June has always been my favorite month in the church. There are so many cool celebrations and feast days of some seriously powerful and miraculous stuff. We see Jesus ascend in the gospels to return to the Father at the Ascension of the Lord first, but before the apostles can become too dismayed, he sends the Holy Spirit at Pentacost to be a companion for our souls; teaching, guiding and accompanying his followers.
The Holy Spirit’s appearance in the liturgical calendar gently transitions us to ponder the Holy Trinity–Father, Son and Holy Spirit–on the third Sunday in June. Just as we seem to be in an abyss of contemplation over this unfathomable mystery, the following Sunday leads us to celebrate the most tangible aspect of God on the Feast of The Most Holy Body and Blood (Corpus Christi). All of these June liturgies are worth deep contemplation, but the one I would guess is the most misunderstood, is the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
When I used to coordinate Eucharistic Adoration at our old parish, I became fascinated with a book called “Eucharistic Miracles” by Joan Carroll Cruz. In this book is the SCIENCE behind the Eucharist.
All over the world, throughout the centuries, Christ has given us scientific evidence of his seriousness about the literal nature of communion, and the instances are similar and astounding.
The consistent lab results show cardiac wall tissue, which often presents with signs of trauma. The blood type across the board? Type AB, known as the “universal recipient” to all blood types, interestingly enough. Although the lab results from the most recent occasions are so consistent, they were examined by experts who knew not what (or whom) they were investigating.
Even though science supports the mystery of the Incarnation, it cannot explain the miraculous way God chose to impart Himself to His people. It is such a mystery in fact, that here Jesus loses many followers because they reject this idea:
52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55 for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” 59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.
The Words of Eternal Life
60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” 61 But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. 65 And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”
66 Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 67 So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”[h] 70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? Yet one of you is a devil.” 71 He was speaking of Judas son of Simon Iscariot,[i] for he, though one of the twelve, was going to betray him.
(Emphasized words in bold for the purpose of my previous statement)
As we head toward the Feast of the Sacred Heart this week, let us remember that although we can contemplate these Eucharistic Miracles in the classification with such science as the Shroud of Turin, the Incorruptible bodies of saints (“The Incorruptibles“), and the Dead Sea Scrolls, what really deserves our awe and wonder is the sacrifice of a God who humbled Himself to save sinners, redeem a fallen world, and show continual and endless mercy toward His undeserving creatures. There is no science that can explain that.
More reading on the power of the Eucharist:
“What wonderful majesty! What stupendous condescension! O sublime humility! That the Lord of the whole universe, God and the Son of God, should humble Himself like this under the form of a little bread, for our salvation”…In this world I cannot see the Most High Son of God with my own eyes, except for His Most Holy Body and Blood.” – St. Francis of Assisi
“In each of our lives, Jesus comes as the Bread of Life—to be eaten, to be consumed by us. This is how he loves us.” –St Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa)
Jesus has made Himself the Bread of Life to give us life. Night and day, He is there. If you really want to grow in love, come back to the Eucharist, come back to that Adoration.–Mother Teresa