Friday, January 18, 2013

Week of Christian Unity Day One

In my own family we try to practice Christian unity. How? Since I have two brothers-in-law who are Protestant, we accept them as true brothers in Christ. The same attitude is practiced toward our sister-in-law who is also Protestant. All three are Christian believers. We build on the solid rock foundation of our belief in Jesus Christ, true God and true man. We read the Bible as the Word of God. We pray the Lord's Prayer, the Our Father obeying Jesus' instruction to "pray like this."
As Catholic Christians we believe that in the Eucharistic bread and wine Jesus Christ is truly present. In fact we believe in what we call transubstantiation. That is a very long word which says that the very substance of bread and wine contain the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults explains this doctrine in these words:
Since the Middle Ages, the change of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ has been called "transubstantiation." This means that the substance of the bread and wine is changed into the substance of the Body and Blood of Christ. The appearance of bread and wine remain (color, shape, weight, chemical composition), but the underlying reality--that is, the substance--is now the Body and Blood of Christ. (page 223)
At the Last Supper Jesus "took bread...and said 'This is my body.... Then he took the wine saying, 'This is my blood..' " This is the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, the sacrament of unity. We pray this week that all Christians may one day be united in their faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. In John Chapter 6 Jesus promised he would give "his flesh as food, his blood as drink." At the Last Supper he fulfilled his promise. There is a saying about the birth of Jesus, "He whom the whole world could not contain is hidden in the womb of the Virgin Mary."
If God could do this, he is certainly capable of transforming bread and wine into his divine Body and Blood.
We pray that one day all Christians will be able to approach the table of the Eucharistic Bread and be united in the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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