From John 6 to Pope Paul VI, by way of Flannery O’Connor, Bob Dylan, and some Italians eager to have Communion, the most-watched video of Bishop Robert Barron is a quick yet comprehensive primer on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
The video, running an hour and 12 minutes, comes from a talk that Bishop Barron gave at the RECongress in LA in 2020. It has gotten more than a million views on YouTube.
Barron endeavors to give a sweeping history of the Church’s teaching about Christ’s Presence in the Eucharist, establishing that the Church has consistently understood Christ’s Real Presence since Jesus himself asked the Apostles if they would also leave him because of this teaching.
Barron begins with what Jesus himself says in the Gospel (and the Greek word used there for “eat,”) then stops briefly at some highlights from the Fathers in the first five centuries of the Church, moves to a conflict over the Eucharist in the 1000s, then on to Thomas Aquinas, Trent and the Protestant Reformers, and up to Pope St. Paul VI’s document at the end of Vatican II.
Bishop Barron says he was inspired to give the talk because of a Pew study out that year that found 70% of Catholics don’t believe in the Real Presence of the Eucharist.
In the last moments of the video, Barron considers both how Jesus brings such a thing about, and why he chose to do it.
While the talk is “academic,” Barron’s style and frequent images from contemporary life — the Simpsons and baseball, for example — make it an easy watch. If you only have an hour and want to go deeper in the Eucharist, it’s the video for you.b