There is a contingent of commentators who see no difference between Christ’s presence whenever two or three are gathered in His name and the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Their comments run like this:
I am shocked that you believe adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is MORE important than caring for God's people. I believe they are equal. Aren't we supposed to see Christ in each other. Disregard or give less than what they need and we do the same to Christ.
WE are the real presence!
WE are church and WE are eucharist. These holier-than-thou people who take this eucharistic adoration stuff to the extreme, get on my nerves. If we're supposed to be worshipping the "eucharist", then why has the Second Vatican Council de-emphasized this dark-ages type of practice?
This explains it. If this is your belief about the Eucharist, then of course you see no need for a Tabernacle. You would see no need to bend your knee in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. If Christ is as present to you in your neighbor as He is in the Eucharist, then of course you would view the fellowship with your neighbor as central to the liturgy as your reception of the Body of Christ.
However, if you believe that Christ is truly present, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament, then of course you would want His place of repose to be prominently placed in the sanctuary. You would want to sit in His Presence and pray. You would join the parish community to worship, praise, adore and receive Him, not each other.
What I don’t understand is why these people always seem to treat Eucharistic Adoration as a detriment to social justice issues. This is not an end sum game. Time spent before the Blessed Sacrament does not necessarily take away from time spent in works of mercy. Rather, it often strengthens and nourishes us to be more generous.
Pope Benedict XVI addresses this very well in paragraphs 36 and 37 of his encylical Deus Caritas Est
36. When we consider the immensity of others' needs, we can, on the one hand, be driven towards an ideology that would aim at doing what God's governance of the world apparently cannot: fully resolving every problem. Or we can be tempted to give in to inertia, since it would seem that in any event nothing can be accomplished. At such times, a living relationship with Christ is decisive if we are to keep on the right path, without falling into an arrogant contempt for man, something not only unconstructive but actually destructive, or surrendering to a resignation which would prevent us from being guided by love in the service of others. Prayer, as a means of drawing ever new strength from Christ, is concretely and urgently needed. People who pray are not wasting their time, even though the situation appears desperate and seems to call for action alone. Piety does not undermine the struggle against the poverty of our neighbours, however extreme. In the example of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta we have a clear illustration of the fact that time devoted to God in prayer not only does not detract from effective and loving service to our neighbour but is in fact the inexhaustible source of that service. In her letter for Lent 1996, Blessed Teresa wrote to her lay co-workers: “We need this deep connection with God in our daily life. How can we obtain it? By prayer”.
37. It is time to reaffirm the importance of prayer in the face of the activism and the growing secularism of many Christians engaged in charitable work. Clearly, the Christian who prays does not claim to be able to change God's plans or correct what he has foreseen. Rather, he seeks an encounter with the Father of Jesus Christ, asking God to be present with the consolation of the Spirit to him and his work. A personal relationship with God and an abandonment to his will can prevent man from being demeaned and save him from falling prey to the teaching of fanaticism and terrorism. An authentically religious attitude prevents man from presuming to judge God, accusing him of allowing poverty and failing to have compassion for his creatures. When people claim to build a case against God in defence of man, on whom can they depend when human activity proves powerless?
I will say a prayer for those who do not yet appreciate the awesome gift we have in the Eucharist. I will remember them this Friday when I kneel in Christ’s presence in Eucharistic Adoration.
UPDATE: Jimmy Akin addresses this issue brilliantly on his blog. Please take a look!