The Sacrament of the Eucharist
3 2us by Father Javier Igea
"What is Communion? Communion is Jesus coming to you. Communion is Jesus entering into your heart. The heart is the inner part of the person, your heart is your intimacy, and communion is receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, but letting Him enter into communion with you: from heart to heart, the union of the heart of Jesus with your heart. We need Jesus. In the Old Testament, one of the words that is most repeated is 'heart'. Man has a heart and we could say that man is heart. We need the love of God in our hearts; our lives are empty without Him. Most of all, Communion is realising that God loves us so much that his love wants to fill our whole hearts. "
An overview of the Mass
The celebration of the Eucharist
Fr John Edwards SJ: "It’s good to think of the Mass as being in 4 movements: a movement first up to God, as it were, where we talk to God. .. then, the second movement, God talks to us. On a Sunday there are 4 readings and it is of course through the Bible that God does principally, really, talk to us. .. The next part of the Mass mirrors the first part, a movement up to God, where we give to God, then a movement down, God gives to us. So the whole Mass you could say is shaped like a capital M, movement up to God, movement down, movement up to God again, movement down."
Fr John Edwards SJ: "These are the difficulties that one can usually hear: I get bored with Mass. I don't get anything out of coming to Mass. I can't pray in Church, could pray much better somewhere else. My friends don't go to Church; and, I don't see why there should be an obligation - if I want to go to Church I will, if I don't I won't, and nobody has the right to dictate to me how I relate to God, it's between me and God. Those are something of the difficulties that our youngsters face. And what is the answer? And the answer, I think, depends on how you see the Mass."
In Memory of Me - Totus2us podcast about this Sacrament of Love, the real presence, body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ present in the Eucharist, celebrated at Mass & adored in the Most Holy Sacrament.
Catechesis on the Eucharist by Pope Francis (1 of 2)
5 February 2014 - in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish
"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
Today I will speak to you about the Eucharist. The Eucharist is at the heart of “Christian initiation”, together with Baptism and Confirmation, and it constitutes the source of the Church’s life itself. From this Sacrament of love, in fact, flows every authentic journey of faith, of communion and of witness.
What we see when we gather to celebrate the Eucharist, the Mass, already gives us an intuition of what we are about to live. At the centre of the space intended for the celebration there is an altar, which is a table covered with a tablecloth, and this makes us think of a banquet. On the table there is a cross to indicate that on this altar what is offered is the sacrifice of Christ: he is the spiritual food that we receive there, under the species of bread and wine. Beside the table is the ambo, the place from which the Word of God is proclaimed: and this indicates that there we gather to listen to the Lord who speaks through Sacred Scripture, and therefore the food that we receive is also his Word.
Word and Bread in the Mass become one, as at the Last Supper, when all the words of Jesus, all the signs that he had performed, were condensed into the gesture of breaking the bread and offering the chalice, in anticipation of the sacrifice of the cross, and in these words: “Take, eat; this is my body... Take, drink of it; for this is my blood”.
Jesus’ gesture at the Last Supper is the ultimate thanksgiving to the Father for his love, for his mercy. “Thanksgiving” in Greek is expressed as “eucharist”. And that is why the Sacrament is called the Eucharist: it is the supreme thanksgiving to the Father, who so loved us that he gave us his Son out of love. This is why the term Eucharist includes the whole of that act, which is the act of God and man together, the act of Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.
Therefore the Eucharistic Celebration is much more than simple banquet: it is exactly the memorial of Jesus’ Paschal Sacrifice, the mystery at the centre of salvation. “Memorial” does not simply mean a remembrance, a mere memory; it means that every time we celebrate this Sacrament we participate in the mystery of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. The Eucharist is the summit of God’s saving action: the Lord Jesus, by becoming bread broken for us, pours upon us all of his mercy and his love, so as to renew our hearts, our lives and our way of relating with him and with the brethren. It is for this reason that commonly, when we approach this Sacrament, we speak of “receiving Communion”, of “taking Communion”: this means that by the power of the Holy Spirit, participation in Holy Communion conforms us in a singular and profound way to Christ, giving us a foretaste already now of the full communion with the Father that characterizes the heavenly banquet, where together with all the Saints we will have the joy of contemplating God face to face.
