharist in our faith. People refuse to go to mass because they are scared to lose their lives, but forget that without the Eucharist our lives are already forfeit. This pandemic has given Catholics an excuse to not put Jesus at the center of our lives, and believe me, I am guilty of it myself. But the Eucharist is not a choice if we are truly striving for eternal life. We cannot be Christ to one another if we do not have Christ physically in us. Satan would like us to diminish the importance of the Eucharist to be a symbolic gesture of Jesus to his followers. But Jesus gave himself fully to us on the cross, and he gives us his full self every day in the sacrifice of the mass. He is truly present in the Eucharist and that belief is a cornerstone of our faith as Catholics.
“He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.”