The Eucharist

The Last SupperAfter taking bread and wine in his hands at the Last Supper, Jesus said, “This is my body…….This is my blood…….Do this as a remembrance of me.“(Matthew 26:28, Luke 22:19, 1Corinthians 11:23-25).

Taking part in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, which is the Source, Center, and Summit of the whole Christian life, the faithful offer the divine Victim to God, and offer themselves along with it.  The faithful are strengthened anew at the holy table by the Body of Christ. They manifest in a practical way that unity of God’s People which is suitably signified, and wondrously brought about, by this most awesome sacrament.

The Eucharist is the third sacrament of initiation which completes the seal of one’s Baptism and Confirmation.  The heart of Catholic belief and worship is the body and blood of Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine, of which Jesus chose to remain sacramentally present.

“By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.”

The disciples believed that Jesus was present through bread and wine. They gathered to “do this in remembrance” in a special way, the meal came to be known as the Lord’s Supper.  They no longer went to the synagogue for prayer, and their worship service was called “Eucharist” (in thanksgiving). 

The rite that surrounds the Eucharist is deeply rooted in Scripture and Tradition.  The small hosts received by the faithful are flattened unleavened wafers, sometimes engraved with liturgical symbols. And the wine used at Mass is made from grapes. 

During Mass a drop of water is added to the wine to signify Jesus’ humanity. The bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ as the priest says the words of consecration; this is called “transubstantiation”.  The Eucharist is ordinarily celebrated at Mass; however, Ministers of the Eucharistic (and Extraordinary Ministers…) may bring Holy Communion to the sick and homebound at any time.

The Eucharist is not merely a personal form of piety. Rather it is a call to receive Christ into our very being, where Christ literally dwells in us and is present through us to the world. We are all in need of Christ’s constant help; hence Communion is our spiritual nourishment, strength for our weakness, complete membership in the Catholic Church, and the road of beginning again and again.