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For Your Weekend: Heaven on Earth

Caitlin Bean

Dig Deeper into Sunday’s Gospel: Read Mark 14:12–16,22–26

I have never witnessed a Eucharistic miracle. However, incredible accounts are recorded in which the Eucharist takes on biological signs of Jesus’ presence, such as a host bleeding human blood or transforming into a piece of heart tissue.[1] These miracles, which have occurred throughout the world over the history of the Church, are extraordinary events and gifts from God, meant to increase our faith and awaken us to the reality that Jesus truly is present—Body, Blood, soul, and divinity—in the Eucharist. 

I have never witnessed a Eucharistic miracle. Though, I have watched my 95-year-old grandmother, a woman of great faith, always request to receive this precious gift, even in her final days of life. I witnessed the way the words “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed” came so easily to her despite her dementia. I witnessed the clarity in her eyes and the conviction in her voice as she said, “Amen,” she carefully held her hands to her mouth after she received as if cradling the most precious thing in the world. I have witnessed the evident peace that would fall over her. 

I have never witnessed a Eucharistic miracle. But I have seen an elderly war veteran sit in the front pew of the church every week, kneel during the consecration (despite being obviously riddled with arthritis), and when the priest held up the Eucharist, beat his chest and said aloud, “My Lord and my God, my Lord and my God, my Lord, and my God,” with a fervor that left no room for doubt. 

I have never witnessed a Eucharistic miracle. However, I have glimpsed the joy that falls over little children, who only have eyes of faith and are free of cynicism and doubt, as they receive their first Holy Communion. 

I have never witnessed a Eucharistic miracle. Yet I have watched some priests, young and old, pronounce the words of consecration with such profound reverence, their eyes beholding the mystery that is in their very hands. The sacredness with which they regarded this part of the Mass made it impossible not to believe in the miracle occurring right before my eyes. 

I have never witnessed a Eucharistic miracle. But I have seen family members, bearing deep wounds and wrestling with different aspects of the Church, choose to never leave because of their conviction that what Jesus said is true—this is His body, given up for them, and that the Church is the only place where they can enter into the heavenly feast. 

I have never witnessed a Eucharistic miracle. Still, I have watched two religious sisters rush to the aid of a priest after he tripped and spilled the precious Blood. They knelt and kissed the ground, dabbed away at the carpet with clean linens, and stayed watch with their Lord until Mass had ended. 

So no, I have never witnessed a Eucharistic miracle, at least not in the traditional sense. But I have attended the most holy Mass for nearly thirty-two years, I have read Scripture, immersed myself in the stories of the saints, and have had the honor of observing my brothers and sisters in Christ bear witness to the Real Presence with profound devotion. In the moments when doubt whispered—really? How can His Body actually be contained in that little white host? Why would He give Himself up for you?—I have prayed, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). And I recall the unwavering faith of all these people who have allowed me to know that the Eucharist is truly the most precious gift, the source and the summit of our faith.

Oh, my sisters, do we realize—truly realize—that every time we witness the consecration, we are, in fact, witnessing a miracle? Yes, it is something that transcends our understanding. But do we allow ourselves to be filled with awe and wonder? Do we let the weight of this miracle deepen our faith? Are we willing to discover that only Jesus has the words to eternal life and that it is only He who can quench our thirst and satisfy our deepest hunger?

So tomorrow, on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, let us hear anew the words Jesus speaks to us in Sunday’s gospel: 

While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body." Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many” (Mark 14:22-24).

Everything we are, everything we hope to be, everything we do in our daily lives—it all finds its meaning and fulfillment in the Eucharist, which Jesus instituted with these very words the night before He died. These words are not just a distant historical event. They are made new at every Mass so that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is perpetuated throughout the ages until He comes again.[2]

Far from a mere symbol, the Eucharist is where heaven meets earth, a sacred gift, the greatest mystery of our faith, where we encounter our living God, and where Jesus offers Himself entirely to us. Ever so humbly, Jesus invites us to receive Him and to allow Him to dwell within us so that He may transform and sustain us on our journey home to Him. May our hearts be open to receive all that He is—Body, Blood, soul, and divinity—and may our lives reflect the profound love and sacrifice He gives us in this Most Blessed Sacrament. 

Food for thought or journaling...

Reflect on your mindset and attitude as you receive the Eucharist. Do you approach it with reverence, gratitude, and awareness of its profound significance, or has it become a routine action? Consider ways you can deepen your appreciation and understanding of this sacred sacrament.

Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. Give me eyes of faith that I may know Your true presence in the most holy sacrament of the altar, and may my witness to Your presence help others who are struggling to believe in the Eucharist. Jesus, increase the faith of my brothers and sisters who do not believe in the Eucharist. Unite Your Church so that we may be one. 

[1] Magis Center, “4 Approved Eucharistic Miracles from the 21st Century,” Magis Center (November 15, 2023); https://www.magiscenter.com/blog/approved-eucharistic-miracles-21st-century.
[2] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd edition (Vatican: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2012), #1323.

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