Traditionally, Catholics from every spectrum of the Baptized faithful have done a really good job explaining ‘what’ the Holy Eucharist is and ‘why’ we believe it to be the Real Presence of Christ Jesus.
We do an excellent job with the exegesis of sixth chapter of John, the Synoptic Gospel’s narratives of the Jesus’ last Passover meal with His disciples, and with Saint Paul’s descriptions, abuses, and warnings concerning the Lord’s Supper in tenth and eleventh chapter of First Corinthians, by pointing to the clear and obvious fact that neither Jesus or the Apostle ever said that consecrated bread and wine we partake at Mass was anything but His actual flesh and blood.
After that we usually like to close our case of proving the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of the Holy Eucharist by connecting Jesus’ and Saint Paul’s words with those of the Church Fathers, such as Saint Ignatius in his letter to the Smyrneans around 107 A.D., in which he says in part, “They abstain from the Eucharist and from the public offices; because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ.” The Church Fathers help us prove that what the Church teaches today about the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is what she has always taught, and uniquely so.
This traditional path that we take to explain the Holy Eucharist outside of the Mass; an outline of which can be found in my article here, is logical – it makes sense, but does it compel the heart and soul of the non-Catholic? Does it tug at their emotions and longing for a deeper connection with God? Or does it just answer a whole bunch of questions that they haven’t even asked yet?
Perhaps a more connected and uniquely Catholic approach to use when an opportunity comes about to share the faith through the Holy Eucharist is by connecting it with the Holy Mass. In this way we speak about it in the context of where the divine beauty of the Real Presence of Christ is first found. Inasmuch as Sacred Scripture and Tradition can lead us into a logical and reasonable explanation of the source and summit of our faith, together they can only use language to barely speak well of the divine reality of our Lord’s coming to His people at worship.
To use this Mass-centered approach to evangelization, we would begin by explaining to our hearer the distinction between the number of presences of Christ Jesus at non-Catholic assemblies, versus those at the Sacrifice of the Mass. At non-Catholic Christian assemblies Christ has only a dual presence. There, He is present only in the reading of His word and with the people of God at prayer. In contrast, at the Catholic Mass our Lord has a quad presence. There, He is present in the reading of His word, in His priest (in persona Christi), with God’s people at prayer, and as the Holy Eucharist.
Yet, it is His presence as the Holy Eucharist where we find a number of singular and extraordinarily ways that He is present. It is these things that we want to talk about in the context of the uniqueness of the Mass to draw our hearer’s heart and soul into what they are missing out on. In this way we help to create a need within them to seek out what they’ve always yearned for, but cannot find elsewhere. Here are six singular and extraordinary things to share about the Presence of Christ that can only be found at the Sacrifice of the Mass.
- The Holy Eucharist is the only presence of the four where an actual transfer of matter occurs. That is, what was the matter of bread and wine are no more, and all that remains is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ Jesus. That happens only at the Mass.
- The Holy Eucharist is the only presence of the four where there is a change from something truly dead into something truly alive. What this reminds us of at Mass is that if Christ can change a dead thing into a living then by the power of His word, then how much more can He do with us?
- The Holy Eucharist is the only presence of the four which most clearly reminds us of who Christ actually is. It is only at the Mass where we get to perceive with our senses the Real Presence of Christ.
- The Holy Eucharist is the only presence of the four that represents the quality of transformation that our own lives are meant to undergo. That is, the bread and wine that becomes Christ Jesus is representative of that same grace that is working within us in conforming man to His image.
- The Holy Eucharist is the only presence of the four that constitutes the most compelling evidence of the Christ in the Universe. In other words, if you want to know if Jesus Christ actually exists then come to the Sacrifice of the Mass to see Him for yourself.
- The Holy Eucharist is the only presence of the four that is food and is corporeal. You shouldn’t attempt to eat or digest the other three presences of Christ at the Mass, but the Eucharist you ought to. In this way, it reminds us of our dependence on God as the sustenance of your life.
Have fun sharing the faith in a way that compels the mind, body, and the soul.