Eucharist Isaiah 25:6-12 Prayer The third part okhe Rite of Initiation is celebrating the Eucharist. Theme
What is Eucharist? •
Thanksgiving, sacrifice, communion, celebration of service, public worship, Sacrament of Initiation. i munity.
By it, we are unified in Christ in communion with God and the Church comThe symbols used are bread and wine—nourishment, a meal in friendship.
• Luke 22:7-20—The Last Supper A • Acts 2:42-47—The early Christian community and the breaking of the bread • Luke 14:1S-24—Heaven is like a banquet.
se Are the symbols of the Eucharist meaningful to me right now? Questions to Where am I in my journey of faith—am I ready to take the step into full Ponder membership in the Church or do I have Has thereservations? journey of faith seemed long?
Reflections • The Eucharist is Thanksgiving. Discuss the reasons Catholics in this community have for being thankful. • The Eucharist is Sacrifice. Discuss the meaning of Jesus' sacrifice for us. Discuss ways in which this Christian community gives of itself for others. • The Eucharist is Communion. Discuss signs of unity which are found in our families, neighborhoods, country, and world. • The Eucharist is a Celebration of Service. Discuss acts of service which are being offered to one another.
0.6 4 • The Eucharist is a Public Worship by Christians of their God. Discuss the advantage of asking forgiveness, praying, singing, lis3,110 tening, thanking, eating the Body of Christ together. upon one's . faith ifthink of some examples. Oa Mass or elsewhere; others are expressing Copyright 0 BROWN Publishing-ROA Media their faith, whether at
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE EUCHARIST 1. Early church (51AD) - small numbers of worshipers—celebrated the Eucharist at home—vessels were simple—pottery or wicker. 2. Domestic Church 100-212A1) - worshipers more numerous—had to move to larger homes i.e. homes of the wealthy, so vessels were still household vessels, but more ornate. 3. Era of Constantine 313-75AD - persecutions stopped—Christianity became official religion—number of worshipers increased dramatically—got to be a bigger production—could worship openly, so built Basilicas and Temples—however this created a physical distance between the people and the ritual. 4. 750-1073 AD - Frankish Period—Charlemagne—distance now more pronounced— Christ more emphasized as the Real Presence in the bread and the wine—vessels more ornate, and now more important than the people—ordinary people not allowed access to vessels. 5. Prelude to the Reformation 1073-1517 - the Monstrance is the best symbol of the Eucharistic theology of this period—received bread only, not wine—people more encouraged to see and adore the Eucharist, rather than receive the Eucharist— frequent Communion not a custom-1212 "Easter Duty" instituted—Divinity overemphasized—great distance between the clergy and the people. 6. 1517-1903 - Infrequent reception of Communion—tabernacle (which was originally a vessel) gets moved to the center of the church where the people are not allowed to enter. 7. 1903 and beyond - Prior to Vatican II a reform movement had started—assembly more important again—realization of Christ present in the assembly—vessels put back in the hands of the people—a return to realization of the fullness of the symbols.
Catechism paragraphs 1322-1344, 1373-1419 The third sacrament of initiation is the Eucharist. The Catechism calls it the "source and summit of the Christian Life" because it contains "the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself" (paragraph 1324). Jesus gave us the Eucharist at the Last Supper. It was the Jewish Feast of Passover, so they were eating the traditional seder or Passover meal. Jesus knew that he was soon to fulfill the Passover of the Old Testament by the new Passover of his death and resurrection. That night, Jesus gave us his Body and Blood as a holy meal. Matthew's Gospel describes the institution of the Eucharist this way: While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
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Now the Church does what Jesus told us to do. We gather together to celebrate the Eucharistic Liturgy, the Mass. Each Eucharistic Liturgy includes: • the proclamation of the Word of God from Scripture; • prayers of thanksgiving to God for all his gifts, especially his Son, Jesus; • the consecration of the bread and wine; and • the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion. Unless we have mortal sin on our souls, we are encouraged to receive the Eucharist each time we are at Mass. The Eucharist unites us closely with Jesus, forgives our less serious sins, gives us grace to avoid sin, and strengthens the unity of all the members of the Church.
