Commentary: A marvel way beyond iPhone

Catholic News Service

Responding to editors’ requests for a regular sampling of current commentary from around the Catholic press, here is an editorial titled “A marvel way beyond iPhone” from the July 8 issue of The Catholic Post, diocesan newspaper of Peoria, Ill. It was written by Thomas J. Dermody, editor in chief.

It fits in the palm of your hand. It connects people around the world. And people were lining up for it last weekend across our diocese and nation.

No, we’re not speaking of the iPhone, the latest “must have” techno-gadget released in stores June 29 on the crest of a giant wave of publicity. But last weekend it seemed nearly everyone else was talking about the new product from Apple. The anticipation of the tiny marvel’s arrival sent tens of thousands of consumers into near frenzy, eager to be among the first to own the device that seems capable of doing everything but the laundry.

It’s a mobile phone. And a camera. And a music source, able to hold enough songs to fill a library. Oh yes, it plays videos too, like those from YouTube. Finally (or more likely not), it’s a connection to the Internet offering e-mail, Web browsing, maps, etc., at the owner’s fingertips wherever he or she goes.

But enough about the iPhone.

We want to talk about something far better — so much better that the two don’t belong in the same sentence. In fact, tens of thousands of Catholics in central Illinois lined up to hold this miracle in the palm of their hands last weekend.

Still, we’re willing to wager that few in our diocese went home and excitedly told family, neighbors and friends that they were privileged to receive this incredible gift. Sadly, we doubt that many gave another thought to what is considered the church’s greatest treasure 15 minutes after receiving the Eucharist.

And it makes us wonder: How filled would our churches be if Catholics behaved like what we claim to believe about the Eucharist is true?

That Jesus Christ, the Son of God and savior of the world, is really present — body, blood, soul and divinity — in the consecrated host. Shouldn’t we be telling others?

That, while an iPhone may connect us with someone living on the other side of the world, the Eucharist connects us with every believer not only on earth but even in heaven.

You want time travel? The Eucharist takes us back to Calvary, to the foot of the cross. It can change the future.

Can the iPhone heal? The Eucharist can. On Sunday, I was privileged to witness as Christ began to heal broken hearts in LaSalle as members of Resurrection Parish came forward to receive Communion during the final Mass at their church. “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord,” they sang, even as they dabbed their eyes with tissues.

The Eucharist offers peace. And hope.

It is love.

There isn’t enough space here to write about all the wonders of the Eucharist, even if we could. The Eucharist, after all, is a mystery. But how can we watch as the nation goes gaga over a gadget and remain mysteriously silent when we have been given a marvel as far beyond the iPhone as that device is beyond two tin cans linked by string?

Americans love their gadgets. Catholics must love their Eucharist. And we must share that love.

“We should always be ready to promote this life-changing reality to our children, our relatives, our friends, our neighbors and even to strangers,” wrote Peoria Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, of the Eucharist in his 2006 festival letter to the Diocese of Peoria. When is the last time we did so with enthusiasm befitting the reality?

Let’s behave like what we believe is true. Let’s start this week.

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