Has anyone ever asked why you, as a Catholic, believe that bread and wine really become the body and blood of Jesus Christ? One objection heard is, “You’re telling me that Jesus held Himself in His own hands? Surely that is logically impossible.” Quite so. Yet, to quote Our Blessed Lord, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
Another objection to belief in the Real Presence is that consuming Jesus as food as part of Christian worship is just plain cannibalism. The objector conveniently sets aside St. John the Baptist’s stirring proclamation, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29), associating Jesus with the Paschal lambs consumed the night before the Exodus whose blood saved them from the Angel of Death.
Similarly, St. Paul solemnly identifies Jesus with the lamb eaten during the Lord’s Supper with a warning: “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:27). “Guilty of the body and blood” is an idiomatic phrase, similar to the English expression “to have blood on one’s hands,” meaning that the person is a murderer. Therefore, St. Paul understands the sacramental presence of Jesus, not as being merely symbolic or emblematic, but as something quite real. One cannot murder a symbol or an emblem.
Anyone receiving Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin commits sacrilege, thus becoming culpable as a murderer, indeed, taking upon himself or herself responsibility for being the crucifier of Christ. “For he who eats and drinks unworthily, without distinguishing the body, eats and drinks judgment to himself. This is why many among you are infirm and weak, and many sleep” (1 Corinthians 11:29, 30).
One need only look at the present disordered state of Western culture to see St. Paul’s warning of infirmity and death. Mockery of the Church, her sacraments, the Virgin Mary and most especially the Blessed Sacrament have abounded. Stained-glass windows are shattered and statues are toppled and beheaded. Tabernacles have been stolen and the Sacred Host desecrated.
Attacks on Catholic churches have been widespread across the country, affecting 42 states and the District of Columbia. According to a tally by the nonprofit advocacy group CatholicVote, the states with the most attacks are California (45), New York (29), Pennsylvania (18), Texas (15), Colorado (14), New Jersey (14), Massachusetts (13), Florida (13), Washington (11), and Oregon (10). Hotspots with large clusters of attacks include New York City (25) and the metro areas of Los Angeles (13); Denver (12); San Francisco/Bay Area (11); Washington, D.C. (10); Boston (10); Portland, Oregon (9); Seattle (7); Chicago (6); and Houston (5).
Since the draft of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade was leaked in May 2022, there have been more than 80 attacks on pregnancy resource centers, and more than 300 attacks on Catholic churches. And the Department of Justice refuses to classify any of them as a hate crime.
Add to these things the seven-decades-long attempt to destroy the family as a solid, viable unit forming the basis of secure society, lewdness, profanity, the proliferation of radical gender ideology and the oversexualization of almost everything, including children, and one need not be a sociologist to see that we are killing ourselves.
Those who destroy the innocence of children are promised retribution by Christ Himself:
"But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck, and be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of scandals! For it must needs be that scandals come, but woe to the man through whom scandal does come!" (Matthew 18:6).
The ultimate cause of this vast disorder, as St. Paul noted, stems a lack of knowledge and reverence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, not recognizing that the Almighty Creator of all humbles Himself to be sacramentally present under the forms of bread and wine.
Adorn the sanctuary! Wave the incense! Wear beautiful vestments! Bring back the regular celebration of Eucharistic Benediction. Make Catholic churches reflect our love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament where parishioners know that the Triune God is there adored.
At Fatima, the Virgin Mary warned, “You must offend our Lord God no more! He is already much offended.” Only a return to sacramental reverence and respect will save us from experiencing the wrath of God for, “Indeed, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God” (Hebrews 10:31).
Sean M. Wright, MA, a Master Catechist for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, is a parishioner at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Santa Clarita. An Emmy nominee, he answers comments at [email protected].