As Catholics, we know and profess that Jesus is fully and truly present in the consecrated bread and wine at Mass. That’s why we proclaim that celebrating the Eucharist is both the source and the summit of our faith. But there’s more to this teaching than a statement of doctrine. We believe—deeply, in our hearts—that as we receive Communion, we are receiving Jesus himself!
This month, we are blessed to hear from Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap. Whether he is preaching to the entire papal household or to everyday parishioners, Cardinal Raniero’s goal is that we would encounter Jesus in a way that would change our lives. And what better way to encounter the Lord than in the Eucharist? It’s this theme that Cardinal Cantalamessa explores in our main articles this month.
As I read these articles, I was struck by how expansive our experience of Jesus in the Eucharist can be. The Eucharist is meant to affect our entire lives, not only our time at Mass. In fact, it’s meant to mirror the way Jesus dedicated his entire life to us when he walked the earth and when he died on the cross. As Cardinal Raniero says in his first article (page 4), “The Christian cannot limit himself to celebrating the Eucharist; he must become a Eucharist with Jesus.” Jesus gave 100 percent of his being to his Father, both at the Last Supper and at every Mass. That means that we, too, are called to join ourselves to Jesus in offering every aspect of our lives to our heavenly Father. Lord, make it so in each of our lives!
A Call to Humble Service. This act of offering has important implications for our daily lives. According to Cardinal Cantalamessa, it means we are called to humbly wash the feet of our brothers and sisters (see page 16). As St. Paul once wrote, it’s the call to look at others as more important than ourselves, “each looking out not for his own interests, but also everyone for those of others” (Philippians 2:4). Washing our brothers’ and sisters’ feet, as Jesus did for his disciples in John’s Gospel, means taking on the attitude of a servant. It means caring for them and putting their needs ahead of our own. It means laying down our lives for one another, just as Jesus did at the Last Supper and on the cross. Lord, make it so in each of our lives!
As you read these articles, you are sure to appreciate many other insights about the amazing gift of Jesus’ Body and Blood in the Eucharist. Whatever moves your heart, I pray that each one of us comes to know and love Jesus more fully. I pray that we may never take for granted the life that Jesus poured out for us at Calvary—the very life that he offers us whenever we receive him in Communion. Lord, make it so in each of our lives!