Making Church Matter

Eucharistic Revival

June 26, 2024

The Eucharist, literally meaning “thanksgiving,” also called the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, or more simply, Mass, is the heart of Catholic worship and devotion. It’s a sacrament that is incomparable in value, rich in meaning, rooted in scripture, and vital to the spiritual life of the faithful. 

The origins of the Eucharist are found in the Gospels and in the writings of St. Paul. At the Last Supper, on the night before he died, Jesus instituted this sacrament with profound words: “Take and eat; this is my body. Then he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’” (Matthew 26:26-28). These words, coupled with the command to “do this in memory of me” (Luke 22:19), established the Eucharist as a perpetual sacrament for the Church.

The Eucharist is foreshadowed and anticipated throughout the Bible. In Genesis 14, Melchizedek, the priest-king of Salem, offered bread and wine to Abraham. This prefigures Christ’s offering of himself as priest and victim in the Eucharist, combining the elements of bread and wine into a sacred meal.

In Exodus 12, the Israelites were commanded to sacrifice a lamb and mark their doorposts with its blood to be spared from the angel of death. This event foreshadows Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb whose blood spares humanity from eternal death, symbolizing the Eucharist as a sacrifice. Additionally, in Exodus 16, God provided the Israelites with manna, bread from heaven, during their journey in the desert. Jesus identifies himself as the true bread from heaven in John 6, linking the manna to the Eucharist where he gives his flesh for the life of the world.   

Thus, central to the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist is the doctrine of transubstantiation. This teaching holds that during the consecration at Mass, the substances of bread and wine are transformed into the actual body and blood of Christ. This change occurs while the appearances of bread and wine remain. Thus, the Eucharist is not a mere symbol but a true and substantial presence of Christ’s body, blood, soul, and divinity.

The Eucharist is often described as the “source and summit” of Christian life. It’s the source of grace that strengthens us on our journey, offering us spiritual nourishment and fortifying us against the devil. Each reception of the Eucharist is an intimate encounter with Christ, renewing and deepening our relationship with Him. In this sense it is the school of discipleship.

The Eucharist also has a profound communal dimension. As we partake in the same body and blood of Christ, we are united not only with Him but also with each other. This unity extends beyond the local congregation, it extends to the entire Catholic Church, spanning across the world.

Additionally, the Eucharist is a foretaste of the heavenly banquet. It anticipates the eternal life promised to us, where we will be in perfect communion with God. This dimension of the Eucharist fills us with hope and directs our lives toward our ultimate goal: union with God.

Beyond the Mass, the practice of Eucharistic Adoration allows us to spend time in prayer and reflection before the Blessed Sacrament. This devotion helps deepen our love for Christ and fosters a greater awareness of his presence in our lives. 

Eucharistic Conference

This July, Catholics from across the country will gather for a transformative experience at the National Eucharistic Congress. Nativity and Rebuilt Parish will be represented in Indianapolis by a small delegation of young adults. The purpose of this important  gathering is to renew the Church in a loving relationship with the living Lord present in the Eucharist, sent out on mission for the life of the world. 

Many of the Congress events will be available online, as well as on Catholic TV, July 17 through July 21. Each day of the Congress we will have Eucharistic Adoration in our Chapel.  Let us take this opportunity to pray that the Congress will introduce a real revival in attendance at and participation in the Eucharist. 

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