Taste the Goodness of the Lord
20th Sunday Ordinary Times (B)

Frank Enderle
Reproduced with Permission

Today we heard in the Gospel Reading what Jesus said about the Holy Eucharist, His Body and Blood. The Holy Eucharist is a gift from God. And we have to ask ourselves, how is it that the Lord wanted to stay in the tabernacle for us? This shows us that the Lord truly loves humanity; it shows us his desire to help each one of us, all of the time, in our needs. He waits for us: to strengthen the lukewarm and reaffirm the strong. He waits for the sinner to come to Him so that his sins may be forgiven, to give him the necessary strength to fight against Satan’s temptations, repent and return to Him.

If we firmly believe in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, we will constantly say to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, “Thank you for having stayed with us in the Holy Eucharist.” We can never thank Him enough. In spite of this, we see that in many places the Eucharist is frequently ignored and even shoved aside and ignored. To be a Catholic is to firmly believe that Jesus is present in the Blessed Sacrament. We are obliged, precisely because of our faith in Jesus, to try to make His presence known to others, to firmly try our own families about the importance of the Holy Eucharist and then to do likewise with friends and acquaintances. If we believe that Jesus is in the Holy Eucharist, it will be impossible for us to act in any other way.

The Eucharist is the center of all liturgical worship, the center of the sacramental life of the Church. Nevertheless, we only have to go to any Church on Sundays or Holydays or go to a wedding, funeral or a First Communion Mass, to see something very strange. The majority of the people receive Communion but the confessionals are almost always practically empty. Many Christians say, without feeling any shame or trying to hide anything, that they do not receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in other words they don’t go to confession, for long periods of time. Some have not gone in years. Many don’t even go to Mass on Sunday. But when they go to a celebration or, like some Catholics who only go to Mass during the Christmas Season or during Holy Week, these people do receive Communion.

We also see the sad case of many couples who have only been married in civil ceremonies or are just living together without being married, as if they were sacramentally married, who go to Mass and receive the Lord in the Eucharist without being worried about it. Surely, the Lord d0oes invite everyone to receive Communion. But those who know that they have committed grave sins cannot accept this invitation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church shows us that whoever knows that they have sinned gravely cannot receive Communion until they first receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Saint Francis of Assisi, expressing his great faith and love for Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament said, “contrite and confessed, in this manner should we receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord with great humility and veneration.” And he continues by saying, “Remember that the Lord told us: ‘Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have eternal life.’” On another occasion, this saint said to the members of his community, “Therefore, let us repent, as soon and as thoroughly as possible, of all of our sins.”