Dear friends, we don’t ever thank Lord enough for the gift he has given us in the Eucharist! It is a very great gift and that is why it is so important to go to Mass on Sunday. Go to Mass not just to pray, but to receive Communion, the bread that is the Body of Jesus Christ who saves us, forgives us, unites us to the Father. It is a beautiful thing to do! And we go to Mass every Sunday because that is the day of the resurrection of the Lord. That is why Sunday is so important to us. And in this Eucharist we feel this belonging to the Church, to the People of God, to the Body of God, to Jesus Christ. We will never completely grasp the value and the richness of it. Let us ask him then that this Sacrament continue to keep his presence alive in the Church and to shape our community in charity and communion, according to the Father's heart. This is done throughout life, but is begun on the day of our First Communion. It is important that children be prepared well for their First Communion and that every child receive it, because it is the first step of this intense belonging to Jesus Christ, after Baptism and Confirmation."
"Je salue avec joie les pèlerins de langue française, en particulier les responsables des écoles catholiques Pierre Fourier-Alix Le Clerc, et les membres de la Commission épiscopale francophone pour les traductions liturgiques. Chers amis, que votre participation active à la liturgie vous permette de remercier le Seigneur pour le don de l’Eucharistie et d’en accueillir toute la valeur et la richesse ! Bon pèlerinage à Rome !
I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today’s Audience, including those from England and the United States. I greet in particular the group of Pallottine Missionary Sisters. Upon you and your families I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!
Herzlich begrüße ich die Brüder und Schwestern aus den Ländern deutscher Sprache. Liebe Freunde, wir können dem Herrn nie genug danken für das Geschenk, das er uns in der heiligen Eucharistie gegeben hat, nämlich sich selbst. Gott segne euch.
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los grupos provenientes de España, Argentina y otros países latinoamericanos. Pidamos que la celebración de la Eucaristía mantenga siempre viva a la Iglesia, y haga que nuestras comunidades se distingan por la caridad y la comunión. Muchas gracias.
Saúdo cordialmente os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, desejando-vos que cresçais sempre mais no amor e na adoração da Eucaristia, para que este Sacramento possa continuar a plasmar as vossas comunidades na caridade e na comunhão, segundo o coração do Pai. De bom grado vos abençoo a vós e aos vossos entes queridos!
أرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللغةِ العربية، وخاصةً بالقادمينَ من الشرق الأوسط. يسوعُ يكلَّمُنا من خلالَ سرِّ الإفخارستيا ويُذكِّرُنا في كُلِّ مرة أن اتباعه يعني الخروج من ذواتنا لنجعل من حياتنا هبة له وللآخرين.
Witam polskich pielgrzymów. Serdecznie pozdrawiam Biskupów reprezentujących Konferencję Episkopatu w trakcie wizyty ad limina Apostolorum. Drodzy Bracia, zanieście moje pozdrowienie waszym kapłanom, zakonnikom i zakonnicom, wiernym świeckim i wszystkim Polakom. Zapewniam Was o mojej modlitwie za Was i za tych, których Pan powierzył Waszej trosce. Módlcie się także za mnie. Niech Bóg błogosławi Wam i Kościołowi w Polsce!
* * *
Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai fedeli di lingua italiana. Sono lieto di accogliere i Vescovi che prendono parte al Convegno, promosso dalla Comunità di Sant’Egidio, e i sacerdoti che stanno svolgendo la settimana di studio sulla formazione umana dei candidati al sacerdozio, organizzata dalla Pontificia Università della Santa Croce. Per voi auspico che la visita al sepolcro di Pietro sia occasione propizia per un rinnovato impegno missionario nell’annuncio del Vangelo, particolarmente verso gli ultimi e i poveri. Saluto i fedeli della Parrocchia San Pasquale Baylon di Portici; i militari della Brigata Sassari e l’Associazione Romana degli Albergatori. A tutti auguro che questo incontro rafforzi la fede, accresca la speranza e stimoli la carità.
I address a special thought to the many people, our brothers and sisters, who are suffering the effect of the heavy rain in the region of Tuscany and here in Rome. Let us all pray and let us be close with our efforts, with our solidarity and with our love.
I address a special greeting to young people, to the sick and to newlyweds. Because of the rain the sick are gathered in the Hall and I was able to greet them before coming here, and they are following the Audience in front of the screen. Today we celebrate the memory of St Agatha, Virgin and Martyr. May her heroic virtue stimulate you, dear young people, in particular students of the Schools of the Congregation of St John the Baptism, to comprehend the importance of purity and virginity; may it help you, dear sick people, to accept the cross in spiritual union with Christ; and may it encourage you, dear newlyweds, to understand the role of a woman in family life."
