"My Lord and my God!" This exclamation of Thomas in this Sunday's Gospel reading used to be our exclamation at the raising of the Eucharist during Mass. It would be good to renew this habit. It's an awe-filled, humble recognition of Christ's Lordship and of the reality of his presence in the form of bread and wine.
Saint John Paul II wrote in his encyclical on the Holy Eucharist, Ecclesia de Eucharistia: "To contemplate Christ involves being able to recognize him wherever he manifests himself, in his many forms of presence, but above all in the living sacrament of his body and his blood." (You can get to know the entire amazing document by downloading my 5-Part Catholic Study Guideon it)
Notice how Jesus convinced the disciples that he had truly come back to life in the flesh. At first, they thought he was a ghost, or they didn't know what to think. They found the miracle of the resurrection too incredible to grasp.
Jesus opened their minds to the truth of the miracle by showing his wounds. He does the same for you and me in every Mass.
Through the use of our logic and our senses, it's difficult to grasp the truth that the bread and wine miraculously become the actual body and blood of Christ -- the same broken and bleeding body that died on the cross 2000+ years ago. It's even harder to see and understand that the resurrected Jesus is also there!
During Mass, we enter the timelessness of eternity to benefit from the living Christ. When we realize that we personally need the sacrifice he made on Good Friday, because we've sinned, we begin to look at his wounds from a crucial perspective. It is then that we begin to understand the truth about the Eucharist.
The first step toward believing in the miracle of the Eucharist is to want Christ's death to save us from our sins and to want his resurrection to take us to heaven. The final step occurs when our desire to unite to Jesus is so thorough that we yearn for him to consume our lives with his presence. We want the divine Jesus to come to us in the flesh, in whatever manner he chooses, to transform us into his likeness.It is this desire that makes us exclaim whenever we see the Eucharist, "My Lord and my God!"
Questions for Personal Reflection: Have you ever doubted the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist? How do you feel when you look at the Eucharist? Does your spirit exclaim, "My Lord and my God"? Why or why not?
Questions for Community Faith Sharing: How has Jesus revealed himself to you in surprising ways -- "in his many forms of presence"? When have you found him incredible, difficult to grasp? What helped you accept the truth of his presence in that situation? And how has Jesus revealed his presence to you in the Eucharist?