A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC
July 29, 2016
June 30, 2020
The Gift of the Eucharist
April 17, 2016
It seems we are in a “season of Eucharist” at this time of year with all of our little ones joining us at the Table of the Lord for the first time as well as those who are newly initiated into the Church as part of the RCIA process. Some people are of the understanding that First Communion is the sacrament and after that, the Eucharist is just an ordinary part of the Mass. NOT SO! Each time we come to the table and eat of the Body and Blood of Christ we are participating in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. This sacrament is not only the moment we take the Bread of Life into our bodies, the whole of the Catholic Mass is a sacrament and we are invited to full participation which includes Communion
In his encyclical letter “Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home”, Pope Francis says this of the Eucharist: “It is in the Eucharist that all has been created finds its greatest exaltation. It is the living center of the universe, the overflowing core of love and inexhaustible life. Joined to the incarnate Son, present in the Eucharist, the whole cosmos gives thanks to God. Indeed the Eucharist is itself an act of cosmic love . . .The Eucharist joins heaven and earth; it embraces and penetrates all creation.” What a beautiful image; the whole the cosmos thanking God!
When I was in grad school taking a course on Liturgy, I distinctly recall the words of the professor as he spoke of the celebration of the Eucharist stating that “for a moment in time, all is right with the world.” That is what the sacrament of the Eucharist , the Mass, can be for us; God’s people gathered together welcoming and greeting one another, putting aside all differences and in friendship and peace thanking God, then being fed by with the Word and the Body and Blood of Christ; the food that ensures our eternal life. Think about that the next time you ar eat Mass, look around and see , that for this moment in time, all is right with the world. It is just a glimpse of the glory of eternity and it is truly a gift! This may be a good time to review for all of us the importance of reverence in receiving the Eucharist
The Mass invites us to prepare of the moment we take the Eucharist into our bodies as together we gather, we ask for forgiveness in the Penitential Rite, we praise God in the Gloria, we listen to Word proclaimed, we learn to apply the Word to our lives in the Homily, then we bring forth ordinary bred and wine, we pray, we call upon the Holy Spirit and the saints and we share a sign of peace. We are now readied to walk as one body in the Communion processional to receive the gift of Christ. Here at St. Francis Xavier we are invited to receive under what is called both species; Bread and Cup or Blood of Christ.
As we approach the priest or extraordinary Eucharistic minister, it is proper to bow slightly in reverence, then to raise our cupped hand with the other hand placed under, providing a “throne” for the Eucharist. We speak aloud, “Amen” in response to “the Body of Christ.” (It is also proper to take the Body of Christ on the tongue.) Then moving to the cup minister, we again offer reverence in a slight bow and again answer an audible “Amen” before consuming a small sip of the Precious Blood of Christ. If you choose not to take from the cup, (which is not required), it is proper to reverence the cup as you pass by with a slight bow. This is simply a sign of deep respect for the presence of Jesus in the Precious Blood. The Body of Christ, taken in the hand, it to be immediately consumed; never carried back to your pew.
Then returning to our seat, we give thanks to God for the incredible Gift of the Eucharist. And there it is, that moment when all is right with the world. Amen. With Easter peace and joy, Deb Rudolph