Truly encountering Jesus in the Eucharist leaves one changed. It left me changed.
A lifelong Catholic, I first encountered Christ in the Eucharist, as a Person, when I was sixteen. I was at a youth retreat, and the Eucharist was exposed for Adoration in the monstrance. That weekend, the Eucharist kept catching my attention. My heart shifted, never to return to its former construction.
Like the stubborn and forgetful Israelites in today's First Reading, it took me a bit longer to intend to keep His commandments, but I never forgot the way He looked at me with love.
His eyes followed me through the years I struggled to determine what was missing in my already-lovely life. Every once in a while, I would sneak into Eucharistic Adoration and sit with Him. And when I allowed myself to look back at Him, I truly saw that, without Him, I merely wandered in the desert, starving and longing (see Deuteronomy 8:3).
Jesus in the Eucharist is still changing me.
All these years later, the Eucharist remains the source of my joy. When I’m wrestling with uncertainty, lack of hope, pain, fear, loneliness, or fatigue, I know to run to Him. In His Eucharistic presence, “truth away the shadow chases, light dispels the gloom of night” (see Sequence).
Despite our wandering, our forgetfulness, and our desire to rely upon ourselves, the Lord remains with us in the Blessed Sacrament. Like some of the disciples, after hearing the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel in John 6, we might leave Him. But He never leaves us. Even to this day. Even still.
Today, Jesus is present to you under the guise of bread and wine. He is looking at you with love. Will you allow Him to catch your attention?