Thank you fellows.
I'm gonna begin this conference with the reading of the gospel of St. John, Chapter 6, starting in verse 31.
Jesus said to the crowds, "I am the living bread come down from heaven, whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
Let me solemnly assure you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is real food, and my blood is true drink.
The man who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever. Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Jesus was fully aware that his disciples were murmuring and protesting at what he had said.
"Does it shake your faith?", he had asked them.
What then if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.”
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.
As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
Because we are going to close this conference with a period of Eucharistic Adoration , the guys have asked me to speak a little bit of the biblical and historical foundations of our worship, specifically on the Mass and the Holy Eucharist. Because if you don't understand this part of it, if you don't get this, you don't understand your Catholic faith. It's just that simple.
The late Fr. John A. Hardon, arguably the greatest dogmatic theologian this country has ever produced his cause for canonization has been introduced in Rome use to say:
"One who does not believe in the Real Presence of our Lord in the Holy Eucharist is not properly called a Catholic."
It's a true statement.
The Second Vatican Council reaffirms the Church's timeless faith and teaching on the Mass and the Holy Eucharist on these words:
"On The Last Supper the Lord instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of His Body and Blood. He did in this in order to perpetuate the Sacrifice of the Cross throughout the ages until He should come again. And in this way to entrust to His beloved Bride the Church a memorial of His death and Resurrection. The celebration of Mass also proclaims the sublime mystery of the Lord's Real Presence under the Eucharistic elements. The Mass does this not only by means of the very words of Consecration by which Christ becomes present through transubstantiation but also by that Spirit and expression of reverence and adoration in which the Eucharistic liturgy is carried out."
Fellows if someone were to ask me, "What is the single biggest single problem facing the Catholic Church today?"
Scandal in not withstanding. I would answer without any hesitation:
It is the widespread loss of faith in our Lord's Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament.
That is the biggest problem.
All the other problems the Church is serious and as pressing as so many of them are, they all pale in comparison to this one. And I would suggest to you, most of them emanate from this one.
When you go to Mass, when you go forward to receive holy communion your priests holds up the host, the Sacred Host and he says, "The Body of Christ."
You say, "Amen."
And the word "Amen" means "Yes, It Is True." So when you say that word, "Amen" you are acknowledging before God that you believe that what you are receiving is in fact the Body of Christ hidden under the appearance of bread. And in the Holy Eucharist you are receiving Jesus Christ whole and entire: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Under either species you are receiving Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
But is that really what the majority of the Catholics in our country today believe ?
Well I think not. I think it isn't. At least that's what all the facts and all the evidence would seem to indicate.
The results of all the most recent surveys inducted by sources outside of the Church. And unfortunately confirm by sources inside of the Church.
Surveys conducted among Catholics after Masses around the country show that about 70%, 70% of our people either do not know, do not understand, or simply don't believe what the Church teaches that's always taught about the True Real Substantial Abiding Presence of our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. (6:01 mins.) And my brothers this is a very serious matter because the Holy Eucharist is the heart and center of our Catholic worship and devotion. It is one of the central mysteries of our faith. The Holy Eucharist is the greatest of the seven sacraments because in it we are receiving not just the grace of Jesus Christ, we are receiving Jesus Christ Himself.
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, the great Catholic preacher of the last century, whose cause for canonization is well under Rome use to say:
"Without the Eucharistic Presence the Catholic Church is just another Christian denomination among thousands."
He use to say, " Without the Eucharist Presence our Church in spite of the people gathered together in them are essentially meeting houses, prayer halls, not much more."
Now at this point brothers we gotta make a critical theological about the ways in which God is Present. What we call The Modality of God's Presence. And you don't have to be a theologian to get this.
Yes, God is present everywhere. Spiritually, God is present everywhere. In His Divinity, God is present everywhere. God is omnipresent. There is no place you can be in the heavens or on the earth that God is not. But in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word made Flesh, true God and true man, is uniquely Present. Sacramentally Present. He is not just Spiritually Present, He is also Substantially Present. Bodily Present. Present in His Physical Reality. Present in His Divinity and His humanity. He's not just present in His Divinity but present both in His Divinity and His humanity. And by the will of God the Father in heaven, the Sacred humanity of Christ is the greatest source of graces and blessings and strength and help and consolation and power given for our lives, given for those who believe.
I'm speaking here about the 6th Chapter of the gospel St. John and our Lord's first revelation of His greatest gift to us. The gift of Himself in the Eucharist.
One year before His Passion and death of the Cross, Jesus gathered together the rest of His apostles and the rest of His disciples in the Synagogue of Capernaum. He was there in the synagogue and He told them something that He knew was going to shock them all. Something that would cause many of them to turn their backs on Him and walk away from Him and never follow Him again.
When He said to them I Myself Am the Living Bread come down