Catechesis on the Eucharist by Pope Francis (2 of 2)
12 February 2014 - in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish
"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning.
In the last Catechesis I emphasized how the Eucharist introduces us into real communion with Jesus and his mystery. Now let us ask ourselves several questions that spring from the relationship between the Eucharist that we celebrate and our life, as a Church and as individual Christians. How do we experience the Eucharist? When we go to Sunday Mass, how to we live it? Is it only a moment of celebration, an established tradition, an opportunity to find oneself or to feel justified, or is it something more?
There are very specific signals for understanding how we are living this, how we experience the Eucharist; signals that tell us if we are living the Eucharist in a good way or not very well. The first indicator is our way of looking at or considering others. In the Eucharist, Christ is always renewing his gift of self, which he made on the Cross. His whole life is an act of total sharing of self out of love; thus, he loved to be with his disciples and with the people whom he had a chance to know. This meant for him sharing in their aspirations, their problems, what stirred their soul and their life. Now we, when participating in Holy Mass, we find ourselves with all sorts of men and women: young people, the elderly, children; poor and well-off; locals and strangers alike; people with their families and people who are alone.... But the Eucharist which I celebrate, does it lead me to truly feel they are all like brothers and sisters? Does it increase my capacity to rejoice with those who are rejoicing and cry with those who are crying? Does it urge me to go out to the poor, the sick, the marginalized? Does it help me to recognize in theirs the face of Jesus? We all go to Mass because we love Jesus and we want to share, through the Eucharist, in his passion and his resurrection. But do we love, as Jesus wishes, those brothers and sisters who are the most needy? For example, in Rome these days we have seen much social discomfort either due to the rain, which has caused so much damage to entire districts, or because of the lack of work, a consequence of the global economic crisis. I wonder, and each one of us should wonder: I who go to Mass, how do I live this? Do I try to help, to approach and pray for those in difficulty? Or am I a little indifferent? Or perhaps do I just want to talk: did you see how this or that one is dressed? Sometimes this happens after Mass and it should not! We must concern ourselves with our brothers and sisters who need us because of an illness, a problem. Today, it would do us such good to think of these brothers and sisters of ours who are beset by these problems here in Rome: problems that stem from the grave situation caused by the rain and social instability and unemployment. Let us ask Jesus, whom we receive in the Eucharist, to help us to help them.
A second indication, a very important one, is the grace of feeling forgiven and ready to forgive. At times someone may ask: “Why must one go to Church, given that those who regularly participate in Holy Mass are still sinners like the others?”. We have heard it many times! In reality, the one celebrating the Eucharist doesn’t do so because he believes he is or wants to appear better than others, but precisely because he acknowledges that he is always in need of being accepted and reborn by the mercy of God, made flesh in Jesus Christ. If any one of us does not feel in need of the mercy of God, does not see himself as a sinner, it is better for him not to go to Mass! We go to Mass because we are sinners and we want to receive God’s pardon, to participate in the redemption of Jesus, in his forgiveness. The “Confession” which we make at the beginning is not “pro forma”, it is a real act of repentance! I am a sinner and I confess it, this is how the Mass begins! We should never forget that the Last Supper of Jesus took place “on the night he was betrayed” (1 Cor 11:23). In the bread and in the wine which we offer and around which we gather, the gift of Christ’s body and blood is renewed every time for the remission of our sins. We must go to Mass humbly, like sinners and the Lord reconciles us.
A last valuable indication comes to us from the relationship between the Eucharistic Celebration and the life of our Christian communities. We must always bear in mind that the Eucharist is not something we make; it not our own commemoration of what Jesus said and did. No. It is precisely an act of Christ! It is Christ who acts there, who is on the altar. It is a gift of Christ, who makes himself present and gathers us around him, to nourish us with his Word and with his life. This means that the mission and the very identity of the Church flows from there, from the Eucharist, and there always takes its shape. A celebration may be flawless on the exterior, very beautiful, but if it does not lead us to encounter Jesus Christ, it is unlikely to bear any kind of nourishment to our heart and our life. Through the Eucharist, however, Christ wishes to enter into our life and permeate it with his grace, so that in every Christian community there may be coherence between liturgy and life.
The heart fills with trust and hope by pondering on Jesus’ words recounted in the Gospel: “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). Let us live the Eucharist with the spirit of faith, of prayer, of forgiveness, of repentance, of communal joy, of concern for the needy and for the needs of so many brothers and sisters, in the certainty that the Lord will fulfil what he has promised us: eternal life. So be it!"
