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Introduction to Eucharist Book

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

The Eucharist is the center of Christianity. To understand the Eucharist is to begin to understand why God became man in the person of Jesus Christ.

This book is an effort to express the Catholic faith in the deepest mystery of Christianity. We believe that God became man in the person of Jesus Christ. But that is only the beginning. To believe in Jesus Christ is to believe that God became a human being, with flesh and blood, was conceived of His virgin mother Mary, born in Bethlehem and then for thirty years lived a hidden life in Nazareth.

He remained in total obscurity during those thirty years in Nazareth, realizing that once He would identify Himself as the Living God who became man, His death was imminent.

Jesus exercised His public ministry for only three years in Palestine. Not once, but many times, His life was in danger. Three years was only as long as He could remain alive by declaring Himself to be the Son of God who became man. Once His public ministry was complete, He allowed Himself to be betrayed by one of His own disciples, tried as an imposter and then crucified on Calvary. Once He allowed this, He remained alive for only one day. He chose to die at the hands of His enemies who had been the chosen people.

The night before He died, Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist in order to remain alive as the God-man until the end of human history on earth. We, as Catholics, know that Jesus is truly present in the Holy Eucharist – His Body, Blood, soul and divinity. Anyone who believes otherwise is not a Catholic.

It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of Christ’s short life on earth between His conception and His death on Calvary. In the two thousand years since He died on the Cross, He has been crucified time and again by those who refuse to believe that the Living God became man, died out of love for us and remains alive for us in His Real Presence. This has been the history of Christianity for twenty centuries. He has died many times since His Crucifixion. True enough, He died physically only once. But His enemies have crucified Him countless times ever since – including so-called Catholics who no longer believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

The Christ in whom we believe is the Living God who became man to teach us the most important lesson we have to learn in life. We are only as faithful followers of Jesus Christ as we are willing to die like Him, with Him and for Him at the hands of the world who refuses to believe that the infinite God died on the Cross. We must be willing to die out of love for Him as He, our God, chose to become man to die out of love for us.

Copyright © 1998 by Inter Mirifica
No reproductions shall be made without prior written permission.

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