The Holy Eucharist: Jesus Fulfills His Promise

This article was posted on: April 26, 2024

As Catholics, we understand that the mystery of the Eucharist—the Real Presence of our Lord under the appearance of bread and wine—fulfills a promise Jesus made after He fed the 5,000

When love is true, it makes and keeps promises. On their wedding day, engaged couples stand before the altar and pledge their hearts to one another. “I will be faithful to you, forever. You can trust me.” This is the language of love.

St. John, the beloved apostle, tells us that “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8), and so we can say that it is in the heart of God to make promises to His beloved sons and daughters and to keep them. Jesus Christ Himself is the fulfillment of a long-awaited promise: the fullness of divine and human love incarnate—in the flesh—for the salvation of souls.

On Holy Thursday, the Church celebrates a promise that Jesus made. “The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” (Jn 6:51) As Catholics, we understand that the mystery of the Eucharist—the Real Presence of our Lord under the appearance of bread and wine—fulfills a promise Jesus made after He fed the 5,000. Even more wondrously, He continues to fulfill this promise at every holy Mass. “This is my body. This is my blood.” Our Lord never speaks vaguely or ambiguously because the language of divine love is clear, confident and charitable.

Our Lord made another promise on that first Holy Thursday. “I will not leave you orphans.” (Jn 14:18) Not only did Jesus institute the holy Eucharist on that evening, but He also established the priesthood. He gave the apostles, the first priests, the sacred power to carry on His work and to make Him present at Mass upon the altar.

Here is another divine promise: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” (Jn 14:23) At the Last Supper, Jesus rested His head on the breast of the beloved apostle. Jesus now rests in your breast, in your heart, and mine, when we receive holy Communion in faith and in a state of grace (i.e., without unconfessed mortal sins) as taught by the Church.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” (Jn 14:27) The sacred heart, the love of God in human form, continues to fulfill promises, since it is the nature of true love to do so. Where do we find the peace of Christ par excellence, where it resides day and night, just waiting for us? Might it be—or better—might He be, in the “hidden room in man’s house where God sits all the year,” as G.K. Chesterton described the tabernacle?

Let’s take one more step. Monsignor Ronald Knox described the Eucharist enthroned in the monstrance as “the window in the wall,” through which God’s grace, mercy and peace stream into this world and through which our love and prayers flow to Him. During adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, we are in God’s presence in a unique way. What should we do there?

To start, we can recall how God keeps His promises. This might be especially helpful and consoling when we are suffering. Jesus assured us He would rise from the dead, and He did. The travails of this world, to which the cross of Christ gives meaning, and for which the body of Christ imparts strength, will find their fulfillment in heaven. Whether in suffering or in joy, ever mindful of the generosity and goodness of God, we can humbly ask Him to help us fulfill our promises to Him.

Story by Father Paul Check, Executive Director of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Published in the May/June 2024 issue of Catholic Life Magazine

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