It is a simple concept but an unexplainable mystery, difficult to comprehend. It speaks to the heart of who we are as Church and yet it is often overlooked because it remains hidden in less important observations. It is too often diminished, either intentionally or otherwise, consciously or unconsciously, for the sake of making it more palatable, more ’normal’ and less mysterious. If one investigates it with an objective and acute Catholic awareness, he or she would discover that it is at the center of what history calls the Protestant Reformation; what I prefer to call Protestant Revisionism.
I speak of a threefold mystery that lies at the root of our Faith and the root of our Church as governed and maintained by Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. I speak of the Eucharist, the Priesthood, and their symbiotic relationship present in His words to the Apostles: “Whoever receives you, receives me.”
Consider all the good works Christ performed and all the good words He preached during His 3-4 years of ministry before His Passion, Death and Resurrection. At the Last Supper, before He established the Eucharist and the Priesthood, He told His apostles of His desire to remain with us and His need to return to the Father. Blessed Alberione, founder of the Daughters of St. Paul, says, “Out of His love for the Father and for us, Christ was about to institute a divinely ingenious way to stay with men and yet depart from them.” He established, at the same time, the Priesthood and the Eucharist.
The two are intertwined. They are symbiotic. They depend on each other by the Grace of the Holy Spirit. Even though His presence in the Eucharist is perfect while His presence in the priest may seem diminished by the man’s “humanness,” He is, nonetheless, present, whole and undefiled, in the Sacramental actions of the priest. We cannot belittle either Sacrament but should always remember Christ’s mind-boggling words: “Whoever receives you, receives Me.”