Credopedia The Sacrament of the Eucharist 


The Sacrament of the Eucharist 

Since Jesus Christ founded the Church, we can encounter him as his contemporaries encountered him. To make this possible, Jesus gave us a great gift: the Eucharist!

mins read | Stani Mičkovicová

What happens during Holy Mass?

Before his death, Jesus gathered his disciples around him once again to have supper. He gave them bread and wine and spoke the words: “This is my body, this is my blood”.
What Jesus did back then and entrusted his apostles to do, priests perform whenever they celebrate Holy Mass. At every celebration of the Eucharist, they repeat the exact words that Jesus spoke at the Last Supper.

But Holy Mass is not a mere memento, nor a mere memory of something that happened two millennia ago. For, as beautiful as memories may be, they cannot replace the present. The celebration of the Eucharist is about much more than remembrance. After the priest speaks the words of consecration, Jesus is truly present in every piece of bread and every drop of wine. Not just virtually or symbolically, but in reality. Even though the bread still appears like bread and the wine still appears like wine, Jesus is there. With his humanity and divinity. In theology, we speak of the “real presence” of Christ in the Eucharist. It lasts as long as the Eucharistic forms of bread and wine exist.

The Eucharist: Mystery of our Faith

But how can Jesus turn himself into food that is consumed? How can he give us his body to eat? It is not at all easy to believe that bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ. It was not even easy for Jesus’ contemporaries. When Jesus explained to his disciples that he would give himself as food in the Eucharist, many of those who listened to him said: “This speech is hard. Who can hear it?” (John 6:60) And what happened then? “As a result, many of his disciples withdrew and no longer went about with him.” (Jn 6, 66) Peter, who later became the first Pope of the Church, was also present at this speech by Jesus. And like many others, he could have left. But he did not. In response to Jesus’ question to the twelve apostles: “Do you also want to go away?”, Peter replied: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have come to believe and have recognized You are the Holy One of God.” (John 6: 68-69)

Peter believed Jesus: I believe, Jesus, because you said so. Period. Faith is not based on evidence and facts, otherwise it would no longer be faith. Faith is belief, not knowledge. The Eucharist is the mystery of our faith, which is beyond our human comprehension. And yet an experience arises from living faith. An encounter!

The Eucharist Creates Community

The Eucharist has various names: The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Holy Mass, or also Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar and Holy Communion.

“Communion” is a Latin word meaning “fellowship”. So, when we receive the body of the Lord, there is communion between Him and us. And this communion with Jesus means that all those who receive him also share communion among themselves. And this communion is called the Church!
In our everyday lives, we should feel that the Holy Mass is not just an ordinary gathering of believers, but an encounter with the living God in the Holy Eucharist. “See how they love one another,” wrote the ancient writer Tertullian about the first Christians. As sentimental as it may sound, love should be the distinguishing mark of all Christians throughout the centuries. It is not the doctrine, but the lived testimony and their way of life that make Christians the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world”. (Mt 5, 13-14) Christians who emanate God’s love into the world make His presence something that others can experience, too.

Encounter Jesus

Jesus, our Savior, is so humble that he became a child. His humility is so deep that he even allowed himself to be crucified for us. And yes, his humility is indeed divine, because it transcends time. Even today, Jesus humbly turns to us when he allows himself to be transformed into a piece of bread. He does this for you and me! He wants us to approach him more easily, he wants us to take him into our innermost being.

In the Eucharist, Jesus is much closer to you than you could ever think possible. Allow yourself to meet him in this mysterious encounter, just as the apostles allowed themselves to be moved by him. Jesus invites you to meet him on Sunday. Will you accept…? If so – it’s a date!