The Eucharist: Divine Mercy enfleshed
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap
In this Jubilee Year of Mercy the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Eucharist becomes all the more significant. In this special Year of Mercy the Eucharistic presence of Jesus higlights more the fact that this Sacrament of love is really “a gift from God, … a spiritual union binding us,” first and foremost to that eternal sacrificial love of Christ (Misericordiae Vultus, 22).
In his Bull of Indiction heralding the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Misericordiae Vultus, Pope Francis further explained that “while he [Jesus] was instituting the Eucharist as an everlasting memorial of himself and his paschal sacrifice, he symbolically placed this supreme act of revelation in the light of his mercy. Within the very same context of mercy, Jesus entered upon his passion and death, conscious of the great mystery of love that he would consummate on the Cross” (no. 7)
For Christ consummate love meant going “about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). Christ’s consummate love led him to teach “in the synagogues” (Matt 4:23), “beside the sea” (Mark 4:1), “in their cities” (Matt 11:1) and “into the temple” (John 7:14). The list of Jesus’ miracles is absolutely impressive.
The curing of the nobleman’s son (John 4:46-47); the great haul of fishes (Luke 5:1-11); the cast out an unclean spirit (Mark 1:23-28); the curing of Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever (Mark 1:30-31), the healing of a leper (Mark 1:40-45); the healing of thecenturion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13); the raising of the widow’s son from the dead (Luke 7:11-18); the stilling of the storm (Matthew 8:23-27); the curing of the two demoniacs (Matthew 8:28-34); the curing of the paralytic (Matt 9:1-8); the raising ofthe ruler’s daughter from the dead (Matt 9:18-26); the curing of a woman of an issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48); the opening ofthe eyes of two blind men (Matt 9:27-31); the loosening of the tongue of a man who could not speak (Matt 9:32-33); thehealing an invalid man at the pool called Bethesda (John 5:1-9); the restoration if a withered hand (Matt 12:10-13); the curing of a demon-possessed man (Matt 12:22); the feeding of at least five thousand people (Matt 14:15-21); the healing of a woman of Canaan (Matt 15:22-28); the curing of a deaf and mute man (Mark 7:31-37); the feeding of at least four thousand people (Matt 15:32-39); the opening of the eyes of a blind man (Mark 8:22-26); the curing of a boy who was plagued by a demon (Matt 17:14-21); the opening of the eyes of a man born blind (John 9:1-38); the curing of a woman who had been afflicted eighteen years (Luke 13:10-17); the curing of a man of dropsy (Luke 14:1-4); the cleansing of ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19); theraising of Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-46); the opening of the eyes of two blind men (Matt 20:30-34); the causing of thefig tree to wither (Matt 21:18-22); the restoring of the ear of the high priest’s servant (Luke 22:50-51); Jesus’ raising from thedead (Luke 24:5-6) and the second great haul of fishes (John 21:1-14).
This unending list of miracles is calling you and me to do the same with our neighbour in distress. As Pope Francis said in his weekly Angelus address on June 7 2015, “Christ, who nourishes us under the consecrated species of bread and wine, is thesame Christ, whom we meet during the course of everyday life: He is in the poor person who holds out his hand [in supplication]; He is the suffering person who implores [our] help; He is in the brother or sister who asks us to be there and awaits our welcome; He is in the child who knows nothing about Jesus, about salvation, who does not have the faith; He is in every human being, even the smallest and most defenseless.”
Lord Jesus, You who are especially present in the Eucharist, the Sacrament of your precious Body and Blood, I ardently ask you to help me become a faithful imitator of what I celebrate in the Eucharistic liturgy. Amen.