In today’s Gospel reading from Luke 7, a centurion hears about Jesus and asks some elders to bring Jesus to his home to heal his sick servant. Before Jesus reaches the home, the centurion sends messengers out to deliver this message: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof…but say the word and let my servant be healed.” The next time you go to Mass, see if those words sound familiar to you.
St. Paul was not at the Last Supper. If you recall, he was one of the greatest persecutors of Christians. But in today’s first reading, St. Paul recounts what Jesus said at the Last Supper. Was this hearsay? Not hardly. “For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you…” He then recounts Jesus breaking the bread and saying, “This is my Body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And, “This cup is the new covenant in my Blood.”
Notice that St. Paul did not try to explain away the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. He told it like it is, because these were the very words of Jesus. As Catholics, the bread that we eat and the cup that we drink are not just bread and wine. Not just symbolic representations of Jesus. When Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do this in remembrance of me,” He gave them the power and authority to do what He had just done: change the bread and wine into His Body and Blood. And that is exactly what the Church has been doing for 2000 years now.
Father, we thank you for the gift of the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ. Help us to live out this great mystery of our faith, that we may become what we receive. Amen.