Corpus Christi Sunday, May 29, 2005. On Albert Einstein and the Eucharist.

Homily — Corpus Christi MMV

It is said that the great scientist Albert Einstein died a frustrated man. After discovering early on in life the theory of relativity, and the famous formula e=mc2, Einstein spent the last 30 years of his life trying to discover something he never found.

It was called the unified theory — a universal equation which would unite the very different forces in the universe into one. Einstein hoped to find one formula that could be applied both on earth, out in deep space and inside the atom. But he died a failure in this 30 year quest for the universal formula for physics.

About this time Einstein discovered another universal formula. But unlike e=mc2, he wasn’t the first to discover it; rather, millions of people had discovered this universal formula before he did.

For at this same time in his life, Einstein became fascinated with the the formula for consecrating the Eucharist — those words of Jesus at the Last Supper “This is my Body . . . this is my Blood.” He became intrigued by the Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation — how the substance of bread could change into the living, risen Body of Christ, while still having the “accidents” or appearance of ordinary bread, and how liquid wine could change in the same manner into the substance of the Blood of the risen Christ while retaining all the qualities of ordinary wine.

Unfortunately, a friend of his gave him some German theology books to read that weren’t very orthodox. Had he been given St. Thomas Aquinas’ writings on the Eucharist, perhaps Einstein would have converted to Catholicism.

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. And those words of Christ “this is my Body . . . this is my Blood” truly are a universal formula, for every person of every age, of every time and place, until the end of time.

Newton taught us F=MA. And with that formula we put a man on the moon. Einstein said E=mc2, and using that formula, scientists made an atom bomb.

But Jesus said “This is my Body . . . this is my Blood” and when a Catholic priest uses that formula over bread and wine at Mass, man is brought not to the moon but to the heights of Heaven.

And the Eucharist is more powerful than an atom bomb. For the Eucharist powerfully unites, it never divides. The Eucharist powerfully builds up, it never destroys.

On this Most Solemn Feast of Corpus Christi, in this the Year of the Eucharist which our late great Holy Father John Paul II has decreed, may we Catholics rediscover the power behind that universal formula. And may even non-Catholics, non-Christians, agnostics, and atheists discover for themselves the power that lies behind those words of Christ: “This is my Body, given for you . . . This is my Blood, shed for you.”

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