“For in the Eucharist,” he said, “we encounter not only a great wonder but the source of all wonder, the wonder of wonders — the sacrament that stands at the very center of our Church, our faith, and our lives.”
The wonder of the Eucharist, Burbidge said, “is mysterious and hidden” and “does not come to us accompanied by a great fanfare.” Its consecration at Mass is not accompanied by lightning or thunder as if in a cartoon, he noted; nor is the Eucharist accompanied by visible heavenly splendor or choirs of angels.
“Instead, we see something ordinary — a simple meal of bread, wine, and water,” he said. “We hear simple words uttered in blessing. We taste what tastes like ordinary unleavened bread and wine.”
The reality of the Blessed Sacrament, he noted, is ultimately “beyond our reckoning.”
“Jesus Christ, true God and true man — body, blood, soul, and divinity — stands before us hidden under the appearance of bread and wine,” he said. Christ’s real presence in the Blessed Sacrament, the bishop said, is “the mystery, the paradox, the wonder of the Eucharist.”
The bishop said the Eucharist is not meant to give us a “static rest” nor “the peace of staying put.” It “is not meant to keep us in place, but to inspire us to go out” and perform acts of charity in our families and our communities.
The Blessed Sacrament further offers the faithful “a foretaste of what is to come” in its preview of “an unimaginable unity with God, and through that, an unimaginable unity with one another.”
“When we make the Eucharist a way of life, we bring that foretaste of heaven into all that we do,” Burbidge said. “We carry a reminder of the profound unity that awaits us in Jesus, a unity that we truly touch here and now in the Eucharist.”
The bishop offered several practical tips for the faithful to “make more space for the Eucharist” in their lives, including weekly, if not daily, attendance at Mass, learning about the Eucharist itself, attending Eucharistic adoration, and making oneself “a tabernacle of Christ in the world,” one who “brings the presence of the Eucharist to others” through acts of service and charity.
The Eucharist, Burbidge declared, “is not just a part of our lives as Catholics but the very center of it,” with the prelate noting that Catholics must “be willing to open ourselves to its wonder” to reap its benefits.
The Eucharist offers through its graces “a love so powerful that it cannot be contained — it overflows from our hearts into the world and illuminates everything in its path,” he said. “It is the magnetic attraction that brings others into the faith.”
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