By CARDINAL TIMOTHY M. DOLAN
You sticking with me? This time of Eucharistic Revival I’ve been writing on the Holy Eucharist as a meal, a sacrifice and, now, as the Real Presence.
Turn back the dial to the first Easter evening. Two of the closest friends of Jesus were walking away from Jerusalem, to a village called Emmaus, dejected and desperate because the one they believed to be the promised Savior had been cruelly put to death the Friday before.
Along came Jesus. They don’t recognize Him. He patiently explains things to them, and gradually begins to restore their hope. They stop at Emmaus, and He starts to leave them. They beseech Him, “Stay with us, Lord!”
How does Jesus, just risen from the dead, answer that plea? He enters the inn with them; He sits at table with them; He takes bread and wine; He blesses it…the two disciples are ecstatic! This is He! He has risen! He just did again what He did the Thursday evening before He died, at His Last Supper with us! They had recognized Him “in the breaking of the bread”—The Eucharist!
He is present here with us at this meal, they realized, in this bread and wine! And with that, Jesus disappeared…
But He had answered that plea, “Stay with us, Lord!” in the Holy Eucharist!
Get it? Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, true God, and true man, is really and truly present, body, blood, soul, and divinity, in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
He is present when we receive Him worthily in Holy Communion—that’s why the Mass is a meal;
He is present on the altar as we offer Him in adoration, supplication, thanks, and contrition at Mass— that’s why the Eucharist is a sacrifice;
And He remains really and truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament when carried to the sick, when reserved in the tabernacle, when “shown off” in Eucharistic exposition, or carried in procession.
We point to His Real Presence with the sanctuary lamp next to the tabernacle;
We acknowledge the Divine Presence as we genuflect as an act of adoration;
We savor the company of Christ as we pray before the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Where are you, Lord?
The people of Israel so often cried out like that…so do we!
Where are you, Lord? In all this violence, strife, war, poverty, abortion, immorality, rejection of your will, injustice, hatred, sickness, fear…Where are you, Lord?
Stay with us, Lord!
“I do” He whispers to us. “ I am with you always, until the end of time in many ways.”
One of the most glowing ways . . . His Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament.