Sacred Meal, Holy Sacrifice

Have you always had a deep understanding of Who and What the Eucharist truly is for us Catholics? Nearly seventy percent of self-identified Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. They consider the Eucharist to be a mere symbol to represent Jesus Christ, and do not embrace the truth of Transubstantiation; that at the consecration during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the whole substance of bread and the whole substance of wine really and literally change into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ, True God and true man as He sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. It is even more devastating to know that out of the almost seventy percent of Catholics who reject the belief in the Real Presence approximately forty percent of them do not know that the Real Presence is an official teaching of the Catholic Church.

I have never struggled with believing in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, but it was not until as a young adult when I experienced Eucharistic Adoration at a Frassati Fellowship Retreat that my heart began to burn with a yearning desire to want to know more and more about this beautiful and mysterious sacrament. I developed a greater appreciation and gratitude for the Blessed Sacrament, and could never seem to listen to enough of Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire Sunday Sermon podcasts. There was even one Sunday when I heard Bishop Barron’s homily in person at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and I was literally sitting in the pew on the edge of my seat filled with such excitement because I was listening to a live Word on Fire with Bishop Barron standing at the ambo right before my very eyes.

After Mass each Sunday as I listened to his homilies with my headphones on and sitting cross-legged on the floor of my room I began to quickly grow more and more in love with the Word in a profound way, and it led me to have a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Christ, the beloved Bridegroom. Although I read Sacred Scripture on my own, and listened to the homilies at Mass, Bishop Barron offered the type of reflection that made the pages of the Bible come alive for me. So when his book, Eucharist, published by the Word on Fire Institute became available on bookshelves I was filled with elation. I was eager to add it to my book collection, and have the opportunity to delve into it after finishing the several other books on the Eucharist that I had piled up on my desk waiting for me to read. I could never seem to get enough books on the Eucharist, and I knew that Bishop Barron’s latest work without any doubt in my mind would further help me to encounter and engage the most significant facet of human existence: a relationship with the Son of God, our Lord, Jesus Christ.

What a perfect read for the start of the three-year Eucharistic Revival movement led by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Once I opened the book I discovered Barron’s reflective thoughts and who helped to guide him in understanding the true meaning of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. It is not incredulous or a surprise to see that he used the Bible as his primary source, and introduces the reader to the meaning of the Eucharist from the days of early Christianity, and the power contained within humble offerings of bread and wine that truly change to become the Body and Blood of Christ.

The book focuses on three aspects of the Eucharist: sacred meal, sacrifice, and Real Presence. In his threefold analysis of the Eucharist grounded in Sacred Scripture Barron captivates the reader with the truth that directly flows from the pages, drawing from Christ’s actual words spoken at the Last Supper, or the “Messianic Banquet,” as Barron refers to it, and recorded in the Gospels.

Bishop Robert Barron is a prolific speaker with an exceptional gift for writing and preaching about the Faith, where he is able to lead both believers and non-believers to a deeper and more powerful understanding of Biblical teachings. Bishop Barron helps to bring the Word of God to other members of the clergy as well as to the laity in an impactful and extraordinary way, where he is able to create a bridge between ancient times and the modern world. He offers reflections that help to illuminate the tenets of Catholicism, and engage the culture with truth. Bishop Barron continues to accomplish such a remarkable feat in his book, Eucharist.

Eucharist by Bishop Robert Barron is published by the Word on Fire Institute. It is available for purchase on the Word on Fire website: $15.96

Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

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Christina M. Sorrentino resides in Staten Island, New York, and is a freelance writer, theology teacher, and author of the books Belonging to Christ and Called to Love - A Listening Heart. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Ignitum Today and has contributed to various publications including Word on Fire, Radiant Magazine, and Homiletic & Pastoral Review. She has also appeared on Sacred Heart Radio, and has been featured in the National Catholic Register's "Best in Catholic Blogging". Christina blogs at Called to Love - A Listening Heart and can be followed on Twitter @cmsorrps4610.

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