According to the “Catechism of the Catholic Church 1324” the Eucharist is the “source and summit” of our faith. This line gets thrown around in
Christian conversations all the time, but what does it really mean for us as Catholics?
Jesus is literally and physically present in the Eucharist. Thinking about that is kind of weird, and it is definitely one of the hardest things in the faith to wrap one’s mind around; so much so that several of Christs’ disciples abandoned Him after He told them that they had to eat His flesh and drink His blood (John 6).
Really though, who can blame them? What I love about Christ’s followers and the Jews in general is they screw up and miss signs from Christ ALL THE TIME. This continual habit of missing what God is telling them is something I find to be very relatable both when it comes to biblical characters, and in my own life, especially when Christ reveals to them the truth about the Eucharist. If you are telling me that you would not leave someone who told you to eat their flesh and drink their blood (prior to thousands of years of church history), then you are either a liar or you have a very, very devout faith that I would love to hear about. I know I would want to leave, and honestly, I probably would.
I say all of this because like I said, thinking about this is weird. Furthermore, it is difficult. Even for practicing Catholics. Explaining to people that we believe Jesus is present in bread and wine is really awkward. This is not one of the easy teachings of the church to begin with, and then the Catechism has the audacity to say that this idea of the Eucharist is both the source and summit of our faith? When that first came out during the ecumenical council of Vatican II in the early 1960s, I am fairly sure that some Catholics struggled with it.
The Eucharist is the source of our faith. This is undeniably true. Eucharistic celebrations have been around since the Last Supper, literally. That being said, it is also one of the biggest differences between the Catholic Church and most other Protestant Christians. Without the Eucharist, physical proof of Christ’s death, resurrection and current presence in our life, our faith has no foundation.
The Eucharist is the summit of our Catholic faith. Ultimately, everything ties back to the Eucharist. There are more miracles than I can count that were caused by our association with the Eucharist. Since there is no faith without the Eucharist, it is made to be very important. And, if in no other way, it is found to be our summit because it is the way we can interact one-on-one, face-to-face with Christ. That is awesome!
I opened by talking about how the Eucharist is hard. It is difficult to understand, appreciate and love because it is beautiful, powerful and wonderful! God has a habit of making the inverse true (the whole “first shall be last” concept). God transforms bread into flesh (this has happened in multiple masses, look it up), and in doing this, He creates this fantastical miracle that can transform people’s lives.
The Eucharist is hard to understand, but once you do, it is so insanely worth it, like getting an A on a test that you have studied really hard for. I also liked challenging you guys last week, so I am going to try to give you a challenge every week. This week, my challenge is to go into a chapel, whichever one makes your heart content, and take 10 minutes in front of the Eucharist to pray, whether that is an additional 10 minutes to time you already spend there, or the first 10 minutes that you have had in front of the Eucharist outside of Mass this year. Extra points if you thank God for the gift of himself in the Eucharist. This is a double-dog-dare, Duhawks.