It’s interesting to consider, and even to meditate on the fact, that all the Apostles at the Last Supper received the Eucharist, but not all of them were transformed. Judas Iscariot still betrayed Jesus, Peter lied about knowing him, and during the melee in the Garden of Gethsemane the other disciples ran off into the night.
Simply receiving Holy Communion isn’t enough, it’s not something magical, rather it’s meant to be the ultimate moment of intimacy and spiritual nourishment when we come to the altar with hearts that are firm in faith and burning with love.
Throughout his public ministry, Our Lord preached the good news, healed the sick, and forgave sinners. To those who experienced Our Lord’s healing power, he would often say: “Your faith has saved you.” But there were places where Our Lord couldn’t perform miracles because the people had no faith. And so it is with the Eucharist. Unless we have a firm faith in Jesus and a desire to love him more, the grace that is available to us at Mass will be limited.
The soldiers who gambled for Our Lord’s clothing on Calvary were very close to the Cross but they were far from salvation. The innkeeper who turned away Joseph and Mary was close to the new-born Messiah but he was far from the Incarnation. So too at Mass, we can be close to the altar but far from the sacrifice.
Our Lord knows our weakness. He understands our difficulty. After all, he lived in our human flesh for more than thirty years. He suffered the same temptations we face; and though he never sinned, he surely felt every temptation just as powerfully as we feel them. Our Lord understands that we may be distracted at Mass. He knows that our faith could be stronger and our love could be deeper. This is precisely why he gave us the Eucharist in the first place. The Son of God came to give us hearts of faithfulness, and he will do this little by little as we receive him in openness and humility. Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief.