A true Christian, who realizes and appreciates what the Son of God has done and is still doing for him, will try always to make himself less unworthy, for not even the greatest saint was worthy to partake of this act of divine love.
Last Sunday we read of the murmurs of objection among the multitude,
the ordinary people. “How could this man,” they had said, “give us his flesh to eat?” They looked on him as a man who was promising to give them his human flesh, as it then was, to eat. “Who could accept this?”, they asked. Christ did not explain, he simply went on to demand “faith in his word.” He had come down from heaven, he was more than mere man, he had the words of eternal life.
Today we read of objectors among his “disciples,” the outer band of followers who had been continually with him for sometime now. They were a group distinct from the Apostles. Their reason for objecting was the same as that of the multitude – they thought he was a mere man. He knew of their lack of faith and told them so: “some of you do not believe,” but he made no attempt to remove this obstacle. He simply referred again to his divine origin and the divine knowledge he possessed.
The “disciples”, who murmured, evidently saw nothing but a man in Christ. It was very natural, therefore, what they could not accept his saying that they should eat his body and drink his blood. Thus, it seems most probable that when Christ says they lacked “faith,” he had given them sufficient proofs that he was more than a man. These individuals among the disciples, however, refused to open their minds to these proofs, therein was their guilt. Their minds were earth-bound and were determined to remain earth-bound. Faith is a gift of the Father, as Christ says to those disciples: “no one can
come to me unless it is granted him by the Father,” but the Father has offered them this gift and they have refused to accept it, otherwise they would not be guilty.
No one who accepts Christ for what he is, the Son of God in human
form, has any difficulty in believing that he left us himself in the Eucharist as a sacrifice and a sacrament. This does not mean that we understand this gift of Christ in all its details. It was an act of divine power and as such beyond full human comprehension. However, we can understand enough about the actuality of the Eucharist because we accept the words of Christ, who “has the words of eternal life,” even though its innermost nature escapes us. We are doing no violence to our intelligence when we accept as fact from a trustworthy witness, what we cannot prove or confirm for ourselves.
No more trustworthy witness than Christ ever existed. In Galilee he
promised to give his body and blood—in the Eucharist—to be our spiritual nourishment—communion—and our means of offering an absolutely pleasing sacrifice to God every time his body and blood are made present by the words of his ordained ministers.
He fulfilled that promise at the Last Supper. He gave to his Apostles and their successors the power to repeat this act of divine love when he said, “Do this in memory of me.” When Simon Peter answered Christ’s challenge—”will you too go away?”—he spoke not only for his fellow-Apostles that day with, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,” but for all Christians who really believe that Christ was the incarnate Son of God. Peter, be it noted, made his act of faith before he was fully convinced of the divinity of Christ, but he was already convinced that Christ was close to God and spoke nothing but the truth.
Many of us may need to examine ourselves as regards the full and
effective use we make of that gift. Every time we attend at Mass do we realize that Christ is offering himself to his Father for our sanctification and the sanctification of the world? Do we realize that we, through his minister at the altar, are offering infinite thanksgiving, infinite atonement, infinite adoration, infinitely effective petition, to our Father in heaven through the sacrifice of his divine Son in the Mass? Are we always worthy to act this part?
Are our consciences fit to allow us to partake of this sacrifice in Holy Communion? A true Christian, who realizes and appreciates what the Son of God has done and is still doing for him, will try always to make himself less unworthy, for not even the greatest saint was worthy to partake of this act of divine love.