It is a mystery of our faith that the bread and wine truly become the Body and Blood of Christ. They are not just symbols. The bread and wine, without changing in appearance, become Christ's Body and Blood. We call this change transubstantiation. In the Eucharist, Jesus is truly present!
_ Catholic Parent Knpv:t:Hov:/: Prepa_ ring Your Child for First Communion , 4, -
Explaining the "Real ,Presence" of Jesus to Childre •••'c , and tastes like bread The Eucharist helps us be and wine, but It's more like Jesus." 1Communion is typically Remember that a child's celebrated some time really Jesus disbetween the first and fourth . guised as bread and understanding of the wine. He comes in Eucharist will unfold and grades, most often in grade the form of bread grow over time. Children two, when children are 7 or to remind us of need a solid assurance 8 years old. Children this why Jesus would • that God comes to us in offer himself to us His body and in the age are in what the Swiss form of wine to as food. a special way in holy developmental psychologist remind us of His blood." Communion and that what One way to accuJean Piaget called the "conWe can explain why happens is much more than crete operational" stage rately but simply explain transubstantiation to a what we see. This will. Jesus gives himself as of cognitive development. bread and wine by saying: plant the seed they need They see and understand child Is to say: "When we celebrate the "Jesus wants to be to keep learning atiqut things in very concrete, very close to yin!. Jesus' greatest gift to us-. black-and-white terms. They Eucharist, God He wants to become the gift of himself. • -• changes the bread still have some difficulty thinking in the abstract or and wine so they become part of you and for you understanding symbolism. Jesus himself. It Still looks to become part of Him. Children this age -VI need very direct, ,ft concrete expla- r -nations of the concept of tranf• substantiation and
The "Rite Way". How to Receive the Midst
The person distributing Communion will say to each person receiving, "The Body of Christ." Each communicant should dearly respond, "Amen." This response affirms and prodahns his or her belief that the consecrated bread and wine are truly the Body and Blood of Christ.
Because the Eucharist is a universal prayer of thanksgiving to God, it's important that we as Catholics are together in our understanding of how to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Traditions and form vary somewhat around the world, but some responses and norms are consistent. Here are some of the unifying practices outlined by the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Committee on the-Liturgy These actions remind us that the Body and Blood of Christ are the sign and source of our unity together. As we join the Communion Procession, we are united as the Body of Christ, moving forward together to share in this sacred meal. Communicants are asked to respectfully process to the front of the church with their hands folded in ksign of prayer. In this country, Communion is received standing. Because communicants ire receiving Jesus himself, the U.S. •bishops have instituted ai a norm a slight bow of reverence immediately preceding reception of the Eucharist. A communicant may.receive in the hand or on the tongue. When ComMunion the following directions apply. If the person receiving is . is received in the hand, right-handed, the left hand 'should rest upon the right. The person distributing will lay the Host in the palm of the left hand. The Host is then taken by the right hand to the mouth by the communicant. If the person receiving is lefthanded, this is reversed.
Communicants should not reach out with their fingers to take the Host frorn the person distributing. The Host must be consumed as soon as it has been received. Girls and women who are wearing gloves and plan to receive the Host in the hand must remove their gloves before receiving. When a communicant receives consecrated wine from the chalice, the person distributing the wine will say to each person receiving, "The Blood of Christ." Each communicant again responds, ,"Amen." Communicants are not permitted to dip the Host into the chalice. If the person receiving is not able or willing to drink from the cup, then he or she should receive only under the form of bread. Upon returning to their seats, communicants who have just received the Eucharist should offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God, especially by singing the Communion hymn.
