Seeing as today is the solemnity of Corpus Christi, I thought I'd share a brief reflection about the Eucharist.
I went to a wedding in Washington D.C. last month. On the car ride there, I tried to grill Dan (the brother of the groom) for details about the wedding itself. I specifically recall that Dan said they weren't going to "waste any time with the stations of the cross or the Eucharist or anything symbolic like that".
I was offended by the insinuation that the Eucharist is a waste of time, seeing as it is the source, summit and center of the life of the Catholic Church. But I couldn't help but be struck by the idea that a merely symbolic Eucharist is a waste of time.
For Catholics, the Eucharist is not symbolic. It is not a symbol of the Body and Blood of Christ; it is the Body and Blood of Christ, through the power of transubstantiation. Jesus Christ is really and truly present on the altar in the form of bread and wine.
But other Christian denominations deny this entirely, and in a sense, they "demote" the Eucharist to the level of symbolism. I still don't understand the reasoning behind this. Why would people prefer a symbolic presence over the True Presence? Why would you want to attend a mass where you simply remember Jesus, in favor of a mass where you actually encounter Jesus? How could replacing the Body and Blood of Christ with a mere symbol be anything other than a horrible loss?
Although I don't agree with what Dan said about the Eucharist, perhaps he is correct in believing that if Christ is not truly present at a mass, then attending that mass is just a waste of time.