Most Holy Eucharist

It has been called[1], Bread of Angels, Bread from Heaven, The Breaking of Bread, The Lord’s Supper, Wedding Feast of the Lamb, Memorial, Sacrifice of Praise, Spiritual Sacrifice, Pure- Holy- Perfect- and Acceptable Sacrifice, Holy Mass, Holy Eucharist, Holy and Divine Liturgy, Holy Communion, True Presence, Most Blessed Sacrament, Sacrament of Sacraments, Medicine of Immortality, Mass of all Ages, Sign of Hope, Viaticum, and Sacred Mystery. It contains all sweetness and inexhaustible richness. It proclaims God’s works of creation, redemption and sanctification. It unites believers and condemns the undiscerning and sacrilegious. It calls all men, receives many, and obliges and assembles Christians. It abridges and sums up all the faith of the Church, enables participation in divine life, and gives a foretaste of the resurrection. It heals, forgives, delivers and preserves from sin. It increases the grace of Baptism and union with Christ, and strengthens spiritual life. It is the center, source, summit and securer, of Christian life. Like the breath of life to man, without the Eucharist, the Church simply would not be.

There are no human words that can give hope to man for his desire to fully explain and fully express, with any sense of justice, just how wondrous and wonderful is this gift of God’s Grace in the the Holy of Holies; the Eucharist of Christ. The moment we think we understand the Eucharist is the moment to recognize that we don’t understand the Eucharist[2]; for it is outside of our mind’s grasp to fully comprehend its majesty, yet within our physical reach to receive Him daily. As perplexing as Christ’s Passion, that he truly wanted to die for us, such is the Eucharist. As remarkable as the Christ’s resurrection, that a mortal – a man – raised, by His own power, from the dead, such is the Eucharist. Acknowledging all that is wondrous and inexplicable about the Eucharist, the fathers and doctors of the Church have nevertheless given us a wealth of information to help enrich our poor understanding.

Let us begin with the beginning; the institution of the Eucharist. Christ instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper when He took bread and wine, offered them up to the Father and called them His Body and His Blood.

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.” ~ Matthew 26:26-29

Four Aspects of the Eucharist
Although there are many names for the Eucharist, titles which express specific qualities of the Eucharist, all of these titles may be categorized beneath four attributes or aspects. All at once, the Eucharist is Communal Meal, True Presence, Sacrifice, and Sacrament. Each of these attributes is clearly distinguished in Christ words at the Last Supper. Communal meal: “Take this all of you and eat of it.” True Presence: “This is my Body/Blood.” Sacrifice: “…given up for you and for many.” Sacrament: “…for the forgiveness of sins.” Let’s look at each of these in more detail and, to make the most sense of it, let us rearrange the order a bit.

1. Sacrifice
All Christians, no matter how separated they are from the Catholic Church, would acknowledge that Christ gave himself as a sacrifice. That offering was made explicit at the Last Supper and on the Cross, uniting what we might perceive as two events, into one event. After offering the cup to His disciples, Christ promised that He would not drink of it again until it was made new in the kingdom of heaven. Then, in the Garden of Gethsemane, He repeatedly asked His Father to let the Cup pass Him by and then acquiesced to do the will of the Father, meaning he would yet drink of it. A centurion raised up to Him a sponge soaked in wine and gall, which Jesus tasted and rejected. Jesus’ last words before He died were, “It is finished.” It was the Cup of the Supper of the Lamb, the paschal lamb of Passover, and the last supper of Christ that was completed in this last act of Christ; the cup that He promised he would drink and make new. Here he is on the cross making the covenant new and making the wine of the paschal sacrifice new. All the other sacrifices of animals that had sealed the old covenant were imperfect and had to be continually sacrificed but Jesus is the perfect sacrifice under the new covenant and is sacrificed once for all. Each time we celebrate Mass it is a continuation of the same one sacrifice of Christ made present to us, or re-presented. In the mass, Christ is both, the sacrifice-r or priest, the one who offers up the sacrifice, and He is also the sacrifice itself because He freely offered Himself. The priest represents on earth the one who in heaven is the priest; Christ.

