Meaning of Eucharist

What is the Eucharist:

Eucharist is the name given, in Catholicism, to the sacrament consisting of the communion of the faithful with Jesus Christ by taking his body and blood, represented in bread and wine consecrated for this purpose. Eucharist is also called the ceremony in which it is imparted.

etymologicallyThe word Eucharist comes from the Latin, Eucharistwhich in turn has its origin in the Greek word εὐχαριστία (eucharistía), which means ‘thanksgiving’.

The Eucharist, also called Holy Communion, is a rite that consists of the distribution of bread and wine among the faithful by a consecrated minister (the priest).

The bread (the host) and the wine are symbolic elements that evoke, by transubstantiation, the body and blood of Jesus Christ. For the consecration of it, the priest in charge invokes the blessing of the Spirit.

The purpose of the Eucharist is to appreciate the presence of Christ in us and to remind us of his sacrifice on the cross for our salvation.

According to the Catholic religion, the Eucharist is one of the seven sacraments, and was originally instituted by Jesus Christ.

For the Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Coptic and Lutheran Churches, thanks to the Eucharist we can be in communion with God and receive the promise of future grace, which is eternal life.

However, in Catholicism, the Eucharist can only be practiced by people who have made their first communion. To do this, they must first go through catechism, where they learn about God, the Bible and the Catholic religion.

Institution of the Eucharist in the Bible

According to the New Testament of the Bible, the Eucharist is a rite that was instituted by Jesus Christ during Holy Thursday, while celebrating the Last Supper in the company of the Apostles.

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The apostle Matthew relates:

“Jesus took bread and, after pronouncing the blessing, he broke it, gave it to the disciples and said to them: ‘Take, eat: this is my body.’ Then he took the chalice, pronounced thanksgiving and said: ‘Drink all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins’” (26:26-28).

And, according to the apostle John, Jesus warned them about the profound meaning of this rite:

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood dwells in me and I in him” (6:54-56).

Thus, the Eucharist was instituted by Jesus Christ so that we may commune with him and so that, remembering his sacrifice, we may also attain the forgiveness of our sins and be given the grace of eternal life.

See also Holy Thursday.

Symbols in the Eucharist

The Eucharist is the symbol of the banquet where God distributes bread and wine. The fundamental elements of this rite are bread and wine, which represent the body and blood respectively of Jesus Christ.

For the Catholic Church, the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ during the consecration. It is at that moment that the priest invokes the words of the Holy Spirit so that the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ takes place.

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Bread

The bread represents the body of Christ. The bread used in the Eucharistic ceremony is the host, usually made with wheat bread. The host represents the body of Christ, which was offered on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.

The wine

The wine symbolizes the blood of Christ. The one used in the ceremony must be made with vine wine, and be natural and pure. It represents the blood that Jesus Christ shed on the cross, with which he granted the remission of humanity.

See also Host.