During my years in the seminary, I have always been reminded especially when studying liturgy that the “Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian Life” (Vatican II: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, n. 11). All my growing years, there was no daily Mass in my parish church. It was only on Sunday that there was Mass and there were times when the priest had to serve at one of the substations, so there would only be lay communion service. When I joined the seminary, daily Mass became part of my spiritual growth. Due to the shortage of priests, I realize that not every parish community has the opportunity to celebrate daily Mass. Nevertheless, the Eucharist is central to our faith. It is the moment when we experience the Lord in a very profound way. It is the greatest gift that Jesus left for us – it is a gift to be treasured and celebrated.

This month we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi. Parishes celebrate this feast in a variety of ways…procession of the Blessed Sacrament, Eucharistic adoration, Solemn Vespers and in other creative ways. Even though attendance at Mass is dwindling in some countries, there are places where it is increasing. Whether it is more or less, the efficacy of the Eucharist is the same. The Eucharist is meant to unite us with God and one another. The celebration of the Eucharist must transform us because in it we encounter God. In the gospels we read that every person who encounters Jesus go away different and many of them were empowered to change their lives for the better. Our meeting the Lord in the Eucharist must also have that same effect.

The sad reality is that we often look for the extraordinary in the Eucharist…miracles, apparitions, renowned preachers, or melodious choirs. The Eucharist that we celebrate every Sunday becomes mundane for some because they do not encounter that extraordinary and when we do not find the extraordinary, we tend to go “church shopping” and some stop going completely. Perhaps we have lost our focus on Jesus that the accidentals have become more important than the essential, that is, Jesus. In large cities, many people choose the Eucharist to celebrate based on timing, choir, priest, and comfort. I recently went to the outskirts to celebrate Mass and there was only one Mass and one church for them to celebrate the Sunday Eucharist. What impressed me was the gratitude parishioners showed for having the opportunity to celebrate Mass. It made me realize that those in large cities are spoilt for choices.

If only everyone who celebrates the Eucharist makes an effort to translate what we celebrate into action, than the Eucharist becomes etched into our lived experiences, at least for the coming week until we meet again at the next celebration. Let us not lose sight of Jesus in the Eucharist and miss the opportunity to encounter Him in a profound manner