Think about those times in your life when you have felt inspired to something really great. Where does that inspiration come from?
The Holy Spirit. God inspires us to do great things with our lives.
----Matthew Kelly

Welcome to The Not So Perfect Catholic!

Disclaimer: I am not a theologian, just a Catholic empty-nester trying to figure it all out. The views on this blog are my own.

Is Jesus Really Present in a Wafer?

Picture of communal hosts in a paten with the quote under the picture: the faithful, encouraged by Holy Mother church, come to adore Christ hidden in the Blessed Sacrament" taken from the book 100 Holy Hours for Women (TAN Books)
Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash
While looking through some Instagram posts, this comment on a priest's post caught my eye: Jesus isn't in a wafer. At first I chuckled, but then I felt sad for the person who posted the comment. I felt sad because he thought he had to post that comment. I felt sad that he doesn't know The Truth. I prayed for him that one day he will come to know Jesus in the Daily Sacrifice of the Mass.
Another reaction I had to the post was Oh! But He is!

The Long(ish) Answer

Yes, there are "wafers" (hosts) on the altar, but during the Mass, something spectacular happens: Those "wafers" turn into the Body of Christ with the priest being in persona Cristi. During the Consecration, the priest says the same words that Jesus himself said during the Last Supper (in bold):
Take this, all of you, and eat of it,
For this is My Body,
Which will be given up for you.
and:
Take this, all of you, and drink from it,
For this is the chalice of My Blood,
The Blood of the new and eternal covenant,
Which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this in memory of me.
In 4 different books of the Bible, the verse is identical: This is My Body. (Matthew 26:26, Luke 22:19, Mark 14:22, and 1 Corinthians 11:24). As the USCCB website points out:  As St. Thomas Aquinas observed, Christ is not quoted as saying "This bread is my body" but "This is my body". (Summa Theologiae, III q. 78, a. 5)  

Mary & Joseph's Adoration was hidden in Nazareth in their home. They couldn't go out and announce to their neighbors that their son was God. We adore Jesus as He is hidden in the tabernacle, in the Holy Eucharist, but we can go out and tell people we adore Christ in the Eucharist. We don't have to be quiet about it as Mary & Joseph had to.

The Apostles didn't understand when Jesus said, A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while later and you will see me. (John16:16) During a homily, the priest said that if we look in other people we see Jesus. In people we don't like, we should see Jesus. That makes perfect sense. They wouldn't see Jesus after his Ascension but would see Him through the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. We see Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. What a privilege to be able to partake in this most Holy Sacrament! To be able to see Jesus in the "wafer".

In the book 100 Holy Hours for Women (Mother Mary Raphael Lubowidzka, TAN Books), I read at least a couple of quotes that say it much better than I am able:

  • The great love of our Savior hidden in the Holy Eucharist is, indeed, above the comprehension of the world that Jesus embraces with His perfections. (page 28)
  • Exalted above the Heavens, He conceals HImself under the appearance of bread and wine, for the purpose of giving Himself to souls and of strengthening them with His body and blood. (page 29)
Bottom line: We can't understand how Jesus is present in the host. It is a complete mystery that can only be explained by faith. Receiving the Eucharist and truly believing that He is present strengthens our faith.

The Short Answer

So, the short answer to the question Is Jesus in a wafer? would be "no". But the long answer: After the "wafer" has been consecrated, He certainly is. He is also present in the chalice which before consecration was wine.

Picture of communal hosts in a paten with the text Is Jesus really in a "wafer"? below the picture

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