"Je salue bien cordialement les pèlerins de langue française, en particulier tous les jeunes des collèges et des lycées venus de France. Je vous invite à participer chaque dimanche à l’Eucharistie afin d’y rencontrer le Christ qui donne sa vie pour nous. C’est là que nous trouvons la grâce de transformer notre vie en profondeur, et nos relations avec les autres. Bon pèlerinage à Rome.
I offer an affectionate greeting to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Denmark, Hong Kong and the United States. May Jesus Christ confirm you in faith and make you witnesses of his love and mercy to all people. God bless you all!
Von Herzen begrüße ich die Pilger deutscher Sprache, besonders die Gläubigen aus der Diözese Gurk-Klagenfurt und die Gruppe der Theologischen Fakultät der Universität Freiburg in der Schweiz. Liebe Freunde, leben wir die Eucharistie mit Glauben und im Gebet in der Gewissheit, dass der Herr das vollenden wird, was er verheißen hat. Ich wünsche euch einen schönen und anregenden Aufenthalt in Rom.
Saludo a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los miembros de la Hermandad matriz de Nuestra Señora del Rocío, acompañados por el Obispo de Huelva, así como a los demás grupos provenientes de España, México, Argentina y otros países latinoamericanos. Invito a todos a vivir la Eucaristía con espíritu de fe y de oración, sabiendo que quien come el Cuerpo de Cristo y bebe su Sangre tendrá la vida eterna. Muchas gracias.
Queridos peregrinos de língua portuguesa, de coração lhes desejo as boas-vindas, com votos, para quantos participam da Eucaristia nos domingos, de a viverem com espírito de fé e de oração, sabendo que quem come a carne de Jesus tem a vida eterna e será ressuscitado por Ele no último dia. Sobre vós e sobre vossas comunidades, desça a benção do Senhor.
أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللغةِ العربية، وخاصةً بالقادمينَ من الشرق الأوسط. لنَسمَح للمَسيحِ الحاضِرِ في سرِّ الافخارستيا بأَن يُحوِّلَنا ويَقودَنا لِنَخرُجَ منذَواتِنا فلا نخشى أَن نُعطيَ ونَتَشارَك ونُحِبّ!
Drodzy polscy pielgrzymi! Serce napełnia się ufnością i nadzieją, gdy pomyślimy o zapewnieniu Jezusa: „Kto spożywa moje Ciało i pije moją Krew, ma życie wieczne, a Ja go wskrzeszę w dniu ostatecznym” (J 6,54). Przeżywajmy Eucharystię w duchu wiary i modlitwy, z pewnością, że Pan dokona tego, co obiecał. Niech Jego błogosławieństwo stale wam towarzyszy.
I welcome the pilgrims from the Czech Republic. I am delighted to welcome Cardinal Dominik Duka and Cardinal Vlk, a veteran fighter and defender of the faith in the Czech Republic, as well as the Bishops of the Czech Episcopal Conference on their visit ad limina Apostolorum. Dear brothers, convey my greeting to your priests, men and women religious and lay faithful. I assure you of my prayer for you and for those the Lord has entrusted to your care. Pray for me too. As I bless the Rosaries for the Palladium of the land of Bohemia, from my heart I impart to you and to the Czech Church the Apostolic Blessing.
* * *
Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai fedeli di lingua italiana. Saluto i gruppi parrocchiali e le numerose associazioni, in particolare i fedeli di Volpiano, i soci della APLETI di Bari e i dipendenti della Maiorana di Roma. Saluto inoltre gli studenti presenti, specialmente quelli dell’Istituto Milani di Caivano e la Scuola Fusco di Angri; i membri delle Autorità italiane di vigilanza e i militari della Scuola Sottoufficiali di Viterbo. Ringrazio tutti per la vostra presenza e auspico che questo incontro susciti in ciascuno rinnovati propositi di testimonianza cristiana nella famiglia e nella società.
I extend a special thought to young people, the sick and newlyweds. This Friday we will celebrate the feast of Sts Cyril and Methodius, evangelizers of the Slavs and Patrons of Europe. May their witness help you, dear young people, to become in every environment missionary disciples; may it encourage you, dear sick people, to offer up your suffering for the conversion of sinners; may it be an example for you, dear newlyweds, to make the Gospel the founding rule of your family life."