The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life and completes Christian initiation. The other sacraments and ecclesiastical ministries are bound up with and oriented to it. In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking. The Eucharist, through the actions of the Holy Spirit and the Real Presence of Jesus, His Body and Blood become present under the form of bread and wine. It is through the Eucharist that each of us is nourished by Jesus to seek God’s Will.
At the heart of the Holy Eucharist are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, truly and substantially become the Body and Blood of the risen and glorified Lord Jesus. In the Old Covenant bread and wine were offered in sacrifice among the first fruits of the earth as a sign of gratitude to God, but they also received a new meaning by the Exodus of Israel from slavery in Egypt.
The unleavened bread of Passover recalls the haste of departure on pilgrimage to the promised land, and manna in the desert testifies that God always fulfills His promise to sustain His people. Moreover, blood is the sign of fidelity to God’s covenant with Israel and of sorrow for sins which violate God’s law.
And finally, the cup of blessing at the end of the Jewish Passover meal transforms the simple human joy in wine into a sign of God’s saving action in history: the messianic expectation of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. All of these meanings were taken up and transformed by the Lord Jesus, the true Lamb of God, when He instituted the Holy Eucharist and commanded the Church to celebrate this sacrifice until He comes again in glory.
In the other six sacraments, God gives us a gift of grace; in the Holy Mass He gives us the gift of Himself. That is why the Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament of sacraments, the Mystery of mysteries. The Lord Jesus urgently invites us to receive Him in this wondrous sacrament: “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” (John 6:53). Even as we struggle to understand this Mystery of Faith, we rejoice in this most sublime and abiding sacrifice of praise.
The doctrine of the holy Eucharist consists of that of the Eucharist sacrifice, the sacrificial meal, and the sacrificial food, or to express it otherwise, it consists of the doctrine of the Mass, of Communion, and of the Real Presence. Christ is really present in the Holy Eucharist, even when not being received. It is therefore to be honored and adored. The whole Christ is present in either kind and is received by the communicant.
For the wheat bread and grape wine are transubstantiated by the ordained priest into the flesh and blood of Christ so that only the appearance of bread and wine remains. The sacrament effects union with Christ; it is nourishment for the soul, gives increase in grace and remits venial sin.
Communion to the Sick:
This very special ministry to take care of the spiritual needs of the people who are unable to come to the church. A priest or a Eucharistic minister will visit the sick and bring Holy Communion to those parish members who are unable to attend mass for reason of infirmity or age.
If you know any of your relative or friend who is unable to go to church and want to receive Holy Communion please call Deacon Joe Belmonte at 781-289-1234.