The Word Among Us

June 2024 Issue

Encounter Jesus in the Eucharist

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Encounter Jesus in the Eucharist: Dear Brothers and Sisters,

For the past two years, the bishops in the United States have been encouraging us to come into a more vibrant experience of Jesus when we meet him in the Eucharist. And next month, Catholics from all over the country will be gathering in Indianapolis for the Tenth National Eucharistic Congress. As we approach the culmination of this time of “Eucharistic Revival,” we should all be clear about one thing: the Lord wants to reveal himself to us personally. This is true whether we have been receiving him in Communion for eighty years or eighty days.

In our articles, Bishop Andrew Cozzens, a leader in the Eucharistic Revival, shares with us about encountering Jesus, both in our hearts and in the sacrament. When we approach the altar, we are approaching Jesus himself. Jesus, who told an adulterous woman, “Neither do I condemn you” (John 8:11), wants to speak these same words of forgiveness to you. Jesus, who told the criminal on the cross next to him, “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43), wants to assure you as well. Jesus, who told his apostles, “Come after me” (Mark 1:17), says the same thing as you approach him at Communion: “Come and follow me.”

An “Emmaus Moment.” Receiving the Eucharist is not about something we do. Rather, it’s about a Person we meet. And not just any person! You and I are invited to meet the only begotten Son of God. As you receive Christ in the Eucharist, Jesus himself comes and makes his home in you. He sees you and he loves you. He is not far from you; he is right there with you, and he delights to make you his dwelling place.

Remember the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). They were discouraged and confused because their Master had just been crucified a few days earlier. They didn’t know what they believed. They couldn’t even recognize Jesus when they encountered him on the road as they traveled away from Jerusalem! That’s where Jesus met them. That’s where he opened up the Old Testament Scriptures, which burned like a fire within them (24:32). And then he revealed his very presence in the breaking of the bread (24:35). Their eyes were opened to see that they were with the risen Lord!

This is what Jesus wants to do for us. He wants to bring alive the Scriptures and reveal himself to us in a special way at Mass. He wants to convince us that we are encountering him, the risen Lord, who defeats every sin in our lives and who can conquer even death.

This month, let’s all have an “Emmaus moment” (see Whether on pilgrimage, gathering with brothers and sisters in our parish, or at Sunday Mass, let’s ask the Lord to open our eyes. Let’s proclaim the same words that Thomas proclaimed when he encountered the risen Jesus: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).

Jeff Smith, President
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