2. Sacrament
A Sacrament has been defined as an outward sign of an inward grace instituted by Christ. In the case of the Eucharist there are two signs; bread and wine. Necessary for the sacrament and intrinsic to the signs are the words of Christ spoken by the priest. The sign of bread calls to mind eating while the sign of wine calls to mind drinking, and both signs together embrace the idea of refreshment and nourishment. This is why when we receive we must receive enough to swallow, as both eating and drinking require swallowing or ingesting and this is what Christ commanded. The words spoken by the priest are the words of Christ and they call to mind Christ’s command to do this in memory of Him.

For bread to be confected, it must be wheaten bread (panis triticeus). Regarding gluten, the wheat need contain only enough to confect bread. For those of you who are interested, the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration have found a way to prepare an ultra-low gluten wheat bread that still bakes and has ecclesial approval for consecration (see port on Catholic Celiac Conundrum for more on gluten free hosts). What matters is that both the essence of bread and the essence of wheat be present for valid matter to be consecrated. The bread may be unleavened as is the tradition of the Latin Rite, or leavened as is the tradition of the Eastern Rite.

For wine be valid it must be fermented from grapes. It must not be extracted juice or artificial wine. In the Latin Rite, water is added to the wine to represent the resurrection by showing the rejoining of the signs of water and blood which flowed from Christ’s side after death.

For the English words to effect consecration they must be in the following form containing all these words and in this order, “this is my Body,” and “this is the chalice of my blood.”

– Principal Effects of the Eucharist
There are two principal effects of the sacrament of the Eucharist: The first is union with Christ by love and the second is the spiritual nourishment of the soul.

– Union by love:
In the Sacrament of The Holy Eucharist, the inward grace is unity with Christ, not by reception of the host but by the virtue of Christ’s love. Jesus said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” ~ John 6:57 Some translations read ‘abides in me’ rather than ‘remains in me.’ Also by this union Christ pledges to resurrect us. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” John 6:55

– Nourishment of the soul:
In this sacrament, the grace is what the sign signifies. That is, this sacrament is food for the soul. Not only are we forgiven for venial sins in this sacrament of sacraments but we are preserved from mortal sin and enabled to commune with the one who is forgiving us. Just as food increases strength in the body, so too does the Eucharist increase Sanctifying Grace in the soul of those properly disposed to receive. Just as food avails nothing to a corpse and much for a living body, so too the Eucharist avails nothing to those in the state of mortal sin but much for those in the state of grace. Just as food and drink delight the heart of man, so too does the Eucharist enrich the soul of man enabling and encouraging him to perform the duties of his state in life and a willing fervor for Christ and His Church.

3. True Presence
At the moment when Christ pronounced bread and wine to be His Body and Blood, the bread and wine ceased to be bread and wine, and became The Body and Blood of Christ. Only the signs of bread and wine remained. This is important so I’ll reiterate and place the priest in the person of Christ. At the moment when the priest pronounces the words of Christ, that the bread and wine are His Body and His Blood, the bread and wine cease to be bread and wine. At that moment they become The Body and Blood of Christ. Only the signs of bread and wine remain.

The Church has named the action of this change Transubstantiation.

Transubstantiation may seem like a long and strange word but it is actually made up of familiar parts of words. ‘Trans’ means change and ‘substan’ means substance. Think of all the words you know that begin with ‘trans’ and end with something else. Transfer means to change hands. Transform means to change form (or nature) as in water becoming wine or stones becoming bread. Transfigure means to change figure (or appearance) as Christ did on the Mount of Olives. So transubstantiation means a change of substance.

So what do we mean by substance? And how does substance differ from the signs? Sometimes the signs are called appearances or more accurately they are called accidents. In philosophical parlance, accidents and substance are distinguished from each other. Try this exercise. Close your eyes and think of bread and wine. Can you picture bread and wine? What do they smell like? What do they taste like? How heavy are they? What sound does it make as you drink it or bite into it? What does consuming them feel like? What effect does bread and wine have on your body? OK, now open your eyes. The image you had of bread and wine, the thoughts that you had of bread and wine, they are all ideas and memories of bread and wine. They are all referring to the accidents or appearances of bread and wine. When you were thinking about the bread and wine, they did not come into existence because people don’t have the power to bring things into existence by thinking about them. That’s because ideas have no substance. This is one way we can understand substance; as being the opposite of ideas.

Substance then, is the stuff that upholds the accidents. Substance is the foundation for the accidents such that bread looks like bread, tastes like bread, smells like bread etc. It also means that bread acts and interacts like bread and its constituent parts. It’s the same with wine or any other ordinary thing that we can experience. More than this, substance is purely a thing’s being: what a thing is.

