I gave the same homily. Here it is.
Around 700 AD, a Basilian monk was a celebrating Mass in the small church of St. Longinus. During Mass, when he said the Words of Consecration, the monk is said to have seen the bread change into living flesh and the wine change into blood which coagulated into five globules. The Lanciano sample is over 1200 years old but the elements can still be seen in the church there today. The flesh becomes rose-colored when lighted from the back. Odoardo Linoli, a professor in anatomy, pathological histology, chemistry and clinical microscopy, and Ruggero Berteili, another professor of the University of Siena, have examined the Lanciano sample and have verified that it is real human flesh and blood. It is from the muscular tissue of the heart. Their report was published in an Italian medical journal in 1973. Later in 1973, the World Health Organization appointed a scientific commission to verify the Italian doctor’s conclusions. Their work was carried out over 15 months with a total of 500 examinations. The conclusions of all the researches confirmed what had been stated and published in Italy. The extract of the scientific research of WHO’s medical commission was published in New York and Geneva in 1976, confirming science’s inability to explain the phenomenon. Yet this was only the beginning of what would be a phenomenal enigma.
In 1996 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a woman discovered a discarded host on a candleholder after mass and brought it to Fr. Alejandro Pezet, who put it in a container of water to dissolve, and placed it inside the tabernacle of the chapel. A few days later, upon opening the tabernacle, the priest was astonished to find that the Host had become a bloody substance. He immediately notified his Bishop, who gave instructions that the bloodied flesh be photographed. After it had been kept in the tabernacle for a few years and having not undergone any decomposition, the Bishop decided to have it scientifically analyzed.
In 1999, in the presence of the then Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Dr. Ricardo Castanon, an atheist at the time, sent a fragment to New York for analysis, but did not inform the team of scientists of its origin so as not to prejudice the study. One scientist, Dr. Frederic Zugibe, a cardiologist and forensic pathologist, determined that the substance was real flesh and contained human DNA, and furthermore he concluded it was a piece of heart muscle.
Dr. Zugibe said that the sample came from a heart that was alive at the time the sample was taken. He further concluded that white blood cells had penetrated the tissue, indicating that the heart had been under severe stress. DNA tests on the sample showed it to be that of a male, AB positive blood type. What is extraordinary about this is that the blood type and DNA of the Buenos Aires sample and the Lanciano sample are an exact match, and testing confirms that both samples came from the same person.
During His life, Christ performed many miracles, not so much for the people upon whom the miracles were performed, but for us. Through these miracles, our belief in matters that are beyond our comprehension is fortified. We can only come to better understand these matters, which the church calls mysteries, through divine revelation.
The real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is one of these “mysteries”. We know and believe that Jesus, body, blood, soul and divinity, is really present in the Eucharist, which though we continue to observe under the appearance of bread and wine, “substantially” changes into our Lord. We know this because Christ very clearly told us in the Gospel today. He said to “eat” His “flesh”. Note he didn’t use the word “body”, he said “flesh” and his statement is actually better translated as “gnash” or gnaw my flesh. He was aware that what he was saying was hard to accept, but he didn’t back down. In fact, we hear in the Gospel of John that when many disciples had trouble with this, and left, Jesus, who loved His disciples, didn’t chase after them and say: “hey wait, I didn’t really mean it” or “I was just talking symbolically”. No, rather he let them leave. Moreover he turned to the apostles and said, “What about you? Do you want to leave to?” “If you can’t accept this, leave.”