Eucharist

THE BLESSED EUCHARIST:


After the words of consecration by the priest celebrant at mass, the bread is no longer ordinary bread but the body of Christ and the wine is no longer ordinary wine but the precious blood of Christ (Mk.14:22-24; Mt.26:26-28). The Eucharistic celebration is the peak of Christian worship.

Referring to the Eucharist, Jesus said: “In all truth I tell you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life” (Jn.6:53).

There are two powers that are exercised by God alone- the power to give life and the power to judge the human heart. The rest of his powers God has in one way or the other shared with men to exercise but not these two powers. Therefore, if Christ said that his body and blood can give life to those who receive them, then the Eucharist is God for it is Christ himself in the form of bread and wine for our consumption. The Eucharist is God not because the Church said so but because Christ said so. Because it is God, we worship and adore the Eucharist. Because it is God we visit the Blessed Sacrament to present our problems and discuss our issues, complaints, disappointments, anxieties, successes, joys, sorrows, etc. We visit the Blessed  Sacrament because the Lord Himself said: “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11:28). He said, come, because he who is infinite and ubiquitous and whom the whole world cannot contain, has localized Himself in the tiny piece of bread, because with God all things are possible, he said (Mt. 19:26).

In connection with the Eucharist and visit to the Blessed Sacrament, Christ declared openly: “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe” (Jn. 6:35-36). So Christ ahead of time addressed the issue of our incredulity with the Blessed Eucharist.

For the Blessed Virgin Mary to be worthy to carry the Son of eternal Father in her womb, she was purified to the point of being conceived without original sin which the Church refers to as Immaculate Conception. This is the extent the Father went to prepare the Blessed Virgin to conceive in her womb His only Begotten Son. This should be our focus standard in preparing to approach the altar to receive the Holy Eucharist, the Son of the Eternal Father in the form of bread and wine.

St. Paul addressing the issue of preparing ourselves properly before receiving the body and blood of Christ otherwise referred to as Holy Communion, states: “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died” (1Cor.11:27-30).

This is what the Church describes as receiving Holy Communion in the state of grace. That is, receiving holy communion without any mortal or grave sin in my heart which I am aware that is not forgiven either because I have not confessed it or because I have deliberately concealed it in my previous confession.

Frequent auricular confession can help me stay in the state of grace always. I must make an auricular confession whenever I am aware of the presence of a mortal or grave sin in my life before approaching the Lord’s table to receive holy communion. It is a sacrilege to receive the Eucharist with the presence of a mortal sin in my life.

In our homes we physically wash our hands before we eat our meals to avoid contaminating our food with germs which could bring about food poison. At the Lord’s table, the Lord Himself has provided us with the spiritual water to wash ourselves before partaking of the Eucharistic meal. The spiritual water is the sacrament of penance or reconciliation. St. Paul therefore warns us that we must discern ourselves and take spiritual bath if need be before partaking in the Eucharistic meal to avoid spiritual poisoning which could lead to spiritual illness and death. For many have spiritually fallen sick and some are spiritually dead.