Catholic Teachings to Enrich the Faith

The Third Sunday of Lent

March 3, 2024

Understanding the Profound Reality of the Real Presence

 

 

A profound mystery lies in the heart of Christian faith—the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. It’s not merely a symbolic gesture or metaphorical language; it’s an authentic and substantial presence of Jesus Christ Himself. This doctrine encapsulates Christ’s promise to remain with us “always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20), offering solace and companionship throughout our earthly journey.

St. Thomas Aquinas beautifully articulated this truth, affirming friendship entails living together. In the sacrament of the Eucharist, Christ bridges the gap, joining us in our pilgrimage by offering His body and blood as a tangible reality (Summa Theologiae, III q. 75, a. 1). This divine presence enriches the Church, becoming a tangible expression of God’s enduring love and grace.

But what exactly is the Eucharist? It epitomizes Christ’s love for humanity—a tangible manifestation of His boundless mercy. Each Mass presents us with a unique opportunity to encounter Jesus personally, to feel the warmth of His love, and to be transformed by His grace. However, our hearts must be open and receptive to this encounter. It begins with a humble acknowledgment of our need for Jesus Christ—a simple prayer, “Jesus, I need you,” that paves the way for His tender love and mercy to flood our souls as we partake in Holy Communion.

The term “Eucharist” itself signifies thanksgiving—an expression of gratitude for the indescribable gift of Christ’s presence. Jesus, in His earthly ministry, lamented that many longed to witness what His disciples were privileged to experience (Mt 13:17). In the Eucharist, we not only receive the precious gift of Jesus Christ but also offer heartfelt gratitude to God for His immeasurable blessings.

This act of thanksgiving is not just a religious obligation; it’s a profound acknowledgment of the transformative power of Christ’s sacrifice. As Jesus Himself proclaimed, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (Jn 6:54). Through the Eucharist, we partake in the very essence of life, nourishing our souls with the divine sustenance that leads to eternal communion with God. In essence, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist transcends human comprehension. It’s a sacred mystery that invites us to deepen our faith, to embrace the fullness of God’s love, and to partake in the eternal banquet prepared for us. Let us approach the altar with reverence and awe, knowing that we encounter the living God Himself in the humble elements of bread and wine each time we are blessed to receive the Eucharist at the celebration of the Mass. Yet, we can experience the profound presence of the Lord at our parish Adoration Chapel—a sacred sanctuary for prayer, reflection, and communion with God. Located through the church’s main entrance, our Chapel invites you to encounter the Eucharistic presence of Jesus Christ throughout the day. Join us in adoration as we behold the Blessed Sacrament from Wednesdays at 9 am through Saturdays at 8 am.

May we always cherish the profound reality of the Real Presence and strive to deepen our faith in Jesus Christ, who offers us the gift of eternal life through the sacrament of the Eucharist.

Going on at OLPH:

CATHOLIC MEN’S FELLOWSHIP CONFERENCE– The 25th Anniversary CMF Conference will occur on Saturday, March 9, at St. Philip Neri Church in Linthicum. Activities include presentations, Reconciliation, and Adoration. Tickets ($50) cover all programming, breakfast, lunch, and refreshments. Volunteers attend for free. Vendors will offer Catholic items and resources. Visit the Catholic Men’s Fellowship of Maryland website for details, speaker bios, and registration: https://catholicmensfellowship.com/. This year’s theme: “Jesus Christ – Yesterday, Today, and Forever” (Heb. 13:8). Key speakers: Peter Herbeck, EVP and Director of Missions for Renewal Ministries, and Dr. Edward Sri, founding leader of FOCUS.

IGNATIAN VOLUNTEER CORPS – Parishioners, 55 years of age or better, are encouraged to consider a year-long commitment (September to June) to service and spirituality with the Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC). Do you want to give back, enrich your spiritual life, and build community with other mature adults? As a member of the IVC, you’ll be able to serve those in need one or two days a week while participating in spiritual formation in a community of peers committed to service. Join them for a one-hour Zoom Information Session on March 5 at 10:00 a.m. Register at: ivcusa.org/Baltimore.

THE VIGIL PROJECT- TRUE PRESENCE NIGHT – You are invited to a Lenten True Presence Night with nationally acclaimed musicians The Vigil Project on Thursday, March 7th at 7:00 pm at St. Bartholomew, 2930 Hanover Pike, Manchester, MD! The evening will include amazing music, dynamic talks, and Adoration and prayer. All are welcome!