The difficulty in making the distinction between accidents and substance is that we ordinarily experience them together. Yet this distinction may help us to understand which aspects of the Eucharist, under ordinary circumstances, might be considered a miracle. The Eucharist itself is, strictly speaking in philosophical terms, and in ordinary circumstances, not a miracle. A miracle requires that an effect be sensibly perceptible. In the case of the Eucharist, there is a change of substance that is not, in almost all cases, perceptible. Additionally, a miracle requires that the effect surpass the powers of visible nature. The presence of Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity are natural to Christ’s being and so, according to Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Eucharist, under ordinary circumstances, cannot properly be called a miracle on that basis. However, the fact that the appearances of bread and wine remain even after their substance is gone is not natural and so the appearances are supernaturally sustained and perceptible, and that may be argued to constitute a miracle. We will have more on the Eucharist and miracles later.

This is a whole lot of philosophical words to explain something which can be said with words of beauty instead of words meant for preciseness, acknowledging that each has its place and contributes to the Church’s understanding valuably. We sometimes say that in the Eucharist, Christ is veiled. This is the reason why we sometimes see a veil draped over the tabernacle where the Eucharist reposes. This poetic description harkens to biblical passages about the face of God hidden by clouds of mist, and it reminds us that knowledge of Jesus as Christ and as Son of God is something we know not on our own but by revelation; that is, the Father and the Holy Spirit testify to it so that we can know Him. “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. …” ~ Matthew 16:17

Additionally, the Church teaches us that because Christ is raised and living, Jesus must be present in the Holy Eucharist in His entirety. For body without blood, or blood without body, and body and blood without soul, would be dead. Furthermore, because Christ is inseparably both human and divine, wherever Christ’s Body is, so too must His Divinity also be. That means that in the Eucharist He is there in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, under either or both signs and no matter how small the signs may be fractioned.

Now, Transubstantiation does not explain how the change takes place, it only defines what change has taken place. How it happens is a mystery to saints and angels. Even the angels rely on the Church to explain this mystery and the Church in turn must have it revealed by God. The closest that the Church gets to explaining how bread and wine are changed into Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ is that it happens by the power of the Holy Spirit. The fact that the persons of the Trinity have left the answer to how transubstantiation occurs a mystery, necessarily requires us to trust the Church and Christ’s teaching; that is God has made believing in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist a matter not so much of the mind but of the heart, a matter not so much of reason but more a matter of faith.

In John chapter 6, we have an excellent example of the harmony between reason and faith and the superiority of faith over reason, on precisely this topic of the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Read John 6:22-69

Jesus has taught that those who would have the eternal life that He offers must truly eat His flesh and Blood, and that His Flesh is true food and His Blood true drink. When the disciples question Jesus about how difficult this teaching is to accept, Jesus allows many to leave Him rather than make any clarifications on the matter. This leaves us to the understanding that when Jesus said that His body is bread and that He is the true Bread from Heaven, and that we must eat of this bread that is Jesus, that He really meant it in a literal sense. Peter shows us how much it is a matter of faith by telling us that this is a hard saying but also that there is no greater appeal than Jesus, saying to Him, “Where else shall we go, you have the words of eternal life.” This is a statement that is close to what the centurion said to Jesus, that His word was sufficient, that he believed that whatever Jesus commanded would be carried out the way a commander’s word is carried out by his soldiers. Peter is not throwing up his hands and resigning himself… sort of saying ‘whatever you say Lord,’ but rather he is resolving, fortifying His trust in Christ by saying, ‘what you have said is life to us.’

4. Communal Meal
There is a sharing of bread and wine and more importantly of sacrament, sacrifice and true presence. If a simple meal with ordinary food brings together families, giving them identity through their customs, then how much more would a supernatural meal unite believers and sanctify them as one people of God? Think of the way that American families have traditionally valued the dinner meal because the individual members of the family, though they each have their duties and responsibilities during the day, come together as a single unit at supper time. Children set aside their play and their homework and parents close the door on their businesses, so they can be together. Now think of a meal like Thanksgiving (BTW, Eucharist means thanks giving because Jesus gave thanks at the Last Supper). How much more does a meal like Thanksgiving bring together extended family? Grown children return from college, aunts and uncles travel from out of state, each so they can join in celebration. Now, if that is how it is on a natural level between ordinary human children and parents, then how much more joyful and uniting must a celebration be between children of God and God their Father?

