“Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” (John 6:52-58)
While Jesus engaged in His public ministry, healing the sick and forgiving sins, the people were touched by His love and enjoyed His presence. Many desired that He would stay with them in their village, as St. Mark records how the disciples tell Jesus, “Everyone is looking for you.” (Mark 1:37). However, Jesus had to go onward to the other villages. Yet He, too, desires to be with His people.
At the Last Supper, Jesus gives us Himself in the Holy Eucharist. In Holy Communion, we receive His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. In this way, Jesus fulfills the desire of those who seek Him. In Holy Communion, Jesus unites us in His Mystical Body. We receive life and love and grace from Him. St. Paul warns the Christians of the importance of being truly prepared in our hearts to receives, Jesus, our Lord, “Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Corinthians 11:28).
It is true that Jesus is even more perfectly present to us in Holy Communion than He was to the people in the villages He visited in first century Judea. However, even in his native town of Galilee “he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith” (Matthew 13:58). The Blessed Virgin Mary is our model of Eucharistic faith, as Pope St. John Paul II observes:
“If the Eucharist is a mystery of faith which so greatly transcends our understanding as to call for sheer abandonment to the word of God, then there can be no one like Mary to act as our support and guide in acquiring this disposition. . . . Mary seems to say to us: “Do not waiver; trust in the words of my Son. If he was able to change water into wine, he can also turn bread and wine into his body and blood, and through this mystery bestow on believers the living memorial of his passover, thus becoming the ‘bread of life’” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 54)
Regarding the Holy Eucharist, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:
- The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” “The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.” (#1324)
- “The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God’s action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit.” (#1325)
- Finally, by the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all. (#1326)
- In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: “Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking.” (#1327)
If you are interested in First Communion as an adult, or for a child not attending Catholic school, please click here to visit our Religious Education pages and contact Bill Harvalle at the Rectory Office 954-942-3570.