Sunday, July 17, 2016

How the Eucharist is Medicine for the Broken, not a Prize for the Pious

The most pressing issue regarding the Eucharist is not so much convincing the faithful what it is, the real presence of Christ, but convincing people that it is not a prize for only the just.

Pope Francis states in his exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) the following: “The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” (47). We are all sinners, and none of us is truly worthy of receiving Jesus.  However, you will meet many traditionally-minded bishops, priests, deacons,  religious, and laity who try to convince us otherwise. If we commit this sin or that sin, fail to follow this dogma or this doctrine, we cannot receive the Eucharist. Who, however, can truly judge each person and their individual conscience and situation? Only God can. And if the faithful, even though others or canon law say they should not receive, receives the Eucharist, “discerning the body” (1 Corinthians 11:29) and knowing it is Jesus who gives life and heals, then so be it.

We are not to be the judge of others, and the Eucharist is not a prize to be won through piety.  It is Christ who gives life, heals, and lifts us from the death of sin. The Eucharist is Jesus giving himself to the broken, the needy, the woman caught in adultery, the tax collector, the blind man, the leper, and all of us.