The three-year national Eucharistic Revival, designed to reinforce the Catholic teaching of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, was launched in the Diocese of Nashville on Sunday, June 19, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, also known as Corpus Christi.
At the Cathedral of the Incarnation, Bishop J. Mark Spalding led one of several Eucharistic processions held at churches throughout the diocese.
With the procession, the diocese will begin turning up the dial on the Revival, which will include activities around the diocese, Bishop Spalding said in his homily during the Mass before the procession. The Revival will culminate with a National Eucharistic Congress, July 17-21, 2024, in Indianapolis.
Step by step, he said, the Revival will place “the Eucharist before us and once again draw it close to ourselves as a Church in our understanding of all that it gives us.”
“We believe in the very presence of Christ given to us body and blood, soul and divinity,” Bishop Spalding said. “Get that phrase down. … Pray through the Holy Spirit that you can come to understand it and appreciate it more and more in your life. What does it mean for me to believe in the very true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, body and blood, soul and divinity?”
“St. John Paul II once said within the Mass you have the whole treasure of the Church, because within the Mass you’re in the presence and receive the very presence of Christ,” Bishop Spalding said. “He’s talking about the gift we receive here, the gift in word and sacrament week in and week out.”
“The more you draw yourself into the Eucharist, the more your life has purpose and meaning and direction,” the bishop said.
“Week in and week out, we have to come back here because we have our disappointments, our trials, things that weaken us and sadden us,” Bishop Spalding said.
Those trials can make people “overly anxious and fearful or resentful, bitter and angry,” he said. “We can be neither as disciples of Jesus. And that’s why we come back here. Once more I nourish myself in word and sacrament. Once more I nourish myself at the gift of the sacrifice of Christ at this altar, the very gift of himself. And it comes into me and I’m spiritually renewed, and once again I live my life as a Christian this week, knowing next week I come back again.”
Attending Mass weekly allows people to renew their commitment to live the faith, Bishop Spalding said. “One more time, this week, I’m going to give it a shot to become more like Christ in my life, because I need it. I need that meaning, I need that direction, I need that encouragement.
“Though I’ve been weak and wounded in my life at times and fallen, in the Eucharist and in Christ himself I’m lifted back up and sent back into the world to live and love and to have meaning and purpose,” he said.
“A lot of our world needs that, needs Christ himself, and you and I can bring that to others,” Bishop Spalding said. In receiving the Eucharist, we are sent “into the world to change it for the better, in whatever way we can find it, at home, work, school, you name it.”
The bishop encouraged parents and grandparents to “always tell your children, your grandchildren you love them. Don’t ever stop telling them that you love them. But along with telling them you love them make sure you also tell them that you want them to have the best. And part of them having the best on this earth is faith, belief in Jesus Christ.
“If they don’t know Christ, and especially if they don’t experience him in word and sacrament, there’s a little less in their life,” Bishop Spalding added. “We can give them more. And that’s what the Feast of Corpus Christi is about.”
Active participation in the Mass is important, Bishop Spalding said.
“It takes some time and effort and energy for all of us to celebrate Mass well,” he said. “We have to understand our active participation in silence and in song, in the speaking and in the listening, and in the gesture and all that we are as Roman Catholics.”
“What is spoken most profoundly is the word made flesh who came and lived and dwelt among us, and in word and action he showed us how we should be living our life,” Bishop Spalding said. “And then he gave us something to always remember him, the Eucharist itself.
“Let us never forget what we have here,” he said. “Let us bring others around this table so they can receive the great gift of Jesus himself.”