Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist
Jesus Christ is present in many ways: in the Word of God (Scripture), where two or three are gathered in his name (Cf. Matthew 18:20), among the least of the brethren (Cf. Matthew 25:40 & 45), in the Sacraments etc. However, the mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. “In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist … Christ is truly, really and substantially contained… This presence is called ‘real’ … because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1374).
Our faith that his presence in the Eucharist is real, is not like in a ‘sign’ or in a figure, which signify and help us to think about Christ. No, His presence is real and objective, namely, the substance of the Body and Blood of Christ is truly present, though under the species of bread and wine.
This entails an extraordinary and unique change of the bread and wine. This change is grounded basically on the very words of Jesus, our Divine Savior, who said: “Take, eat; this is my body… Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:26-28). Based on these Words of Jesus, the Catholic Church is firmly convinced that when the bread and wine are consecrated by the minister of Christ – a priest, bishop or Pope – during the Holy Mass, this change takes place through the power of the Holy Spirit. This change is fittingly called by the Catholic Church as “Transubstantiation” (Cf. CCC #1376). Thus, Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist begins to exist from the time of the consecration and endures, as long as the Eucharistic species exist (Cf. CCC # 1377). Hence, our faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist has led the Church to offer adoration both during and outside the Holy Mass.
Let us acknowledge and believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Fr. Arul Joseph V.