C. Eucharist f. The Holy Eucharist is the third sacrament of initiation and is associated with the ollipr Confimiatio/1 •, . tivoi.sacraments of are When adults initiation: Baptism and Ofthe initiation in the traditional order: Baptism, -sacraments iiceived into Confirmation, Church, theyand the Holy Eucharist... receive The practice the :of the western (Latin) Church is to baptize children as infants, to allow them to .receive the Holy Eucharist for the first time at about age seven'and to, allow them to be confirmed between the aged oftwelve and . In the Eastern Churches,, at their B• aptiSm, iii., infants receive • • Confirmation seventeen.and , • •the ' • Holy Eucharist for the first time and so the traditional order of the sacraments of initiation is preserved. • The Holy Eucharist has Memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection, the • Holy Sacrifice, thenames: Holy andBreaking Divine Liturgy, the Most Blessed Sacrament, several Holy ofCommunion, the Bread, and Holy Mass.. 3.•thrist instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper. 4. The Holy Eucharist is a Sacramental i. of thanksgiving and praise; sacrifice: •a. In the sacrifice of the EndhariSt, through the death and resurrection of Christ the Church •fesents all of creation to the Father as an offering of praise and • The Church gives thanks to Go.;i in the Eucharist for all b. thankqaving. the blessings God , • hai accOmplishedinhis works of creation, redemption, and sanctification. •• • • ; • , • of Christ's death On-the cross and resurrection from the dead; a. The Eucharist makes Oresent again the sadrifice of the cross in, an unbloody manner. • • -25
b. The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one, single sacrifice. c. In the Eucharistic sacrifice and in the sacrifice of the cross, there is one priest and one victim . Christ. d. The whole Church is always united with each and every Eucharist, including those in heaven. • e. The Eucharist is offered for the faithful departed who are in purgatory iii of Christ's presence. • a. Christ is truly, really, and.substantially present in the Holy Eucharist b. The entire, whole Christ, body, blood, soul, and divinity is present in the Eucharist under the appearances of both •the bread and the wine. c. Christ is present under each species completely and totally in such a way that the breaking of the "bread" does not divide Christ. d. We worship Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament during the celebration of the Eucharist. I e. We worship Christ's presence in the Eucharist outside of Mass through silent adoration, processions, and other devotions. f. The presence of Christ in the Eucharist cannot be known by our senses, but only by faith. 5. The Holy Eucharist is also the paschal babquet.
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i. Catholics are urged to receive the Eucharist frequently. a. The faithful may receive Holy Communion each time they participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. b. However, those mho are conscious of an =forgiven mortal sin must receive the sacrament of Penance before partaking of the Eucharist. Before receiving Holy Communion, Catholics are asked to abstain fromfood, liquids and solids for one hour. d. Medicine may be taken. e. Water may be taken. f. The sick need fast only for fifteen minutes. However, non-Christians and Christians not fully united with •• i
the Catholic Church cannot receive the Eucharist. a. The Eucharist signifies a oneness in faith, life, and worship. Reception of the Eucharist by non-Catholics would imply a oneness which does not yet exist, for which we must all pray. Holy Communion intensifies our union with Christ. iv. Holy Communion separates us from sin. v. Holy Communion builds the unity of the faithful. Holy Communion commits us to the poor. 6. The Eucharist is also the pledge of future glory. i. The Eucharist is the sign of the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God in the age to come. The Eucharist unites us with those in heaven who are even now experiencing the joy of complete union with God. 7. The essential rite_ of the Eucharist is the consecration of the unleavened bread and wine which is accomplished by the priest when he says the words: "This is my body which will be given up for you" over the bread and "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 forgiven" over the wine. i. This central act is surrounded by a fundamental structure which has its origins in the early Church. There is the liturgy of the Word which includes the gathering, the readings, homily, and general intercessions, Hi. The liturgy of the Word is followed by the liturgy of the Eucharist which includes the presentation of the bread and wine, the consecration with the prayers before and after the central consecratory ritual, and the communion. iv. The liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist constitute one, single act of worship. The table set for us is the table both, of the Word and of the Body and Blood of the Lord. 8. The changing of the bread and the wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is known as TRANSUBSTANTIATION. â€˘ i. Substance is that which exists in itself When the Church teaches that the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ, it means that whatever makes bread be bread or wine be wine (the substance of the