Now this is important to understand, that the communion in this meal is not just between and among men, and not just between and among earthly believers but also between and among heavenly believers (Revelation 4:1-11). Each time we participate in the Mass we are united to the angels and saints, through the Communion of Saints and by the sharing of the Most Holy Sacrament. So man is united man-to-man, and man is united man-to-saint, and man is united man-to-angel, and much more than that, man is united man-to-God.

By actively participating in the Holy Mass and by receiving the Eucharist, each member of the Church is professing and affirming that he or she believes all that the Catholic Church teaches about the Eucharist; namely, that it is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. By sharing this one Holy Bread and one Holy Wine the Church is united in one Holy Faith. By receiving Christ Himself, each member of the Church is united with God by love.

On the humility of Christ as evidenced in the Eucharist
But before we get to Q and A, there is just one more topic about the Eucharist that can speak less to our heads and more to our hearts. I am speaking about the humility of Christ as evidenced in the Eucharist.

When the second person of the Holy Trinity became man, He took on human nature and form, it was condescension, meaning with descent. Think about how far above us heaven is and how perfect God must be. For Him to come down and become man cannot be likened to any measure of time or space. There is no mountain high enough and no valley low enough, no height, no depth, no width, no breadth, not even the greatness of the universe that can illustrate how far different God is than man. Yet as great a difference between God and man, it is even a greater meekness and humility to appear to us in the likeness of bread and wine.

Man is, according to scripture, a little less than the angels. Man has dominion over animals, plants and minerals. To man these things are goods to be used for the glory of God and the benefit of man in obtaining salvation. Yet in the Eucharist, Jesus has chosen to appear, not as man but as one of his goods. And not just wheat and grapes but wheat sifted, ground, kneaded and baked, and grapes picked and crushed, fermented and poured out – just as Jesus was chosen by the Father, anointed and then crushed and bruised, His Blood poured out for our sakes.

But he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed. ~ Isaiah 53:5

His humility is even greater than this, for while peasant and king came to worship Him as a child, so too do people of all nations and races, both poor and rich receive Him in the Eucharist. Jesus is so humble that he permits His priests to say the words of consecration whenever they will.

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:26

Imagine that!… the God of the universe comes to us when we chose!!

A True Eucharistic Miracle Story
Let us close with a story about a Eucharistic Miracle. Our story is true. It took place in the eighth century in Lanciano Italy during Mass presided by a monk priest who was having doubts about the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist. After pronouncing the words of consecration, while he was looking at the host, it changed substance and appearance right in front of his eyes. He saw the host became a living piece of flesh and the wine become blood, which coagulated into five drops.

There is a document kept at Lanciano Italy recording the events. Here is a portion:

“Frightened and confused by so great and so stupendous a miracle, he stood quite a while as if transported in a divine ecstasy; but finally, as fear yielded to the spiritual joy which filled his soul with a happy face, even though bathed with tears, having turned to the bystanders, he thus spoke to them: `O fortunate witnesses to whom the Blessed God, to confound my unbelief, has wished to reveal Himself in this Most Blessed Sacrament and to render Himself visible to our eyes. Come Brethren, and marvel at our God so close to us. Behold the Flesh and the Blood of our Most Beloved Christ.’”

The people ran to the altar and cried for mercy. The report of what had happened spread rapidly and many people began to make pilgrimage to Lanciano. Now, about thirteen hundred years later, that same Eucharistic miracle is still present at Lanciano. In the nineteen-seventies, it was examined by a group of scientists, who after many tests, came to these conclusions:

  • The five globules contained in the reliquary, when weighed either separately or together, totaled the same weight: 15.85 grammes.
  • The Flesh is real flesh. The Blood is real Blood.
  • The Flesh and the Blood belong to the human species.
  • The Flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart.
  • In the Flesh we see present in section: the myocardium, the endocardium, the vagus nerve and also the left ventricle of the heart for the large thickness of the myocardium.
  • In the Blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of fresh normal blood.
  • In the Blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.
  • The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB (The blood-type identical to that which Prof. Baima Bollone uncovered in the Holy Shroud of Turin)
  • The preservation of the Flesh and of the Blood, which were left in their natural state for twelve centuries and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon.

