By Fr. Stefano M. Manelli, FI
In the fifth luminous mystery, we consider the institution of the Eucharist, the Bread come down from heaven and given for the life of the world: Jesus’ own flesh. But billions of people receive no missionaries, and so they remain in darkness—without the Word of truth—and in the shadow of death—without the Bread of life. Let us pray that all people will be able to hear about Jesus and receive Him in the Eucharist, so as to be able to adore Him forever in Heaven.
The Eucharist is the Bread of divine life that nourishes the souls of the redeemed. Jesus explained this truth with extraordinarily clear words: “I am the bread of life” (Jn 6:48); and again “the bread which I shall give… is my flesh” (Jn 6:51); and “he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (Jn 6:54), but if you do not “eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (Jn 6:53).
The Eucharist is therefore the Sacrament that nourishes us divinely with Jesus, the Word made flesh, and thus the Sacrament that saves us and sanctifies us for the Kingdom of Heaven; whoever does not receive it or refuses it cannot have eternal life.
This consideration should be enough to make it clear how necessary the missions are, so that all peoples and all men can receive the divine Eucharist, the Bread of eternal life, the Body and Blood of Christ, the God-Man Who wants to give eternal life to every man.
When missionaries arrive at their missions, the first thing they do, in fact, is build a church or chapel in which the Eucharist becomes present and is reserved. The purpose of this is first of all to nourish and sustain the missionaries themselves, and then all those who are catechized and baptized, so as to form the Christian community, the little Church that grows among the unbelievers and pagans, who are still “in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Lk 1:79).
With what passion and zeal St. Francis Xavier, St. Justin de Jacobis, St. Francis Solanus, St. Daniel Comboni, and many other missionary Saints sought to multiply the places where Jesus was present in the Eucharist, progressively building churches and chapels in Asia, in Africa, and in the Americas!
But isn’t it true that there are—unfortunately—many peoples and countries still lacking missionaries, and therefore lacking churches and chapels in which the Body and Blood of Jesus are present in the Eucharist, are reserved, and can be received to nourish their souls?
If we reflect that the Catholics and Orthodox—who possess the Eucharist—are less that a billion and a half in the whole world, what about the other billions of men, of non-Christians, who do not yet have the Eucharist?
How sad this is! And how much we need to pray, multiplying our Rosaries, imploring the Mother of the Eucharist to increase the number of missionaries, who build churches and chapels with tabernacles for the Eucharist, thus giving all men everywhere the possibility to receive Jesus in the Eucharist and to nourish themselves with His Flesh and Blood for eternal life.