"Jesus, body, blood, soul, and divinity, is truly present in the Eucharist."
Imagine for a moment you are Pontius Pilate and Jesus is standing before you. It is before the scourging but even so, Jesus would not have been treated gently and stands before you bruised and bleeding. Would you recognize the King of Kings?
Surely you think you would. There must have been something about Him, the way He talks, His personal charisma, or His eyes lit up with a divine light, that would let you know you are in the presence of He who is the Way, the Life, and the Truth. Of course, you say to yourself, of course I would recognize Him.
But would you?
Every time we come to Mass, every time we receive Holy Communion, every time the priest or deacon holds up the Eucharist and says “Corpus Christi,” “the Body of Christ,” we stand in the presence of the Truth. Do we recognize Him then? If we do then we respond to the priest or deacon by saying “Amen.”
The connection between Jesus and the Truth explains why the Church has such stringent rules about receiving Holy Communion. Jesus, body, blood, soul, and divinity, is truly present in the Eucharist. To receive Him into our hearts in a worthy manner we must be in a state of grace. by going to confession and repenting of mortal sin. If we have publicly supported immoral laws then we are required to publicly repent before receiving Holy Communion.
To act as Pilate did, to look upon Jesus but not truly see Him, to dismiss the moral authority of His Church, is to cut ourselves off from God's grace. There have been many high-profile converts to the Catholic faith who have understood this better than cradle Catholics.
Cardinal Newman, for example, gave up a prestigious and wealthy professorship at Oxford University in order to embrace the Catholic faith. When his friends tried to dissuade him at the last minute, they reminded him of the income, nearly $100,000 in today's money, that he was giving up. To that Newman answered: "What is $100,000 when compared to one Holy Communion?"
Cardinal Newman belonged to the Truth, and so he was able to hear God's voice.
In past generations, it was a Christian worldview that drove the values of popular culture. Entertainment, education, and the general patterns of societal behavior, were more or less in harmony with the moral and spiritual messages that people would hear at Sunday Mass. That Sunday homily was then supported and reinforced through the week as people experienced a world that, for the most part, shared a common moral underpinning.
But that has all changed.
We now live in a post Christian world. It is a world that has become so secularized that was passes for normal these days is often profoundly anti-Christian.
And so faith formation and the Sunday homily are no longer enough. Much of the kingdom is in open rebellion against the king, and those of us who remain faithful to Him, must take a more active role.
Learn your faith. Learn why the Church teaches what it teaches. Then, armed with such knowledge, you can engage the secular world with a discerning eye.
Solemnity of Christ the King
Read more at www.DeaconLawrence.org
© Lawrence Klimecki
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Deacon Lawrence draws on ancient Christian tradition to create new contemporary art that seeks to connect the physical and the spiritual.. For more information on original art, prints and commissions, Please visit www.DeaconLawrence.org
Lawrence Klimecki, MSA, is a deacon in the Diocese of Sacramento. He is a public speaker, writer, and artist, reflecting on the intersection of art and faith