Friday, August 31, 2012

The Measure of Authentic Faith in Christ

Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

The difficulty of our Lord’s teaching regarding the Eucharist has antagonized not only the Jews but his disciples as well: “This is hard: who can accept it?” They found it too much to bear that we should eat His body and drink His blood. The doctrine of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist was too difficult to accept. What prevented them from accepting what they called this “hard” teaching about the Eucharist? The Jews last Sunday have expressed their difficulty: “How could this man give us his flesh to eat?” They saw Jesus as no more than just a man. They did not see Jesus as God. For while it is impossible for a mere man to give his flesh to be eaten, for God, however, it can be done. God can assume human flesh and he can give it for us to eat. Nothing is impossible to God.
“Many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.” The Eucharist is the litmus test of a Christian’s faith in Jesus. A Christian cannot really say that he believes that Jesus is Lord and God not until he believes that Jesus gives his flesh as food to be eaten. Thus, I really question the faith of “bible Christians” who claim that they have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. How can they say that they believe that Jesus is Lord and yet not believe that his flesh is real food and his blood is real drink? They have turned their back on Jesus simply because what he said was too difficult to accept. And that is also why I am not at all surprised that in the 1960’s the same Christian communities also abandoned the Christian stand against birth control. If they could abandon Christ on account of the difficulty of the Eucharistic dogma, they could also abandon Christ on account of the difficult of the moral stand against birth control.

On the other hand, Jesus even challenged his 12 apostles to leave him if they found the doctrine of the Real Presence in the Eucharist unacceptable. Peter, the first Pope, answers the Lord: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” In spite of the big number of disciples who have abandoned the Lord, this humble band of apostles makes their stand on the side of Jesus. Thus, it comes as no surprise that even if the whole world, fellow Christians included, should turn its back to the Lord on issues like birth control, the Catholic Church will still stand by the Lord. If the Church did not abandon the Lord in spite of the difficulty of the Eucharistic dogma, she will not abandon the Lord now on account of a smaller issue like birth control. Even if they say that thousands of Catholics no longer listen to what the Pope and the bishops say…even if 190 Ateneo professors should abandon the Church’s stance against birth control, still, the humble number of Christ’s real faithful would stand by him for what is wrong and false remains to be wrong and false even if everybody does it and what is right and true will always be right and true even if nobody does it anymore. Like Joshua and the Israelites in the first reading, the small number of real faithful continues to say: “Far it be from us to forsake the Lord for the service of other gods…we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.” Like Peter, the first Pope, the Church continues to say, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” “Decide today whom you will serve…As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord!”

Jesus, I trust in you. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

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