Catholic Corner: The Holy Eucharist
THE HOLY EUCHARIST
(Greek Eucharistic, “thanksgiving”)
“The source and summit of the Christian Life”; the sacrament in which Christ is truly present under the appearances of bread and wine. Other names for the Eucharist are Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, the table of the Lord, the breaking of the bread, the unbloody sacrifice, our daily bread, the most Blessed Sacrament, the sacrifice of praise and agape. The Sacrament of the Eucharist was described as follows by the Second Vatican Council: At the Last Supper, on the night when he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the Sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.
The Bread of Life: In telling his apostles, “This is my body (Luke 22:19), Jesus revealed that he is the High Priest offering the Eucharist, but he is also commanding his followers, “Take and eat” (Matt 26:26), an invitation to participate in his offering and partake of its benefits. The reception of the Eucharist-the reception of himself-is a source of salvation (1Cor 11:27-29). The Bread of Life discourse in John is especially significant in attesting to the real presence: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever” (John 6:53-58).
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