“I am the bread of life…For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (Jn 6:35a; 55-56 ESVCE). The sixth chapter of the Gospel of John provides us with the clearest teaching on the Eucharist. As we enter this second year of the National Eucharistic Revival, the Parish Year, I want to provide you this pastoral note on two passages of the Gospel that I hope you will take to Eucharistic adoration to pray with and to listen to the words of Jesus. My prayer for you is that like the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-35) your hearts may burn with love for Jesus as you listen to him, as your teacher, and learn from him (Mt 11:29), both at Mass and at adoration in your parish.
Recently at a dinner with a group of people, we were discussing the Eucharistic Revival and I brought up the passage from John 6. While they were vaguely aware of the teaching, they did not know the depth of it, nor did they know that it caused division among Jesus’ disciples. Jesus makes clear in John 6 the truth of his real presence in the Eucharist, and he never waters it down or speaks of it as a sign or symbol. Disciples who followed Jesus saw it as a hard teaching, and “…many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him” (Jn 6:66).
In this second phase of the revival, the emphasis is on the Eucharist and the parish. The reason for this is that the parish is the home of the local celebration of the Mass and the Mass is the home of the Eucharist. Said another way, the Eucharist is at the heart of parish life and is without a doubt the most common place the faithful encounter Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist. In every parish in the diocese the Eucharist is celebrated each Sunday and of our 108 parishes, 70 plus parishes have some form of adoration each week and over 12 have perpetual adoration. It is from the Mass and from adoration that we are sent into the world to bring the love of Jesus to the world.