How many practicing and non-practicing Catholics believe in the real Presence of the Body and Blood of Christ, when He immolates and sacrifices himself in each Eucharist to give us life and life in abundance? Those who are practicing, that is, those who come to the Holy Eucharist every week, how often do they receive Communion or receive the Body of Jesus? And those who say they are Catholic, but do not practice their faith, how do they feed themselves spiritually? Jesus is very clear with his commandment for all of us who call ourselves Catholics, believers, practicing and non-practicing. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” (John 6: 54-55). There are many Catholics who tend to say that they believe in God and even say that they are extremely spiritual people, that they maintain a very intimate relationship with Him; but they do not believe in his Son, Jesus Christ, much less his commandment. These people create gods as they please. They do not believe in the God of life, but other mortal gods.
I have never understood Catholics who say that they don’t need to come to Mass to believe in God; they pray at home because God is everywhere. So I come back to the same thing, if that is your attitude and vision of God, how do you feed yourself spiritually? With whom do you commune or how do you become one with Christ if you do not participate in Holy Mass on weekends?
If we carefully read the Gospel of this Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, we will conclude that many of us resemble the great mass of people who followed Jesus. Many of them followed him, but did not believe in him, much less in his commandment. Many of his disciples, upon hearing Jesus, said: “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Jesus, knowing that his disciples were criticizing his teaching, asked them: “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?” (John 6: 60-62).
I am very sure that many Catholics are shocked by Jesus’ language when speaking of his Body and Blood and for that reason they do not take Communion or come to Mass, and if they come to Mass, they see the host only as a piece of bread and something symbolic. If they really knew that the Body, Soul and Divinity of Jesus is in that host and piece of Bread, they would even cry of happiness and joy, and they would ask Jesus for forgiveness for their indifference, arrogance, pride and dissent.
My Catholic brothers and sisters, let us wake up from our lethargy and ignorance; Jesus is more alive than ever. He gives himself completely and without reservation because he wants us to have life and life in abundance. Everything that Jesus does for us, he does for love and only for love. Let’s respond to that love; otherwise we can lose eternal life.
Peter himself, who had also been scandalized by hearing Jesus’ language, repents; he lets himself be guided by the Holy Spirit, he recognizes him as his Lord and the living Bread that has come down from heaven. From that moment on, many of his disciples withdrew and no longer walked with him. Then Jesus asked the twelve: “Do you also want to go?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? Your words give eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God. ” (Saint John 6, 66-69).
Let’s put aside our human reasoning, have faith in Jesus, and follow his command. Just like Peter, let us be seduced by the Holy Spirit. He will tell us that Jesus is the Bread of life that has come down from heaven; whoever eats his Body and drinks the Blood of Jesus has eternal life. If you don’t believe me, let’s try it and see how good the Lord is. He will give us the peace, tranquility and serenity that we are looking for. Amen.
With love and respect, Father Alberto Villafan, ofm.
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