Chapter 4: Eucharist, Full Communion
Part One: Reading Assignment:
“I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible”-Ignatius of Antioch (A.D. 110)
“We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus”-Justin Martyr (A.D. 151)
“Do not see in the bread and wine merely natural elements, because the Lord has expressly said that they are his body and his blood: faith assures you of this, though your senses suggest otherwise.”-Cyril of Jerusalem (A.D. 347/348)
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”- (John 6:51–52)
This is it, the big one. The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324). You can rightly call the Eucharist the center of the Catholic faith. Why? It’s because the Eucharist is Jesus Christ Himself, our Lamb, Lord, God, Savior, Redeemer, King.
Think about that for a minute.
Jesus Christ, our God, is there right in front of you on the altar during Mass. We come to Him and receive Him into our bodies. This is Jesus Christ, the same God-man who was born of the Virgin Mary, who suffered and died for our sins, and then rose from the dead and ascended in glory to sit at the right hand of the Father. This is the Jesus we pray to, that we ask for help and comfort and answers, right here with us.
How many times have you prayed to Jesus, asking Him to be there with you, to show Himself to you? He answers those prayers in the most miraculous way, every single day in the Mass.
Are we amazed by this? Do we stand in awe of our Eucharistic Lord? Do we go to His table without recognizing what, or should I say Who, we are receiving? “For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.” (1 Corinthians 11:29)
There is no bigger deal in the Church, or in the whole world, than the Eucharist.
The world wants to tell you that the Eucharist is just a symbol. The world wants to tell you that the Eucharist is just superstition. The world wants to tell you that the Eucharist is just bread and wine.
I want to tell you that the Eucharist is more than just a symbol, it’s a sacrament. The Eucharist is more than just a superstition, it’s a sacrifice. The Eucharist is more than just bread and wine; it’s the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Maybe you’ve known this your whole life. Maybe you knew it once but don’t believe it any more. Maybe you’ve never believed, but want to.
Jesus Christ is waiting for you. He wants to enter into your life, to transform you and strengthen you, from the inside-out.
This is serious stuff. Our human senses tell us that it’s just bread and wine, but our heart and our souls can see the truth. Pray for faith, for understanding, for the recognition of Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist. As you read the Scriptures and the Catechism, take it slowly. Try to see how God has prepared us for this truth. Once you see it, I’m sure that your life will never be the same again.
“Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you – for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart…don’t listen to the demon, laugh at him, and go without fear to receive the Jesus of peace and love…Receive Communion often, very often…there you have the sole remedy, if you want to be cured. Jesus has not put this attraction in your heart for nothing…The guest of our soul knows our misery; He comes to find an empty tent within us – that is all He asks.” -St. Thérèse of Lisieux
- Please read the following (in this order):
John 6 (The whole chapter)
Hebrews 7 (The whole chapter)
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
1 Corinthians 11:27-29
Luke 24:30-31, 35