To prepare for the upcoming Papal Mass, I'm working on getting the concept of transubstantiation into my heart. This week I took my family every day to 6:30 AM Daily Mass. (A special thank you to my five year old, who loves to sleep late, and who requested an actual cup of coffee at our 7:15 breakfast. To my surprise, she drained her cup.) I went Adoration for a half hour last night after having an inspring talk with my sister who is thinking about attending a Catholic Church. My reward for hours of lost sleep came with a real nugget of understanding of the Eucharist during today's homily by Father Brennan:
"Today's Scripture reading shocked its first Jewish audience. Jesus said "unless you eat of my body and drink my blood, you cannot have eternal life." The Jewish religion provided no preparation for such a message. It sounded like cannibalism or even worse.
I often think what a grace it is that Jesus left the wine and the bread in their same outward appearance after he turns it into his body and blood. How many of us could bear to eat at the Table of the Eucharist if we could see and taste the actual blood and body of Christ?"
I never thought of the Eucharist in that way. I always thought of transubstantiation as an abstract "test." A rather hard one at that. Can you have enough "faith" to believe in something that tastes & smells exactly the same as "regular" bread and wine? I never thought of it as a way of Jesus himself being humble and gentle with us skittish humans. Our Lord comes to us in a gentle form so that it is as gentle as possible for us to eat at his table.
Sort of like the bananas I'm currently mashing for Baby Maria. Or the way my husband showed up in my life. Not with frightening fireworks or the great trumpet blare of "This is your future Spouse." Instead, Jon's unique presence announced itself through a comfortable feeling that came over my heart as we first chatted over a Starbuck's coffee cup.