bread and the substance of the wine) is gone. The substance of bread is not present alter the consecration and the substance of the wine is not present after the consecration. The changing of the substance of bread and wine is called transubstantiation. Although the substance of the bread and the substance of the wine is not present after the consecration, the outward appearances remain. 9. While all the baptized legitimately join in the sacrifice of the Eucharist, only validly ordained priests can consecrate the bread and the wine so that they become the Body and Blood of the Lord. 10. The bread and wine of the Eucharist signify nourishment and are nourishment for the soul. 11. But the bread and wine also signify the fruits of creation and so are symbolic of an offering of all of creation to God. 12. By Christ's own very words over the bread and wine at the Last Supper, we see in the two consecrations, the separation of Christ's body and blood. The Eucharist signifies and is Christ's sacrifice made present. 13. Jesus is really present in the Eucharist under the appearances of unleavened bread and wine as long as they remain unspoiled. The Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life.'" sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the aposto34 "The other late, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself our Pasck"ns "The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God's action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit." celebration unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate 36 Finally, we by already the Eucharistic eternal life, wizen God will be all in all." and of our faith:is"Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, 7 In summary brief the Eucharist the sum and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking." Catholic Church, nos. 1324-1327) 8 (Catechism of the
Christ our Lord could die only once; hq will never die again. • Rather, it is in celebrating this fc silly meal, which we call the • M• ss, that we try to unite ourselves wi h Jesus' act of will and attempt to sularnon ourselves doser to that same totaiself-dedicationthat Jesus had when he died upon the cross.
"I'myself mat Vie ibing Ibragal come down from heavess...Let solessray assware yeesi if yen do not eat the flesh orthe Zeiss of Man and leads Ants Mead, yous have MO We in yens. He who p#4 Nay , Mimi has We ottrnal, and win 13 raise hilts up on Se lost day" &hes 651-54).• on ma yMany disciples found these words Intolerable and left Jesus. But Jesus didiffe not say, "Wait, I meantthat the sh only represmts my body."' bread and he asked the Twelve, 'Do Instead, you want to leave me too?' Peter alrb answered, aks "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." (John 6:67-68).
The Rea Presence of Christ Catholics believe that when Jesus said, "This is my body....This is my • blood," he meant exactly what he• said. For Jews, body meant the person, and blood was the source of life identifiable with the•person. So Jesus was saying over the bread and cup, •"This is myself,' and we believe that the consecrated bread and wine truly become the very perm:in of Jesus. • The NewTestameat bears witness to the reality of Chrisrs presence in the Eucharist Chapter 6 of john's gospel Is devoted to Jesus as the "Bread of Life Jesus multiplies • loaves and fish, a miracle that foreshadows his ability to 'lmaltiply his presence' in the Eucharist When he walks
on water, he shows his divine power over nature, a power capable of changhig bread into his body. But most Important, .• Jesus • himself tells us,
Jesus did not water down his statements in the least Like Peter, Catholics do not claim to understand how bread and wine become Christ's body and blood. We accept as Peter did, the "words of eternal life' on the authority of Jesus. This has been a firm part of the faith of Christians since earliest tithes. Around the year 115 Saint Ignatius wrote ctgainst heretici who 'do not admit that the Eildtarist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ who suffered for our sins.' In 150 Saint Itislin stated: 'We do not receive these gifts as ordinary food or ordinary drhgc.—The food over which thanksgiving has been offered is, we are taught, the flesh and blood of Jesus.' In the fourth century, we have Saint Cyril's pointed question: "Since Christ himself has said, 'This* my body' — who shall dare to doubt
1 Since the twelfth century, the Church has used the word transubsteutiation to describe the change from the "substance" of bread to the "substance" of the flesh of Christ The problem is thatirs hard to find a modem English word that corresponds to the "substance' of medieval Latin. Our word 'substance tends to make people think in terms of solidity or weight But, in the Eucharist the solidity, weight, or consistency of the bread do not change. To express the original mecming of substance, we need to speak about the inner reality of a thing, the deepest level of its being. This is a level that we find difficult to fully grasp, even apart from the question of the Eucharist The "appearances,' the outer aspects like taste, color, and weight of the bread and wine remain Just • as they were before the consecration, but the deep realities have been changed into the body and blood of the living Christ When we receive Holy Communion, then, we receive the whole Person of Christ, as he is at the present moment, that is, as risen Lord, with his glorified body and soul, and his Tali divinity.