This is perhaps the grandfather of Eucharistic miracles but is by no means the only one. The Vatican has approved and verified almost one-hundred and sixty Eucharistic miracles mainly in Europe but also elsewhere in the world including, Austria, Belgium, Caribbean Island of Martinique, Columbia, Croatia, , Egypt, France, Germany, India, Island of La Réunion, Netherlands, Perù, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.

The many Eucharistic miracles of Europe inspired the Church, in 1264, to institute the great Feast of Corpus Christi, with its beautiful processions, where the Living God of the Holy Eucharist is triumphantly carried on the streets.

These miracles are evidence in both substance and appearance and are given for the purpose of aiding our belief. The apostles saw and did incredible things, like healings and resurrections. They believed since the beginning with Christ, that the bread and wine were changed into Christ Himself and the Church has taken centuries to define this understanding. But none of these apostles or the earlier Church Fathers saw what we can see in these miracles, and yet they believed. If they who have not seen believed, how much more ought we who can see believe?

Sources:
Scott Hahn: The Fourth Cup
Catechism of the Catholic Church – What is this sacrament called?
New Advent – Extraordinary element in the Eucharist
New Advent – Blessed Eucharist as Sacrament
Real presence – The Eucharistic Miracles of the World
Real Presence – Lanciano 750 A.D. (Part 1) pdf
Real Presence – Lanciano 750 A.D. (Part 2) pdf

