Dear friends who usually get my homilies: I am sending
along a homily from my friend, young Father Jeffrey Montz.
He was ordained a priest a year ago, and is now the Parochial
Vicar at St. Frances of Assisi [New Orleans]. Perhaps, as
moving as the homily is Fr. Jeff’s note to me which I have
copied and attached to the end of the homily.
Here is Fr. Jeff’s Homily: In the year 2009, I was distributing
communion to the faithful when a young woman approached
and extended her hands to receive the Eucharist. Almost as
soon as I had placed the Host in her hands, she began moving
away and in the process she dropped the host. Standing over the
fallen Host lying on the ground, a slight giggle, shrug of the
shoulders, and re-extended hands, her body language said to
me, “Ooops, I dropped it. Can you give me another one?”
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever
eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is
my flesh for the life of the world.”
August 15, 1996 an elderly Eucharistic minister was
distributing the Precious Body of Christ to the faithful in a
parish in Buenos Aires , Argentina when a similar accident
occurred. Not wanting to consume the Host because it was dirty
after falling to the ground, he asked the priest to pick it up.
Reverently the priest placed the Host in a receptacle of water
and put it into the Tabernacle where it would dissolve with
time. Six days later when the priest examined the Host that
should have been dissolved by now, he was perplexed by what
he saw. The Eucharist seemed to have grown in size and was
covered with red splotches.
Leave it for a few more days, he thought; it’s just a matter of
time. But then with each passing day the Sacred Species took
on the appearance of coagulated blood, until eventually the
Host looked like a piece of flesh. “The bread that I will give is
my flesh.” A miracle! Perhaps, but first this had to be
investigated. A lab in Buenos Aires examined a sample from
the Host. The scientist discovered red blood cells, white blood
cells, and hemoglobin, but what perplexed him the most was
that the cells were moving and beating.
Three years later Dr. Ricardo Gomez was called in to
perform a more thorough examination. He sent a sample from
the Host to a lab in New York but didn’t tell them what it is; he
wanted them to tell him what it is. They did. It’s living muscle
from a human heart.
Now the year is 2004, Dr. Gomez had located a unique
doctor named Frederick Zugibe whose expertise in examining
the heart of a dead person allows him to know the nature of the
person’s death. He too was given an opportunity to examine the
Host without knowing that this heart was formerly a round
wafer of wheat bread. His findings?
The heart belonged to a person who had been severely
tortured. “So Pilate wishing to satisfy the crowd, released
Barabbas and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be
After his examination, Dr. Zugibe passionately said to Dr.
Gomez, “You have to explain one thing to me, if this sample
came from a person who was dead, then how could it be that as
I was examining it the cells of the sample were moving and
beating? If this heart comes from someone who died in 1996,
how can it still be alive?” When Dr. Gomez explained to Dr.
Zugibe that it was the Eucharist, he nearly pulled his hair out of
his head in shock.
Backtrack to the 8th Century in Lanciano, a town in southern
Italy where a priest was celebrating the Mass doubting that
Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. As he raised the Host, it
instantly transformed into a piece of flesh in his hands. In the
1970’s this piece of flesh, which remains available for
veneration to this day, was tested by a leading Italian doctor.
His findings? It is living muscle from a human heart. Dr.
Gomez decided to cross examine the Host from Buenos Aires
with this Host from Lanciano.
Amazingly, both hearts were found to have come from the
same person. “I am the living bread that came down from
heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread
that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” My
brothers and sisters, our faith proclaims to us the wondrous
mystery that Jesus Christ is truly, really, and substantially
present in the Eucharist, the Bread of Life. It’s no mere symbol,
no mere reenactment. It is the Precious Body, Blood, Soul, and
Divinity of Jesus Christ! What I place in your hand or upon
your tongue is not a ritual piece of bread. I place God in your
hand! I place God on your tongue!
I know that even after telling you the story of the Eucharistic
miracle in Buenos Aires , I haven’t proven this. I can never
prove this truth, because it’s a matter of faith. However, all I’m
asking my brothers and sisters is that you ponder the story I
shared with you this morning.
Perhaps, the skeptic in you calls it all a bunch of lies.
Perhaps, the unimpressed call it a coincidence.
Perhaps you’re a person of faith and you’re in awe at what
I’ve shared with you. All I ask is that if there’s the slightest
inkling in your hearts that what you receive in the Eucharist is
the flesh of God, then please my brothers and sisters, never let
the lance that pierced my heart in 2009 when that young woman
stood carelessly over God’s fallen Body pierce my heart again.
Please treat this mystery which you receive with the reverence
HERE IS FR. JEFF’S RESPONSE TO ME WHEN I ASKED
PERMISSION TO PASS HIS HOMILY ON TO YOU. Hey, I’ve heard it said
that in any good homily we’re really preaching to ourselves. That being said, as
familiar as I was with the homily before I delivered it, I found that in
delivering it to the people it still had an effect upon my heart. For lack of better
words it stirred me. Afterwards, I found that my celebration of the Eucharistic
Prayer was even more meaningful. I can’t express how moved my heart was as
I said those words, “This is my body.” Those words seemed to flow from my
heart as if they were flowing directly from the Heart of Christ. The tone of
those words almost became a tone of pleading on Jesus’ part, “This is my
body,” “please believe me; this IS my body and I want all of you to believe and
to receive my Heart of Love!” We are so blessed to have the Eucharist!!!
Anyways, I’d be happy if you should share this homily with others; these are
the miraculous stories that God wants us to share so that our faith can be
strengthened. As it says in the Scriptures, “Encourage one another while it is
still day.” It’s sort of like the Transfiguration which was revealed to Peter,
James, and John so that they could persevere through the Passion and death of
Jesus. And I wouldn’t even mind if you didn’t give me credit. After all, it is
God who deserves all the credit on this one; I just did the typing :)
Also, to make the process of distribution easier I could email you a copy of
the homily if you’d like. Just let me know.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord now and forever! Your brother, Jeff
Dear friends who usually get my homilies: I am sending