When did someone who loved you give up something special for you?
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;mean — that this is all tied.into Perhaps this true story might help 1 Remember, Jesus is the one who you understand. Jean had a twin life and death of Jesus — and mai' always offered the open hwitation named Judy whose kidneys failed I to everyone who would come: "his is them their own, then they, along after along illness. Without her what the comnamity is called to do with Jesus, can legitimately say: Tr.:s lackeys Judy would die soon. Her is MY body; this is the cup of MY • every time it gathers armmd the only hope was a kidney transplant altar. In this way it becomes tfie blood. In this way the words of sacrament of the resurrected Savior. consecration are also words of an from a close relative. The operation, however, could be just as dcmgerous, And when that happens, people can disposition that keeps even life-threatening, for the donor.* discover an experiential point of reminding the community what its And the donor would only have one departure for affirming their faith. sharing must mean . And when we kidney left that might fail and put It's no longer: 'Well I'm a good • mcdce those words our own,* people Catholic so I believe in the Resurthe donor in the same position as ought to say: "Yes, now I see how Judy. rection of a3rist. I believe, becauseChrist is present in these people In spite of this, 'jean irdmediately I've peen told, that Jesus is really gathered for this meal — it is volunteered for the Operation. All present in the Eucharist' Now the through each one of these people her friends and relatives told her people can experience this presence that nourishment is given to othof their Lord and Master both in the ers." • how.coumgeous she was, haw generous she was to make this consecrated saded spedes and in choice. But Jean didn't see it that Aoki the community gathered around the to l way. "I'd like to say I was brave but table. ow 5011' I wasn't I didn't even think twice: I Paul was concerned that the love Judy. There was no choice to communities he evangelized might make." not live up to what it moms to be a If we would do these things for eucharistic community. So when he those we love, wouldn't God who is heard of abuses among the Chrislove, do even More? tians in Corinth, he used very ;dung As Saint Augustine put it "We As Saint Alphonsus Liguori said language. The fiery apostre says if must be what we have eaten!' We people come to the banquet to eat Dying for us did not satisfy you. are aheady the Body of Chdst but their own meal, do not share with You had to give us this we. must become that Body still the poor next to them, and eat in a sacrament as a companion, more. We must be bread for others hurry since they don't want to have • as food, as a pledge of heaven. just as Jesus is bread given for us — anything to do with certain persons You had to ber;onte a tiny baby, bread, broken and shared, as • — contrary to the spirit of tablea poor laborer, a beaten abninal, nourishment for our brothers and even a morselof bread. • fellowship — if people are like that, sisters in Christ We are God's then Paul wants them to know that Only a God who loves us deeply people only insofar asyte are Willing could conceive such ideas! they are sinning against the Body to become, bread and wine, nourishand Blood of the Lord (see 1 For some non-Catholics belief In the ment and life, body and blood for Corinthians 11:27). Now the quesEucharist is what leads them to the all other human belt*. tion we must ask is: Will we allow Catholic Church. For other nonourselves to fall into the same Is there someone you wOuld Catholics, the Eucharist Is a real abuses? • to eat with or keep coMpqny with? stwnbling block. How do you feel at How can you act like Jesus toward this point? this person? •
On the other hand, if people ate able to take those words of Christ to heart, the words that define the mecming of the action, This is my •
body....This Is the cup of bluod, and begin to comprehend what they
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