Where is God really Present? As Roman Catholics it is a basic doctrine of our church that God is the Eucharistic that we receive. This in many ways is a very important – some may say the most important - belief in our faith system. We believe that when Jesus said at the last supper, “This is my body” – “This is my blood” he was not being metaphorical but really saying this truly is me. Many Catholics struggle with this belief. I have read polls that say that as high as 80% of Roman Catholics do not believe in the real presence known as Transubstantiation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church #1373-1377 deals with this reality most specifically but quoting the Council of Trent it says, “the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.” (DS 1651) Our struggle comes from our “scientific” mind which says, “Hey, it looks like bread and tastes like wine so it must be bread and wine!” But our faith wants to helps us learn something more profound about God‟s connection to people of faith. The song Tantum Ergo Sacramentum puts it best when it says, “Faith will tell us Christ is present, when our human senses fail.” Our senses may not see it and our mind may not be able to explain it but when we pray and when our hearts are focused we know at a core level that this is true. We are receiving Christ – not something that reminds us of Him or something that is blessed by Him, but Christ real and fully there. We hold God in our hands when we receive the Eucharist. But our faith and our understanding of God actually gives us more to consider and hold dear. If you read the Catechism and especially the articles concerning Christ being present you will see clearly that as a church we know that Christ is present in other areas as the same reality. The documents on the Liturgy speak quite specifically that we celebrate Christ present in three distinct and equally important ways during our celebration. He is present in the Gospel as it is proclaimed as well as in the community of believers. That is why in the formal procession at our weekend liturgies we process in with the Book of the Gospels. He is not there in the book specifically but when the Gospel is proclaimed in the community He is made present. He is also present in the people sitting next to us in our pew. That is why we take a moment after the consecration, with Jesus present there on the altar to give the Sign of Peace. We share Christ present in each one of us just prior to receiving Christ present in the Eucharist. Our readings this weekend give us some insight into God‟s presence with us as we are fed and taken care of in our daily lives. The readings remind us how hard our lives can become but that if we keep our faith we will make it. The prophet Elijah is ready to give up and asks God, “Take my life…” How often do we have that feeling of just giving up? God sends His angel to come and feed the prophet. If a prophet that can talk to God and hears His voice directly looses faith and wants to give up on God, it makes sense that for us that do not get the blessings of that close connection to God may also have struggles now and again. Jesus gives us hope when he reminds us that He is our bread and it is bread from heaven. We have to remember that just like Jesus being completely present in our Eucharist; God is completely present for us in our world and in our life. The image of bread comes to us again and again in our Gospel stories. Jesus feeds the five thousand with bread and fish. Jesus says I am the bread from heaven. We have to understand that bread for Jesus is not like we think of it today as a small side dish. For Jesus bread was the main staple of life. It kept them going and kept them alive. So when Jesus uses this metaphor of being the bread from Heaven, He is saying that God is the basis of life. God is the very foundation of what keeps us alive. Take a moment and think about that. Is God the absolute basic ingredient to everything we do? Is faith and trust in God the focus of every day of our lives? If we take the time to realize how important faith is then seeing Jesus present in our world becomes a little easier. It makes more sense why people go to the Adoration Chapel in the middle of the night even in the worst heat or cold of the year. Being able to sit in peace and quiet for even one hour becomes the bread of life and keeps people going. Rather than seeing an hour in the Adoration Chapel or the hour of church on Sunday as an interruption on life some people see these moments of receiving God as the only thing that keeps them going from one week to the next. This is the beginning of understanding what the real presence in the Eucharist is really all about. If we can open our eyes and our hearts to God we will understand that it is impossible NOT to God. It becomes impossible to miss mass even on vacation or when life becomes busy. It becomes impossible to make it through the hustle and bustle of life without those times of being with God and receiving Him real and entire. How do we get to this point in our faith journey? I think each of us does it at our own speed. How do we make ourselves understand real presence? I think we have to start by allowing ourselves the freedom to say that we don‟t know or don‟t understand. We have to get past our quick reaction of, “Oh, yeah I learned that in CCD, whatever.” We have to be honest with ourselves and ask, “Do I believe that – Do I believe that God is in my hand?” If we can say yes, Great! But keep that in mind when you come to church and receive. Remind yourself every time you come into church that you are here to receive God. Remind yourself when you are getting ready for mass – I am dressing to be with God. I am walking into God‟s home and He is present here. God is present in the person that I am sitting next to and I should greet them as I would greet God. Would you sit next to God without saying, “Hi?” Then why do we do it in church? We need to remind ourselves that the Liturgy of the Word is God coming into us. So how „snappy‟ the homily is should not come into play. Would you reject God just because He was a little slow or was not coming to you with bells and whistles? God is coming to us every time the Gospel is preached in the assembly of believers. Do we receive Him? Now, let‟s be honest with each other; there is not one of us that is perfect and we hit it right every time. There is not one person that comes into church correctly with our mind focused and our hearts ready and open to God every day. There is not one of us that does not get distracted and misses out on a place where God was there for us. The point is not to be perfect but to keep trying again and again. We have to give God a chance to come and give us His insight in our lives. If we seek God, He will reveal Himself to us. If we seek we will find; if we knock on His door and ask Him to show Himself, he will answer. If we take a moment before we come forward to receive the Eucharist and pray, “God help me to see you in what I am about to receive.” You will know in your heart what is true. More to the point is to look for God everyday. Imagine if you could make it your prayer, “God, I do not see you in my life – please show me where you are today.” God will reveal Himself. It may take a few tries to clear your vision and to open your eyes but we are promised again and again that God is present, real and complete for those that seek Him. God can show us what our senses fail to perceive if we realize that God is not just something nice to have but the bread that keeps us alive. He is bread from Heaven that keeps us going – that keeps us alive.