Have you ever been an eyewitness to a miracle? A miracle is: a wonder; a marvel; an
extraordinary event in the physical world that
surpasses all known human or natural powers and is attributed
to a supernatural cause;
such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God.
Every Sunday we all witness a miracle taking place at Mass. In fact miracles occur on a regular basis each day that Mass is celebrated. The priest takes the bread and wine which are offered in our name and he says the words of consecration, just as Jesus did at the Last Supper. The bread and wine retain all of their appearances but they are turned into the living Body and Blood of Christ in what is called transubstantiation.
Today, most Protestant faiths believe that Eucharist is symbolic and not
really Jesus’ Body and Blood. In fact, nearly 37% of Catholics who are
questioned do not believe that they really receive Jesus in Communion.
Christ’s real presence is a core belief of our Catholic faith and it is not open
to debate. The Eucharist has been passed down to us from the Apostles.
Saint Paul often referred to the true presence of Christ in his letters to the
Churches as early as 40 years after Christ’s death. For example in his letter
to the Corinthians St Paul said: “Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a
sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in
the body of Christ?” 1 Cor. 10:16
In 750 AD at the Church of St. Francis “A monastic priest doubted whether the Body of Our Lord was truly present in the consecrated Host. He celebrated Mass and when he said the words of consecration, he saw the host turn into Flesh and the wine turn into Blood. Everyone present at the Mass witnessed the miracle. The Flesh is still intact today over 1200 years later and the Blood is divided into five unequal parts and held in a Monstrance in Lanciano, Italy.
In 1970, the Archbishop of Lanciano. Italy and the Provincial Superior of the Conventual Franciscans at Abruzzo, received approval from Rome to allow Dr. Edward Linoli, director of the hospital in Arezzo and professor of anatomy, chemistry, and clinical microscopy, to perform a thorough scientific examination on the relics of the miracle.
On March 4, 1971, the professor presented a detailed report of the various studies carried out. Here are the basic results:
1. The “miraculous Flesh" is authentic flesh consisting of muscular tissue of the heart.
2. The “miraculous Blood" is truly human blood A-B – the same blood type found on the Shroud of Turin and the type most characteristic of Middle Eastern populations.
3. The immunological study shows concretely that the flesh and the blood are human.
In 1973, the chief Advisory Board of the World Health Organization of the UN appointed a scientific commission to corroborate Linoli’s findings. Their work lasted 15 months and included 500 tests. It verified that the 1200 year old fragments taken from Lanciano could in no way be likened to embalmed tissue. The commission declared the fragment of flesh to be living tissue. Their reply fully upheld Professor Linoli’s conclusions. In Dec. 1976 in New York and Geneva, the report declared that “science has come to a halt, face to face with the impossibility of explaining the miracle.”
When you and I receive Christ in Holy Communion, may we recognize the miracle that we celebrate today! Let us receive Jesus with the awe, respect and humility that is due to the Son of God. After receiving, take time to give Him thanks and praise for choosing us to share His life.