(4.34) The Institutional Narrative and Consecration (Part 2)
The Real Presence of Christ
The presence of Christ in the Eucharist is one of the many wonderful mysteries of the Catholic Faith. But how did the Bread and wine become the Body Blood of Christ? Let us explore further our Faith.
a) The Power of Christ’s Words
Jesus words are of immense power that when he casted out demons (Mt 8:28-34) all he had to say was “Go” and they went. When Jesus said “Lazarus, come out!” ; Lazarus did come out from his tomb and had risen from death (Jn 11:43-44).
So what do you think happens to the bread when Jesus says; "Take, eat; this is my body" (Mt 26:26)?
b) The Reality
I sometimes wonder that it would have been much better if Jesus just changed the physical nature of the bread and wine as well when he said it is his Body and Blood. But on second thought, didn't he do similar miracles already when he changed the physical presence of water into wine at the wedding in Cana (Jn 2) and when he fed around 5,000 men with just five loaves and two fish (Mt 14). Yet doubt still lingered on his followers.
I guess it is in the nature of peopleto doubt and even if he changes the appearance of bread and wine, many will still not believe. For the physical change that he did in the Scriptures were meant to quench their hunger and thirst; but in the Eucharist, he intends to provide nourishment and salvation for our soul which is beyond our physical senses.
For non-believers, the bread and wine remains as it is; a bread both in substance and appearance. For Catholics, we believe that although the physical appearance of the bread and wine remain, the substance of the Bread and wine has been changed to Body and Blood of Christ to a process called Transubstantiation.
c) The Seed
So the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all come and work together to save us but what else is missing?
How about us? What do we do to be deserving of salvation at all?
To receive the fullness of Christ, we also need to do our part in believing and making us worthy of his grace. Perhaps we can remember that Jesus told us about seeds at least more than twice, thereby underlying its importance in our faith.
He talked about the Mustard seed and faith (Mt 17:20), the parable of the Mustard Seed (Mt 13:31-32) and The Parable of the Sower (Lk 8:11-15). So how does this relate to our faith?
He talked about the Mustard seed and faith in Mt 17:20 where he emphasized the necessity of faith, even if as small as a mustard seed, for us to be able to carry out his plan for us and be worthy of him.
Seeds also need to grow in a good soil as much as we need to grow our faith to be worthy of the Word of God; the word that became flesh for us. In Mt 13:18-23; it tells us the outcome of the seed depending on where it is sown:
a) If it is sown on the path, the evil one can just come and snatch it away for one does not understand their faith.
b) If seed is sown on rocky ground, it will not develop a root to anchor it. It is similar to people who rejoices on the word of God but when trouble or prosecution arises that person immediately falls away.
c) If is sown among thorns, it will yield nothing. It is similar to those who heard the word but the care of the world and the tempt of money lures them away from the truth.
d) If it is sown in a good soil, like the Catholic soil which is made fertile on the Sacrifices and redemption of those before us, then it will bear fruit and yields, for we hear the word and understand it.
In the Parable of the Mustard Seed in Mt 13:31-32, it shows us the fullness of his teachings about the kingdom of heaven and how can it grow in us like a mustard seed: it starts little but if planted in a good soil, it becomes a tree where birds may come and make nests.
The teachings about the seeds thus tells us our part to a recipe for salvation. Just like a mustard seed, the seed of faith will only grow if planted in a good soil and the Catholic church is a good stable ground built with history of Sacrifice and Redemption. We then have to nurture and nourish our faith so it may grow with prayer, respect, love and forgiveness; as well as avoiding sins that has withering effect on our soul.
The Road is Narrow
The road to life is narrow but I assure you, you have been there before…when you were a child.
In Mt 18:3-4, Christ said “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven”. If we need a gold standard for humility, forgiveness and resilience, think about the children.
Christ also emphasized the importance of children in heaven; “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven” (Mt 18:10).
As a parent and a mental health practitioner, this is also important to me. For we see to it that no children come to harm and they be protected from any form of abuse; physical, emotional or sexual. For this is one of the commandment of Christ, “let the children alone, and do not stop them…” (Mt 13). Abuse deprives children of innocence and this act alone can hinder their faith and even their own salvation.