ORIGINS OF THE EUCHARIST - THE LAST SUPPER
The Eucharist started from the night of the last supper when Jesus shared his last meal with his disciples, the night before he was crucified. Jesus took the bread and gave it to his disciples telling them to eat of it because it was his body. He then gave them a cup and gave it to the disciples telling them to drink of it because it was the cup of the covenant in his blood.
Transubstantiation is the process by which the bread and wine of the Eucharist is transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Catholics believe that through transubstantiation, Jesus becomes truly present in the Eucharist. Catholics also believe that the bread and wine really become Jesus’ Body and Blood. Jesus said this himself at the Last Supper. When he took the bread he said “This is My Body” and for the wine “This is My Blood”.
EUCHARIST AS A MEAL
The most obvious aspect of the Eucharist is as a meal. The bread we receive represents a human necessity – eating. If we didn’t eat we would simply die. The bread (which represents all food) is also a sign/ symbol of our dependence on what is beyond ourselves – God. When families eat dinner they normally sit together and eat on a table and experience a stronger sense of belonging. This shows that when we receive the bread at communion at church we get stronger and our faith gets stronger.
EUCHARIST AS A SACRIFICE
A sacrifice means giving up something or setting aside something completely to god. The word sacrifice comes from the Latin “to make holy”. Jesus death on the cross is a sacrifice as he offered his whole life to God and to Christians. The Eucharist is spoken by the church as a sacrifice as if we had been present at the crucifixion of Jesus. We learn from the Eucharist to model our lives on the paschal mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Eucharist offers all Christians to see ourselves as we are before god to make sense of our life in the light of Jesus to become more and more the body of Christ by receiving his body and to accept all he did and refuse everything he did.
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