Colleen Mallette reflects on three highlights of what she learned about the Holy Eucharist from the Catechism in a Year podcast.
The Catholic Church is celebrating three years of a Eucharistic Revival to remind all Catholics of the beauty and grace of receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist every time they attend Mass. We just advanced to the second year where the focus is switched from the diocesan level to the parish level of celebration and awareness.
What a perfect time to have it coincide with the coverage of the Sacrament of the Eucharist by Fr. Mike Schmitz in the Ascension Press podcast of the Catechism in a Year. There is so much depth and detail covered in the Catechism that everyone can learn something new and increase their adoration and appreciation of receiving this grace-filled sacrament daily. If you would like to listen to just the days about the Eucharist, you can find them on Ascension Press Catechism in a Year days 180-194.
I am so glad I purchased a new copy of the Catechism because I gave myself permission to underline and write in the margins of this new copy. In this section especially of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, there are barely any white spaces left in my book! Fr. Mike gave so many exciting insights into why we, as Catholics, believe that the Eucharist is truly the Presence of Jesus, and why this is called the “Sacraments of all sacraments” and the “Source and Summit of Ecclesial life” (1330 and 1324). In fact, this is what all Christians believed and practiced for 1500 years after the Ascension of Jesus—up until the Protestant Reformation.
Here are three comments that Fr. Mike made while explaining this Sacrament that impacted me:
Mass is an active 2-way street of giving and receiving.
As Fr. Mike has often repeated, but specifically regarding paragraph 1330 of the Catechism (CCC): “the heart of all religion is worship, and the heart of all worship is sacrifice.” We as Catholics are so blessed to be able to participate daily in this sacrificial worship. We go to Mass to receive Jesus in the Eucharist but we also go to offer our thanksgiving and praise to the God of all creation and salvation. So we sacrifice an hour of our time and give our active worship, which God lovingly receives, but He blesses us so much more in what He gives back to us through the Liturgy of the Word and Eucharist.
God made Sunday Mass a commandment, but He prefers we attend because we want to.
“It matters to God that we show up to Mass, by our own choice, and with an open heart,” Fr. Mike said (CCC 1356). God wants us to attend Sunday Mass not out of fear of Him or with a closed heart just because of a sense of obligation. He wants us to be there and actively participate in the worship because we love Him and want to be there. In fact, in paragraph 1336 of the Catechism, we learn that when we “receive in faith the gift of His Eucharist we receive the Lord Himself,” to which Fr. Mike added, “and when we reject the gift of His Eucharist (by not attending weekly Mass), we are rejecting the Lord Himself.” We hurt God when we don’t choose to be with Him at least once a week to thank Him, to seek to know Him more in order to grow our relationship, and to receive Jesus in our hearts and bodies.
The Holy Eucharist is truly Jesus’ body and blood, soul and divinity.
Fr. Mike said that God knows we aren’t ready to witness Jesus in His full glory here on earth, but receiving Him in a veiled essence of bread and wine prepares us for a taste of heaven and still makes Him as approachable and accessible as He was on earth (CCC 1404). The Catechism states that in the Eucharist we receive the same body that walked our earth 2000 years ago (1365). But out of sheer goodness and love for us, God allows the transformed elements we receive to still taste like bread and wine instead of flesh and blood for our benefit (1375). It is difficult for us to grasp, but if we remember that the Power of all Powers could create the universe with just a word, of course He can accomplish this mystery with just the words spoken by a priest in Jesus’ name and memory.
I loved Fr. Mike’s concluding comment on the last day of discussing the Holy Eucharist Sacrament:
The whole point of the Bible is to get us to go to Mass, so God can feed us with His love and get us to heaven, so don’t be numb or take this gift for granted!
Copyright 2023 Colleen Mallette
Images: copyright 2019 Holy Cross Family Ministries, all rights reserved
About the Author
Colleen is the proud mother of three young adults. She loves being a full-time stay-at-home mom and a part-time bookkeeper for her husband. She likes to read, write, scrapbook, and volunteer, and is excited to use her talents to share God’s love and the hope of His promises through CatholicMom.com. Colleen is co-author of “In Godʼs Hands, Miracles in the Lives of Moms” and blogs at Colleen's Contemplations.