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What do we proclaim about the Eucharist?

8 Themes of the U.S. Bishops’ document “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the

Life of the Church”

The Gift

1. The Sacrifice of Christ — “As a memorial the Eucharist is not another sacrifice, but the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ by which we are reconciled to the Father. It is the way by which we are drawn into Jesus’ perfect offering of love, so that his sacrifice becomes the sacrifice of the Church.” §14

2. The Real Presence of Christ — “The real, true, and substantial presence of Christ in the Eucharist is the most profound reality of the sacrament. ... In the sacramental re-presentation of his sacrifice, Christ holds back nothing, offering himself, whole and entire. The use of the word “substantial” to mark the unique presence of Christ in the Eucharist is intended to convey the totality of the gift he offers to us.” §21

3. Communion with Christ and the Church — “the Church, the Bride of the Lamb, is born from the sacrificial love of Christ in his self-offering on the cross. The Eucharist re-presents this one sacrifice so that we are placed in communion with it and with the divine love from which it flows forth. We are placed in communion with each other through this love which is given to us. That is why we can say, ‘the Eucharist makes the Church.’” §25, quotation from CCC §1396

Our Response

4. Thanksgiving and Worship — “Having been sanctified by the gift of the Eucharist and filled with faith, hope, and charity, the faithful are called to respond to this gift. Indeed, it is only natural that we give thanks to the Lord for all that he has given to us.” §30 “We become conscious of this gift when we actively engage our minds, hearts, and bodies to every part of the liturgy, allowing God through the words, actions, gestures, and even the moments of silence to speak to us.” §31

5. Transformation in Christ — “The person who shares worthily in the Eucharist is enabled more and more to live the new law of love given by Christ precisely because Christ communicates himself in the sacrament of the altar. The foundation of our personal and moral transformation is the communion with himself that Christ establishes in Baptism and deepens in the Eucharist. In the celebration of the Mass, we are shown what love truly is, and we receive grace that enables us to imitate the love that Christ shows us.” §34

6. Conversion — “We confess that we have sinned, and we implore the Lord’s mercy. This is necessary since we are all sinners and sometimes fail to live up to our vocation as disciples of Jesus and to the promises of our Baptism. We need continually to heed Christ’s call to conversion. We trust in his mercy, the mercy that we behold in his body broken for us and his blood poured out for us for the forgiveness of our sins.” §44

7. Food for the Journey — “The lives of the saints and blesseds show us the importance of the Eucharist on our journey as disciples of Jesus. Many testify to the power of the Eucharist in their lives. We see the fruits of Holy Communion in their lives of faith, hope, and charity. It was their intimate union with Jesus in Holy Communion and frequently their prayer before the Blessed Sacrament that nourished and strengthened them in their journey to heaven. They teach us that ‘growth in Christian life needs the nourishment of Eucharistic Communion, the bread for our pilgrimage until the moment of death, when it will be given to us as viaticum.’” §51, quotation from CCC §1392

Sent Forth

8. Sent Forth — “Jesus is sent by the Father for the salvation of the world. At the very end of the celebration of the Eucharist, we who have received the Body and Blood of Christ and have been incorporated more profoundly into his Mystical Body are likewise sent out to proclaim the Good News for the salvation of the world: ‘Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.’” §56

Reflection/Discussion Questions:

1. How is the Holy Spirit leading me to go deeper in my relationship with Jesus as His disciple by entering more fully into each of these truths?

2. How is the Holy Spirit leading our parish to help people to experience these truths as realities in their relationship with Jesus?

For a deeper reflection on each of these themes, read the US Bishops’ document “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church” available in English and Spanish at the bottom of the following webpage:

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Dr. Seth Wright

Director of Missionary Discipleship

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