Rejuvenation and refreshment are what summer is all about. In Psalm 23, we read, "beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul." Have we ever reflected that the place of greatest refreshment for us as Catholics is the Mass where we not only drink in the teachings of our Lord from Sacred Scripture, but also feast on the Body and Blood of Christ? Nourished by the living presence of Christ, every corner of our lives is touched with grace. We go forth from the Mass #Catholic Strong, empowered to live Christ in the world and to joyfully witness to His love.
In the next several weeks, the Sunday Scriptures will unfold the Bread of Life Discourse recalling many core teachings on the Eucharist. Jesus' promise to remain with us always until the end of time comes true and is fulfilled in the gift of the Eucharist. Communion with God and one another become tangible realities through the miracle of consecrated bread and wine. In our faithful reception of the Eucharist, Jesus feeds us with his presence, remains with us, and is in relationship with us.
A core tenet of our beautiful Catholic faith, Christ's living presence among us in the Eucharist, has been lost in a poorly catechized generation and forgotten by a generation whose fervor has diminished. At a recent Mass, the priest told the assembly that according to Pew Research, 40 percent of Catholics do not believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. He also reminded those gathered that everyone has a spiritual hunger for Christ. While Church leaders often lament poor Mass attendance, the world pulls people in many directions, often away from Christ. The forces that tug at people's lives are a voice that makes it hard to recognize deep spiritual hunger.
Through the precious gift of the Eucharist, Christ wants to energize us by his real and living presence. The joy of this truth invites us to deeper, more intimate personal relationship with our Lord. The nourishment we receive from the bread of life and the relationship it calls us to are truly what make us #CatholicStrong. Perhaps summertime is a time to remind our friends and families of the great source of life, strength and joy that is to be found in the Church's greatest treasure, Jesus himself who comes to us in Holy Communion. By receiving Jesus, we become Jesus for the world.
St. Teresa of Avila reminded us so poignantly in her famous prayer that "Christ has no body but yours." As his disciples, we are his hands, doing his work. We are his feet walking through the world to do works of mercy and justice. We are his eyes, able to share his compassion with the struggling and the broken.
In faith, we can be certain that the Eucharist is real refreshment for our souls. Invite a friend or family member back to Mass this summer, an unparalleled source of rejuvenation for the spirit. In this gift, God's love and generosity make us #CatholicStrong.