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Essay

The Eucharist – Part Two

Our Daily Bread and Spiritual Food

In the Old Testament, the manna that was given by God to the Sons of Israel in the desert was a prefiguration of the Eucharist (CCC 1094). “He rained down upon them manna to eat, and gave them the bread of Heaven” (Ps 78:24). With Jesus Christ being the “true bread from Heaven” (Jn 6:32), not only will those who eat of it not die, unlike the fathers who ate the manna in the wilderness (Jn 6:49), but “he who eats this bread will live forever” (Jn 6:58). The Eucharist is therefore the food of eternal life (CCC 1212) and “essential nourishment of the feast of the coming Kingdom anticipated” (CCC 2861). As the Lord said, “he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn 6:54).

The Eucharist is “our daily bread” (CCC 2837), referring to the Bread of Life: The Word of God and the Body of Christ (CCC 2861). Those who receive it are united more closely to Christ (CCC 1396) because “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). It is the food for our spiritual life and a source of spiritual nourishment that is necessary for the growth of our Christian lives (CCC 1392). Those who receive Christ’s Body and Blood are living through the life of Christ and are fed and strengthened (CCC 1436) for transformation in Christ (CCC 1275). Christ’s presence in the Holy Communion makes it possible for us to receive all the fruit of Eucharistic grace (CCC 1390) and in particular strengthens our living charity, which is necessary to wipe away our venial sins in daily life (CCC 1394). It is the source and nourishment for our daily conversion and penance, which reconcile us with God (CCC 1436) for He “who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood” (Rev 1:5). It is only through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we receive our reconciliation (Rom 5:11), hence, the Eucharist is a “remedy to free us from our daily faults and to preserve us from mortal sins” (CCC 1436). Just as St. Ignatius of Antioch said, “it refers directly to the Bread of Life, the Body of Christ, the ‘medicine of immortality’, without which we have no life within us” (CCC 2837).

As Christ is truly present in the Eucharist (CCC 1374), to receive the Holy Communion is an intimate union to receive Christ Himself (CCC 1382). “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (Jn 6:56). By receiving the Holy Communion, the faithful participate with the Church in the Lord’s own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist (CCC 1322). Through sharing the Body of the Lord, we become members of Christ’s Body, the Church, “for the body does not consist of one member but of many” (1 Cor 12:14). We are taken up into communion with Him and with one another (CCC 790) and form “one body” in Christ (CCC 1621). “We who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor 10:17).

Therefore, when we come into union with Christ through receiving the sacrament of the Eucharist at the Eucharistic celebration, it is “the sacred banquet of communion with the Lord’s Body and Blood” (CCC 1382) and a loving invitation from the Lord (CCC 1336). “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:9).

Thanksgiving and Praise to the Father

Jesus Christ has offered Himself as our “paschal lamb” (1 Cor 5:7) and “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” who sacrificed Himself on the Cross for man as the sacrament of our salvation (CCC 1359). Through His death and the Resurrection, the whole of creation loved by God is presented to the Father (CCC 1361). The Church celebrates the Eucharist in memory of Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation and thanksgiving to the creator of the world at every Mass. Through the offering and intercession of Christ in the Eucharist, the sacrifice of praise to the Father is offered “through Christ and with Him, to be accepted in Him” (CCC 1361).

Eucharist, is from the Greek word eucharistian, which means to give thanks and it is also an action of thanksgiving that explains the “inexhaustible richness of this sacrament” (CCC 1328). At the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, our Savior “took bread and when He had given thanks, He broke it” (1 Cor 11:23) and “He took the chalice, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, and   they all drank of it” (Mk 14:23). The Eucharist is offered as “the sacrifice of praise” (CCC 1361) and “sacrifice of thanksgiving” (CCC 1360) to the Father, “for all that God has made good, beautiful, and just in creation and in humanity” (CCC 1359).

Therefore, the Eucharist is the heart and the summit of the Church’s life (CCC 1407) by which Christ unites the faithful “to His person, to His praise, and to His intercession” (CCC 1361) so with His sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving offered once and for all on the Cross to His Father (Heb 7:27), His Body, which is the Church, can receive the graces of salvation from His sacrifice (CCC 1407). “Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God” (Heb 13:15).

A Pledge of Glory

The Eucharist is the “sum and summary of our Faith” (CCC 1327). It is an anticipation of the heavenly glory (CCC 1402) and a “pledge of future glory” (CCC 1323). “For I tell you that from now on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes” (Lk 22:18). Every time when we celebrate the Eucharist, it is the “fulfilment of the Passover in the kingdom of God” (CCC 1403) where we are “awaiting the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Tit 2:13). Therefore, the Eucharist is the “pledge of future glory” that is promised to us by God (CCC 1323), that “there is no surer pledge or dearer sign of this great hope in the new heavens and new earth ‘in which righteousness dwells’, than the Eucharist” (CCC 1405) because with Christ in us, it is “the hope of glory” (Col 1:27).

This article was written by Joni Cheng.

Joni Cheng was born in Hong Kong and incorporated as Regnum Christi member in 2016. She is a Sales & Marketing professional and an hotelier by profession. She has a bachelor’s degree in International Hotel Management from the University of Wales and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Catechetics and Evangelisation with the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Joni has great love for Our Lady of Guadalupe and has been on a mission to bring Our Lady to her children in China.