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Why the Mass is important.

By Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD

Some of you might have seen the movie "Survive," based on a book entitled "Last Survivors of the Andes Mountains."

The true story relates about how 16 out of 45 passengers, mostly rugby players from Uruguay, survived a plane crash in the freezing Andes Mountains for 70 days.

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When they ran out of food supplies, they ate their clothes, rubber shoes, and even the flesh of their dead companions in order to live. Two of the 16 ventured to walk through the howling snow mountains to get help, and after nine days, rescue came.

The story tells dramatically that we need food for our body to live. But as Christians, we need another kind of food for our souls in order to live.

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Today we celebrate the feast of CORPUS CHRISTI, a Latin term which literally means the Body of Christ. The feast reminds us that the food par excellence which our souls need is the Eucharist.

One might ask, "Why does the Church put so much importance on the Eucharist or the Mass? Why not try other kinds of worship like finding God in nature or praying while commuting in the LRT or jeepney?

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Obviously that's all fine. But what Jesus had told us to do, as recorded in the gospel, is to come together as in the Last Supper, doing it "IN MEMORY OF ME" (Lk 22,19-20).

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The Eucharist, therefore, is not an invention of the Church nor an idea of the popes. It's simply and clearly the mandate Jesus bequeathed to his disciples more than 2000 years ago and to us, his succeeding disciples.

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TRANSUBSTANTIATION. But Christ wanted to remain present, too, to be with us physically - not just to be remembered. This brings us to the specifically Catholic teaching called the "Real Presence" of Christ in the Eucharist or "Transubstantiation."

His presence is not merely symbolic - as other Christian denominations claim - but real, actual and physical.

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It is unfortunate that many Catholics fail to appreciate the value of God's special gift. Sunday after Sunday, people come to Mass but refrain from receiving Holy Communion.

There's one last thing to remember. Some of us are afraid of dying. But if we eat Jesus' flesh and drink His blood, then we are assured of eternal life.

Jesus asserts this clearly and categorically: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life and I will raise him up on the last day" (Jn 6,55).

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ASK YOURSELF: Do I really believe Christ's presence in the Eucharist? Do I appreciate its importance by receiving it whenever I attend Mass?

The food that we eat for our body perishes, but the Food Jesus gives lasts to eternal life.

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. Priest tells Manny who's not been attending Sunday Mass, "How about joining the Army of God in church on Sundays?" Manny replies, "Ok Father, I promise to join."

After the succeeding Sundays and the priest didn't see Manny in church, he asked him: "Why didn't I see you in church among the Army of God as you promised?" "Father, I'm in the Secret Service," he replied.

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"Nice to see you're attending Mass again," said the priest, meeting a parishioner in the street. "Is it because of my sermons?"

"Not yours, wife's!" he said.

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PILGRIMAGE TO BALKAN COUNTRIES. There are Catholic shrines worth visiting in the Balkan states like Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina which includes the Marian shrine of Medjogorje.

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You are invited to join a pilgrimage to the Balkans from September 26 to Oct. 9, 2019. I will serve as chaplain.

For further inquiries, call Ms. Fe Buenviaje at 09178194509, 09995139517 or e-mail:


Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD
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Title Annotation:Opinions and Editorials
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Jun 23, 2019
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