Is Jesus really in the Eucharist?
My sister Judy has a very progressive form of ALS, and every day, something is changing — deteriorating. Her muscles are dying, and her nerves are spiraling and bunching up in pain. It is an awful, physical attachment. Yet, her eyes glow of heaven and her peace resounds. She is living with one foot in heaven and one foot on Earth.
When Judy was diagnosed, we held each other close and committed, in that moment, that we would walk together every step of the way. Each sister had their role to take, shifting from caregiver to cheerleader to prayer warrior to healing-remedy discoverer to nutritionist to simply a silent hand to hold.
The other day, during my two-hour drive to begin my honored week to be with her, my heart was racing. My insides felt like they were trying to jump out of my skin. My mind raced from one possible cure to the next, from one possible cause to the next, and from one place of action to the next. Then suddenly, on my Bible app, I began to play the day’s topic and it was about Job — all of his ailments, all of his friends trying to tell him it must be a curse, or if he does this he can get better, etc. Quickly, God appeared and said, “While I did not create the pain in Job’s life, I do permit it to occur.” The passage went on to say that the best path for a true friend to take is not to place blame or to try to find a quick fix, but rather to sit in quiet prayer with Job and trust in God’s divine will. It brought so much peace to me, personally! My heart stopped racing, and my intention shifted to truly just BEING with Judy this visit.
Within a few hours of my arrival, I found myself driving Judy to the seashore to hear the waves and feel the sun on our faces. We then drove to our dear friend’s home, sat in her garage (as Judy is no longer able to go upstairs to the living space), and prayed together. We prayed for healing, for a flood of love, and for God’s grace to be upon Judy. We cried, we rejoiced, and we felt the true presence of Jesus in our midst. In that moment, we decided to meet at church the next morning, in hopes of receiving the Eucharist.
The next day, Judy woke up early and we made it to church. We sat in our car and listened to mass through the live stream (getting out is a bit difficult right now). After the conclusion of mass, my dear friend arranged for the priest to come to our car to give Judy and me the Eucharist.
He came out of church, met us at the car, and carefully broke off a tiny piece for Judy to place on her tongue. Judy was happy to receive the Eucharist. However, her hands were not working properly, and she dropped the Eucharist in her lap. We laughed with joy as I reached over to pick it up and place it back on her tongue.
She closed her mouth, cupped her hands close to her face, and began to weep. She gazed and wept and gazed and wept. In that moment, she was otherworldly, and I sat quietly and prayed.
After her weeping had subsided, she sent a text to speech (she is non-verbal at the moment). This is what she said:
“I don’t really know if I ever truly believed that Jesus was present in the Eucharist. Now I know, HE IS.”
This moment imprinted on my heart and soul. I pray that it becomes my memory marker to reflect on, each and every time I receive Jesus in the Eucharist.
YES, my friends, JESUS is among us. Jesus is within us, and Jesus invites us to embody Him every moment of every day. Together with the holy sacrament of the Eucharist, we say, “YES,” as we invite him into our lives. We are only human; we need a daily reminder of this truth… “Give us our daily bread!”
Thank you, Jesus. I LOVE YOU, JESUS! Thank you for loving me…. And thank you for holding Judy so close.