During his life on earth, Christ was completely poor. He came to earth with nothing and left with nothing. In the Eucharistic host, he who created the galaxies again comes to us poor and naked. And yet, this poverty is only material, for Jesus comes to us rich in grace and in love. He ardently desires to give us all that we need if only we ask with confidence. He wants to bless us with an abundance of graces, which are the true riches of the soul.
Materialism and greed creep into our hearts so easily. Yet, we are called to follow Christ in poverty and detachment, giving generously to others of all that we have received. Give, and it will be given to you — more than you can ask or hope.
The gift of God’s presence is the greatest gift. To the ancient Israelites, there was no greater calamity than the withdrawing of the presence of the Lord. Likewise, there was no greater comfort than the assurance of his presence.
It is the same today. If we have Jesus, we possess all things; without him, we have nothing. Yet, we do not have to travel far to find the presence of Christ—he is as close as the nearest parish, the fulfillment of the ancient “bread of the presence” in the Jewish temple. Nor is his presence an abstraction or an idea; it is real and tangible to our senses. We Catholics can joyfully and truthfully say, “The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.”
If we are to imitate Christ, we must be present to those who need us. How many absentee fathers and husbands there are! How many wives and children have been abandoned by the man who is called to lay down his life for them. Are you present to your family? Are your wife and children your priority? If you are a husband and father, your presence is an irreplaceable gift. Be present.
If we imitated Christ in the Blessed Sacrament perfectly, we would be saints. But doing so is not easy. It requires constant repentance and conversion of life; a putting off of the old man and putting on of the new. This is our calling.
I encourage all of you to find an adoration chapel and to contemplate the Blessed Sacrament. Visit Jesus and adore him, asking for the grace to follow and imitate him completely. Pour out your heart to him, tell him your hopes and fears, your wants and needs — and hear him say in return those words of sacrament and salvation, “Lo, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.”