Matthew 26:26-29
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
26And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. This is my body.
27And taking the chalice, he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this.
28For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.
29And I say to you, I will not drink from henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.
John 6:57
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
57He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him.
John 6:55
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
55He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.
Matthew 16:17
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
17And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven.
John 6:22-69
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
22The next day, the multitude that stood on the other side of the sea, saw that there was no other ship there but one, and that Jesus had not entered into the ship with his disciples, but that his disciples were gone away alone.
23But other ships came in from Tiberias; nigh unto the place where they had eaten the bread, the Lord giving thanks.
24When therefore the multitude saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they took shipping, and came to Capharnaum, seeking for Jesus.
25And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him: Rabbi, when camest thou hither?
26Jesus answered them, and said: Amen, amen I say to you, you seek me, not because you have seen miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
27Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto life everlasting, which the Son of man will give you. For him hath God, the Father, sealed.
28They said therefore unto him: What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?
29Jesus answered, and said to them: This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he hath sent.
30They said therefore to him: What sign therefore dost thou shew, that we may see, and may believe thee? What dost thou work?
31Our fathers did eat manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
32Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you; Moses gave you not bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
33For the bread of God is that which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world.
34They said therefore unto him: Lord, give us always this bread.
35And Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger: and he that believeth in me shall never thirst.
36But I said unto you, that you also have seen me, and you believe not.
37All that the Father giveth to me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will not cast out.
38Because I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me.
39Now this is the will of the Father who sent me: that of all that he hath given me, I should lose nothing; but should raise it up again in the last day.
40And this is the will of my Father that sent me: that every one who seeth the Son, and believeth in him, may have life everlasting, and I will raise him up in the last day.
41The Jews therefore murmured at him, because he had said: I am the living bread which came down from heaven.
42And they said: Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How then saith he, I came down from heaven?
43Jesus therefore answered, and said to them: Murmur not among yourselves.
44No man can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him; and I will raise him up in the last day.
45It is written in the prophets: And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard of the Father, and hath learned, cometh to me.
46Not that any man hath seen the Father; but he who is of God, he hath seen the Father.
47Amen, amen I say unto you: He that believeth in me, hath everlasting life.
48I am the bread of life.
49Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead.
50This is the bread which cometh down from heaven; that if any man eat of it, he may not die.
51I am the living bread which came down from heaven.
52If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world.
53The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
54Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.
55He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.
56For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed.
57He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him.
58As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me.
59This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever.
60These things he said, teaching in the synagogue, in Capharnaum.
61Many therefore of his disciples, hearing it, said: This saying is hard, and who can hear it?
62But Jesus, knowing in himself, that his disciples murmured at this, said to them: Doth this scandalize you?
63If then you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
64It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I have spoken to you, are spirit and life.
65But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning, who they were that did not believe, and who he was, that would betray him.
66And he said: Therefore did I say to you, that no man can come to me, unless it be given him by my Father.
67After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him.
68Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away?
69And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
Revelation 4:1-11
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
1After these things I looked, and behold a door was opened in heaven, and the first voice which I heard, as it were, of a trumpet speaking with me, said: Come up hither, and I will shew thee the things which must be done hereafter.
2And immediately I was in the spirit: and behold there was a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne one sitting.
3And he that sat, was to the sight like the jasper and the sardine stone; and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
4And round about the throne were four and twenty seats; and upon the seats, four and twenty ancients sitting, clothed in white garments, and on their heads were crowns of gold.
5And from the throne proceeded lightnings, and voices, and thunders; and there were seven lamps burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.
6And in the sight of the throne was, as it were, a sea of glass like to crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes before and behind.
7And the first living creature was like a lion: and the second living creature like a calf: and the third living creature, having the face, as it were, of a man: and the fourth living creature was like an eagle flying.
8And the four living creatures had each of them six wings; and round about and within they are full of eyes. And they rested not day and night, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.
9And when those living creatures gave glory, and honour, and benediction to him that sitteth on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever;
10The four and twenty ancients fell down before him that sitteth on the throne, and adored him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:
11Thou art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory, and honour, and power: because thou hast created all things; and for thy will they were, and have been created.
Isaiah 53:5
View in: NAB Vulg Hebrew
5But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed.
1 Corinthians 11:26
View in: NAB Vulg Greek
26For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come.
CCC 1332-1338
¶1332 Holy Mass (Missa), because the liturgy in which the mystery of salvation is accomplished concludes with the sending forth (missio) of the faithful, so that they may fulfill God's will in their daily lives.
¶1333 At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ's Body and Blood. Faithful to the Lord's command the Church continues to do, in his memory and until his glorious return, what he did on the eve of his Passion: "He took bread. . . ." "He took the cup filled with wine. . . ." The signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ; they continue also to signify the goodness of creation. Thus in the Offertory we give thanks to the Creator for bread and wine, fruit of the "work of human hands," but above all as "fruit of the earth" and "of the vine" - gifts of the Creator. The Church sees in the gesture of the king-priest Melchizedek, who "brought out bread and wine," a prefiguring of her own offering.
¶1334 In the Old Covenant bread and wine were offered in sacrifice among the first fruits of the earth as a sign of grateful acknowledgment to the Creator. But they also received a new significance in the context of the Exodus: the unleavened bread that Israel eats every year at Passover commemorates the haste of the departure that liberated them from Egypt; the remembrance of the manna in the desert will always recall to Israel that it lives by the bread of the Word of God; their daily bread is the fruit of the promised land, the pledge of God's faithfulness to his promises. The "cup of blessing" at the end of the Jewish Passover meal adds to the festive joy of wine an eschatological dimension: the messianic expectation of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. When Jesus instituted the Eucharist, he gave a new and definitive meaning to the blessing of the bread and the cup.
¶1335 The miracles of the multiplication of the loaves, when the Lord says the blessing, breaks and distributes the loaves through his disciples to feed the multitude, prefigure the superabundance of this unique bread of his Eucharist. The sign of water turned into wine at Cana already announces the Hour of Jesus' glorification. It makes manifest the fulfillment of the wedding feast in the Father's kingdom, where the faithful will drink the new wine that has become the Blood of Christ.
¶1336 The first announcement of the Eucharist divided the disciples, just as the announcement of the Passion scandalized them: "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" The Eucharist and the Cross are stumbling blocks. It is the same mystery and it never ceases to be an occasion of division. "Will you also go away?": the Lord's question echoes through the ages, as a loving invitation to discover that only he has "the words of eternal life" and that to receive in faith the gift of his Eucharist is to receive the Lord himself.
¶1337 The Lord, having loved those who were his own, loved them to the end. Knowing that the hour had come to leave this world and return to the Father, in the course of a meal he washed their feet and gave them the commandment of love. In order to leave them a pledge of this love, in order never to depart from his own and to make them sharers in his Passover, he instituted the Eucharist as the memorial of his death and Resurrection, and commanded his apostles to celebrate it until his return; "thereby he constituted them priests of the New Testament."
¶1338 The three synoptic Gospels and St. Paul have handed on to us the account of the institution of the Eucharist; St. John, for his part, reports the words of Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum that prepare for the institution of the Eucharist: Christ calls himself the bread of life, come down from heaven.
  1. CCC 1332-1338 []
  2. cf: JPII quotes Augustine on the inefability of God []

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