The mystery of the Eucharist

- Fr. Roy Cimagala (The Freeman) - January 25, 2016 - 9:00am

We have to learn how to live with mysteries in life. They are unavoidable. Even in the natural sphere, there are things that we can already regard as mysteries. Much more so when we consider the spiritual and supernatural spheres of our life.

A mystery is, first of all, a truth, a real thing, and not a fiction, a figment of our imagination. But it's a truth that is so rich that the human mind finds it hard if not impossible to fully understand. Just the same, it has elements that would make it recognizable and believable by us.

It's like the sun whose light is so bright that we cannot look directly at it without destroying our eyes. But we never doubt about its existence. In fact, we are most thankful for the many benefits it gives us.

The Eucharist is one such mystery. There we are told that Christ is present, not in a merely symbolic way but in a real way. We believe this because of the gift of faith that God himself gives us in abundance.

If we are at least receptive to this gift of faith, we can readily acknowledge the truth of the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. But our appreciation of this mystery grows to the extent that we exercise our faith that in turn also relies on the exercise of trust in God's word which is the gift of hope, and the fervor of our charity, another God-given gift and the most important.

The mystery of the Eucharist should elicit in us sentiments of awe and amazement, not indifference and over-familiarity. Our sins and unworthiness should be no problem, since the law of magnetism applies here-unlike poles attract each other.

We should never forget what Christ himself said: "They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Mk 2,17)

Thus, we have to be most careful when we think we are already good or saintly enough. If we are truly pursuing sanctity, we should feel all the more humble and in need of God the more progress we achieve in our sanctification.

In the Eucharist, we have Christ both hidden and revealed in his fullness, a most paradoxical phenomenon that is typical of God and of all mysteries. It's up to us which aspect of the mystery we prefer to give more attention to - his "hiddenness" or his revelatory aspect.

Or we can try to consider both aspects more or less at the same time in some dynamics where these two aspects are mutually interacting and perpetually developing.

His hiddenness will arouse more faith and trust in God and will help us to purify our intentions and attitude toward Christ.

Remember that Christ, though aware of his mission for the whole world, was not all too eager to be known by all in just any manner, especially when he would be viewed as some kind of earthly king, hero or celebrity.

He escaped from that possibility with all his might. He did not like to be known merely as a miracle-worker. He wanted to be known as God our savior, and that could only be achieved through his passion, death and resurrection, made into the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Before this took place, he knew how to be discreet in his utterances and behavior even as he presented himself as the Son of God, the Son of Man.

The revelatory aspect of the Eucharist should fill us with joy, praises and thanksgiving. We cannot have anything better than the Eucharist in this life. In the Eucharist we have all that we need.

The Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith. As the Catechism tells us, "Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking." (1327) We ought to have a Eucharistic mind and heart.

Yes, the Eucharist is the greatest treasure we can have since with it we have no one less than Christ himself, God himself who became man to save us, and who wants to be with us in our earthly pilgrimage.

Our marvel should know no end as we consider God who appears to us like a simple bread, God who is willing to take on all our human weaknesses and sins just to save us. This is the divine madness of love that should take our breath away. We should be moved most deeply by this realization. Its celebration should strengthen our commitment of love.


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