Transubstantiation

This is a sort of public confession.  As a priest, when I say Mass, sometimes I say it with people who know nothing about the Catholic faith.  When that happens I try to make the Mass as intelligible as possible and I try to explain what is going on in the different parts.  At the time of the consecration, our church professes that a change takes place.  We believe that, although the bread and the wine look exactly the same as they did before the consecration, taste the same, feel the same, we believe that they are not the same.  We believe that with the words of the consecration they are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ.  That’s what we believe.  And here is my confession:  when those present are people with no background in Catholic teaching, I feel a little silly telling them what has just happened, that it is no longer bread and wine.  I feel like they may be thinking, “Look, we are all educated people here, adults who are pretty much in touch with the real world.  How can you possibly affirm that what is on the altar is no longer bread and wine?  Get real.”  And yet we know it is true; our faith tells us it’s true.  We believe it because that is what Christ told us. 

It occurs to me that there is a parallel here with how Christ is making His Kingdom come in our world.  Everything looks pretty much the same and maybe even getting worse.  Sometimes it’s hard to affirm that Christ is at work, that He is the Lamb taking away the sins of the world.  It certainly doesn’t look that way.  And yet we believe it.  We take it on faith because of the one who tells us so.  As the feast of Christ the King approaches, we affirm that the Kingdom really is on its way.   

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