Believers in awe

Eucharistic astonishment

They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.” – Acts 2:42-43

We will never fully unveil the great mystery and prodigy of the Eucharist. Before this, we will always end up falling on our knees with our mouths open, full of amazement. How can we not be amazed when believers of all times, fed with the bread and wine transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus, have faced all kinds of challenges throughout the world, proclaiming with their loving service that “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”

The Eucharist is the source and the summit of the life of every baptized person. It is the source because from it flows the proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, purifying us of our sins and sending us as witnesses. It is the source, because in it we give thanks for being invited to the banquet of this life, which Jesus loved and enjoyed to the extreme.

It is the summit, because in it we unite ourselves to Jesus by taking his Body and drinking his Blood, and we encounter every faithful man and woman in the world in perfect fraternity. It is the summit because in it heaven and earth unite in a cosmic action that bathes all creation and returns a redeemed creation to the Father (see Pope St. John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia).

The Eucharist will continue through the ages to be an astonishment — to see the smile and the peace of a dying man receiving in his mouth just a fragment of that bread, even in the midst of dreadful physical pain. Astonishment for the hope of the future it offers to prisoners like Venerable Francis Xavier Nguyen, despite their years in a cell: “Jesus initiated a revolution on the cross. Our revolution must begin in the Eucharist and from there to the world. In this way we renew humanity.”

Our open mouths before Jesus remind us of the 5,000 men following him everywhere, to the point of forgetting to plan for food (see Matthew 14:14-21). Jesus the Eucharist continues to satisfy humanity’s hunger. That hunger for divinity is what makes us keep the mouths of our souls open, to be spiritually satiated. In this pandemic in which “we cannot receive the Body of Christ sacramentally, we make a spiritual communion, which imprints the love of God on us,” as St. Teresa of Ávila wrote.

Mary, conceiving in her womb the body of her son, anticipated what happens in us when receiving Communion. In her faith, she believed she conceived the Son of God. We believe that Jesus is fully present in us when receiving Communion. Let us be like her, mobile tabernacles, chanting with our existence a Magnificat, praising God for his amazing gift. 

Read the Spanish version of this column.

Northwest Catholic - June 2020

Bishop Eusebio Elizondo

Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., is auxiliary bishop of Seattle and vicar for Hispanic ministry.

Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., es obispo auxiliar de Seattle y vicario para el ministerio hispano.