Is Jesus really present in Eucharist?

Catholics believe the words of Scripture, "This is my body...this is my blood" (Mark 14:22-23). The bread and wine become Jesus Christ. This amazes me. When Jesus wants to love, He acts in ways that are greater than our wildest imaginings. What an overwhelming gift! His very self! Eucharist is a common Catholic word. It means gratitude or thanks. In this sacrament we see the desire of a lover to be with us in that which seems common and vulnerable - a piece of bread and a sip of wine. These signs now, in a way we don't understand, become the reality of Jesus' body and blood. Around the Middle Ages a belief developed that Christ was present in the bread and wine only in a spiritual way. In meetings of Catholic bishops at special councils in 1215 and 1415 and finally at the Council of Trent in 1551, the church defined the change that happens to the bread and wine at Mass to be a complete change into the body and blood of Christ. The substances of the bread and the wine are changed. Because of Christ's stark and unequivocal words, they are no longer bread and wine. They are transubstantiated into the body and blood of Christ.

That's very nice and even inspiring. But don't Catholics get so involved in Holy Communion that they fail to see Christ in others?

As Catholics look at this awesome presence of Christ in the Eucharist, they must be careful not to let it become an end in itself. The reception of communion is a personal experience of the Lord, but it must move us to a deeper commitment to the people with whom we share the Lord. Since food gives energy, we must use the energy to love others, especially those we don't like. Frequently those who are not Catholic find fault with an understanding of the Eucharist that is too individualistic. Catholics should head off this objection by emphasizing also the social aspects of the Eucharist.

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