As Paul testifies, the Eucharist was often celebrated within the context of a common meal to which all were invited.
In 1 Cor: , Paul excoriates those who refused to share food with others who were not of the same status as them, thus violating the model that Jesus had presented. This is my body which is given up for you. Do this in memory of me. Do this, whenever you drink of it, in memory of me. As a Jew, Jesus had a profound sense of the importance of memory in making present the saving activity of the past events of the Passover.
Here is what the Catholic Catechism says of memory in the context of the Eucharist:. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries of the Christian era, various forms of Eucharistic prayer emerged in the languages of the Near East. All of these prayers were great prayers of Thanksgiving for all of creation, and especially for the life, death and resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Over the centuries, these Eucharistic Prayers were developed and embellished in both the Eastern Orthodox and Western Latin rites. We believe in the real presence of Jesus, who died for our sins. As we receive Christ's Body and Blood, we also are nourished spiritually and brought closer to God. The Eucharist is the very sacrifice of the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus which he instituted to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until his return in glory. Thus he entrusted to his Church this memorial of his death and Resurrection.
It is 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. After he had gathered with his apostles in the Cenacle, Jesus took bread in his hands.
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This is the cup of my Blood, the Blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgive. It is the source and summit of all Christian life. In the Eucharist, the sanctifying action of God in our regard and our worship of him reach their high point.
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It contains the whole spiritual good of the Church, Christ himself, our Pasch. Communion with divine life and the unity of the People of God are both expressed and effected by the Eucharist. Through the eucharistic celebration we are united already with the liturgy of heaven and we have a foretaste of eternal life. The unfathomable richness of this sacrament is expressed in different names which evoke its various aspects.
The Eucharist was foreshadowed in the Old Covenant above all in the annual Passover meal celebrated every year by the Jews with unleavened bread to commemorate their hasty, liberating departure from Egypt. Jesus foretold it in his teaching and he instituted it when he celebrated the Last Supper with his apostles in a Passover meal. The Eucharist unfolds in two great parts which together form one, single act of worship. The Liturgy of the Word involves proclaiming and listening to the Word of God. The Liturgy of the Eucharist includes the presentation of the bread and wine, the prayer or the anaphora containing the words of consecration, and communion.
The celebrant of the Eucharist is a validly ordained priest bishop or priest who acts in the Person of Christ the Head and in the name of the Church. The Eucharist is a memorial in the sense that it makes present and actual the sacrifice which Christ offered to the Father on the cross, once and for all on behalf of mankind.
The sacrifice of the cross and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one and the same sacrifice. The priest and the victim are the same; only the manner of offering is different: in a bloody manner on the cross, in an unbloody manner in the Eucharist. In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body.
Lord's Supper; (Eucharist)
The lives of the faithful, their praise, their suffering, their prayers, their work, are united to those of Christ. In as much as it is a sacrifice, the Eucharist is likewise offered for all the faithful, living and dead, in reparation for the sins of all and to obtain spiritual and temporal benefits from God. The Church in heaven is also united to the offering of Christ.
Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist in a unique and incomparable way. He is present in a true, real and substantial way, with his Body and his Blood, with his Soul and his Divinity. In the Eucharist, therefore, there is present in a sacramental way, that is, under the Eucharistic species of bread and wine, Christ whole and entire, God and Man. Transubstantiation means the change of the whole substance of bread into the substance of the Body of Christ and of the whole substance of wine into the substance of his Blood.
This change is brought about in the eucharistic prayer through the efficacy of the word of Christ and by the action of the Holy Spirit. The breaking of the bread does not divide Christ. He is present whole and entire in each of the eucharistic species and in each of their parts.
The worship due to the sacrament of the Eucharist, whether during the celebration of the Mass or outside it, is the worship of latria , that is, the adoration given to God alone.
The Church guards with the greatest care Hosts that have been consecrated. She brings them to the sick and to other persons who find it impossible to participate at Mass. She also presents them for the solemn adoration of the faithful and she bears them in processions. The Church encourages the faithful to make frequent visits to adore the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the tabernacle.
The Holy Eucharist is the paschal banquet in as much as Christ sacramentally makes present his Passover and gives us his Body and Blood, offered as food and drink, uniting us to himself and to one another in his sacrifice.