School has been out for a couple of weeks, so I thought we would start with a little quiz. One question, three choices, pass/fail, so you have a 33% chance of getting it right by just guessing. It is a simple question; most Catholics should know the answer to: Which of the following expresses our belief in the Eucharist? A. The Eucharist is the remembrance of Jesus’ death for us. B. The Eucharist is truly the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. C. The Eucharist is a mere symbol of Jesus’ Body and Blood. If you are awake and actually took the quiz and answered B, you are correct. If not, don’t feel bad, after all a recently study showed that 45% of Catholics would get this wrong. That is a scary thought. One of the core tenants of what we believe in our faith, 45% of Catholics would get it wrong.
But can you really blame them? Have you stopped to realize how utterly unthinkable it is, that every time we come to Mass, that little piece of bread becomes the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ? You know as Catholics who come week in and week out, it can be so easy for us just to take it for granted or so easy for us to miss the great miracle that it is. But if we take Jesus at His word, there is no other option. The Eucharist must truly be His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
Well you say, well that doesn’t make sense. How can this bread become His Body? Don’t forget that we are dealing with God, the one who spoke existance into being. He created the world out of nothing; He can certainly take bread and make it His Body. If you are still not convinced open your bible and see the great things God does. In the Old Testament, He takes the Nile River and turns it into blood. If He can make water blood, He can take bread and make it His Body. When the Israelites are lost in the wilderness and they need something to eat, He makes bread appear every morning on the ground. If He can make bread appear out of nowhere, He can take bread and make it His Body. Think forward to Jesus’ first miracle. What is it? That’s right he takes water and turns it into wine. If Jesus can take water and make it wine, He can take bread and make it His Body.
Look the only logical conclusion is to recognize that the Eucharist is truly what Jesus says it is. It is His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. “Since then He Himself declared and said of the Bread, This is my Body, who shall dare to doubt any longer? And since He Himself affirmed and said, This is My Blood, who shall ever hesitate saying that it is not His Blood?” I mean I think it is one of the basic tenants of Christianity, that we believe what Jesus says.
Go a little further and go to John chapter 6 and Here is, He has just fed 5,000 people with a couple loafs of a bread and a few fish, He has just given those great teachings of the beatitudes and then He turns and says “unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you do not have eternal life.” That’s the most clear teaching we get from Jesus in the scriptures. Time and time again, Jesus teaches us through parables and stories. He doesn’t tell a story here; He just comes out and says it. If you want to go to heaven, you have to eat my body and when people are maybe justifiably a little uneasy about that they start to walk away. Jesus doesn’t say, let me explain the story for you and tell you so you understand. No, He doubles down, unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you cannot have eternal life. Does it get any more clear than that?
We friends, what happens every time we come here to Mass? What is about to happen in just a few moments. We will come forward and I will say, the Body of Christ, and your response will be … Amen, I believe. What more in this life could we ask for than the one thing that we need for eternal life? What more in this life could we ask for than to be so close to Jesus, that He actually enters into our body? Yet, sadly only 33% of our parishioners go to Mass on Sunday. That’s better than the archdiocesan average and way better than the national average, but only a third. Now if you are here you probably asking, why you have to hear this. Well maybe you are one of the people who was forced to come today, in which case this homily is for you. But even if you weren’t forced, think about our own attitude. How often do we come to church, week in and week out, which is great, but it just becomes habit; we show up, we participate and we go home, we show up, we participate and we go home. What is our attitude when we walk forward to receive Holy Communion? Do we truly realize the great gift that we are about to receive?
Look Jesus gives us everything. He gives us His Body which He says we need for eternal life. What is our response to that? You know I guarantee if instead of giving out the Eucharist, I was giving out gold or silver, we would be the most popular church in the world. But you are getting something far greater. The challenge for us is to open our eyes and to see with those eyes of faith, the great things that God has given us.
Today, the Church gives us this feast of Corpus Christ, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, to remind us of that great gift we are receiving. To once again, jar us a little bit to recognize that maybe we have gotten to a sense of complacency, but it is time for each of us to wake up. It is time for each of us to realize what we are actually receiving. So when you approach the altar to receive Communion today, what will you see? What will you be thinking? What will you be holding in your heart? How we answer that question determines whether we truly believe that the Eucharist is truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. And so as the Church invites us to stop and realize the great gift that we have been given in the Eucharist, I think it leaves us with a twofold task. First, promote this great gift. To remind others that all they need for eternal life is contained in that one little host offered to us each time we come to Mass. But before we do that, today’s feat invites us to look inwardly at ourselves to ask do I really believe, do I recognize what I’m about to do and do I really receive the Eucharist as though it is really Jesus Himself, because it really is.
 Pew Research Center. Who Knows What About Religion September 28, 2010 accessible at http://www.pewforum.org/2010/09/28/u-s-religious-knowledge-survey-who-knows-what-about-religion/
 St. Cyril of Jerusalem. Lecture 22 Chapter 4 paragraph 1. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/310122.htm
 John 6:53