PEREZ: Eucharistic Revival - What the kids of today urgently need

September 12, 2023

Editor’s Note: This part one of a two-part series. Part two will be in the Sept. 26 issue.

I am honored to be one of the Eucharistic preachers of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). I had the honor to preach a Eucharistic Revival preaching series in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

I have realized more and more that the Eucharist is especially what our world needs. It is so relevant and can help young people discover love, connection, unity and their identity. Jesus’ love is real and present. He is not distant. Jesus brings unity to our divided world.

And the Eucharist is the source of mercy in a world that lacks mercy. For us to bring this revival to the young, we adults have to see how blessed we are by this Sacrament to where we can’t imagine our lives without Him with us. Spending time with the Eucharist outside of Mass is an oasis in the desert of this life. Mass brings us the unity and peace we long for, and the Eucharist feeds us and strengthens us on our path to Heaven. The revival is something we have to allow God to do. So, before we try to bring this revival to the young, we need to humble ourselves, take some quiet time and adore Him.

Let’s appreciate how vulnerable Jesus comes to us in the Eucharist. How humble and intimate! Our world craves this.

As we know, more people are online than ever. More kids are content to stay in their rooms online and sometimes don’t even want to learn how to drive. People can easily be isolated, substituting true intimacy for fakeness, true vulnerability in person with a friend oversharing on the internet or with complete strangers. People long to be known and understood. The Eucharist is what we need. Jesus reaches us; He comes to us on our level as a dear friend. Let’s share this gift with our teenagers.

In the Eucharist, we receive the love of God for us. Don’t we hunger for that love? We have to receive with deep faith. Faith in the personal love for Jesus. In a world of iPhones and Christianity, all about the personal relationship with God, we do receive Jesus personally.

Can anything be more accommodating to our individuality than Holy Communion? Jesus becomes a part of us. He comes into our life. He wanted to give this gift to each person so they could receive it by being present at every Mass to see and experience how much they are loved. Is our world not starved for love? How many people live in darkness and in depression or anxiety trying to earn love?

Jesus is present in a world where there is sometimes a lack of parental presence, isolation, family members distant from each other. Jesus promises to never leave you. You can walk into any Catholic Church and adore Him and just be in His presence.

Also, it is significant that we receive Jesus’ body into our body. Young people and many people today can reject their body if it isn’t like the person they see on Instagram. Jesus gives His body to us and teaches us that we are to make a gift of ourselves, body and soul to Him and to love others in and through the body. The Eucharist is part of how Jesus redeems our bodies, which are a temple of the Holy Spirit, and we become the Body of Christ.

“Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (Jn 6:53). †

Father Victor Perez is pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church and St. Stephen Catholic Church in Houston. He is also one of two Eucharistic Preachers from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

(Photo by James Ramos/Herald)