Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

The Eucharist and Easter

By BISHOP JOHN TRAN  | Published April 3, 2024  | En Español

Bishop John N. Tran

“Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!” 

This Paschal greeting and response are at the heart of what we now celebrate: The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has risen and he is now with us always, until the end of the age. The tomb is empty, our joy is abundant and so the church celebrates for 50 days, until the great feast of Pentecost.  

And yet, in a culture that refuses to linger long on any one topic, celebrating for 50 days seems like a daunting challenge. Let us accept this challenge and rejoice, for the Lord indeed is risen and has given himself to us in the Eucharist so that he can be as close to us as our very breath. 

I believe we complicate the simplicity of the Eucharist—the Real Presence of Christ, who wishes us to consume him so that we can go forth to love as he loves. There have been an abundance of words written and talks given on the Real Presence, and yet nothing compares to lives that are lived with eucharistic zeal.  

When the disciples on the Road to Emmaus recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread, their eyes were opened, their hearts were burning and they proclaimed his presence. When Saul encountered the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, his eyes were opened, his life was changed and St. Paul was sent on mission to proclaim the Good News. 

Easter reminds us that the Eucharist is all about the encounter that changes everything. Our love for the Eucharist and its transformative power in our lives is not meant to be kept private. We receive, we go on mission, we are sent.  

In June 2023, Pope Francis told members of the committees organizing the National Eucharistic Revival and the National Eucharistic Congress: “The Eucharist impels us to a strong and committed love of neighbor. For we cannot truly understand or live the meaning of the Eucharist if our hearts are closed to our brothers and sisters, especially those who are poor, suffering, weary or may have gone astray in life.” 

In my life, I can point to many encounters with the eucharistic Lord. I have encountered his presence, of course, in the Real Presence—in the consecration of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.  

I have encountered him in the lives of others—the poor, the sick, the homeless, the lonely. These are the ones people usually pass by—those on the streets, those who seem “different.” It is in those people and in those faces that we see the risen Christ.  

Since ordination to the priesthood in 1992, it has been my privilege to encounter the eucharistic Lord in the people I ministered to and with. In my last week as pastor of Mary, Queen of Peace Church in Mandeville, Louisiana, it was with a heavy heart that I learned one of our altar servers, Harmony Waller, while driving to serve my farewell Mass had been in a tragic car accident. I was able to anoint her in the hospital, but her time left here on this earth was short. As I wept over this tragedy, this young life gone too soon, I was comforted by her mother—her loving, adoptive mother, whose heart was crushed but who dug down deep to show me the love of Christ. We are called to be bearers of the light to each other in our darkest times. 

The gift of the Eucharist is the lamp unto our feet, helping us along the journey so that we can always be a place of encounter, where others who encounter each of us can proclaim: “Indeed he is risen!” 

Editor’s Note: The National Eucharistic Revival is a movement to restore understanding of and devotion to the Eucharist. Bishop Tran’s column is part of a series on how the Eucharist transforms people. The columns may be read at