The Eucharist is the “source and summit” of the Church’s life! It is the central mystery of our faith.
But what does that mean?
Well, for starters, as the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, the Eucharist is where we draw our strength to live the life we are called to as Christian disciples. So, we ought to flock to the Eucharist regularly — praying in the church where He sits enthroned behind the tabernacle or at Eucharistic Adoration where Christ’s body is exposed to our senses in the monstrance. Jesus is here — Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity— and He is waiting for each one of us to come to Him.
These devotions are powerful and filled with grace, and they bring us closer to Christ every time we take advantage of them. Yet, even more powerful, even more grace-filled is our participation in the celebration of the Mass. There, Christ comes to us in Word and Sacrament. He offers us Himself and invites us to partake of Him. And when we do, we are united to Christ in such a profound manner that it is hard for our human minds to comprehend. We become one with Him through the Eucharist!
The Mass is of prime importance for us as Catholics. Everything else flows from the Mass. There would be no consecrated Host without the Mass — therefore, there would be no Eucharistic Adoration or other such Eucharistic devotions without the Mass. There will never be a devotion greater than the celebration of the sacrament of the Mass.
It is there, where the Church, as the Body of Christ, comes to worship the Father, to give Him praise and thanksgiving for who He is and what He has done. And as we bring our praise and thanksgiving to the Father, together with Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ offers us His Body, to be nourished for our work in the world! Then, He commissions us to “Go forth, proclaiming the Gospel by the way we live our lives. But we cannot do that appropriately without being fed. The Eucharist gives us strength to live the great commission to go forth and proclaim the gospel. It is a lived experience. It is not only the case that we have the opportunity to worship the Eucharist and to receive the Eucharist, but that we have the opportunity to be the Body of Christ in the world! We are called to bring Christ into the streets, to live the Gospel and to proclaim the Good News — and in so doing, to call others to Him. That too is Eucharist. It all goes hand in hand.
Indeed, the truth of the Eucharist cannot be overstated — for it was Christ Himself Who so unapologetically proclaimed, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (Jn. 6:51).
Jesus wants us to be one with Him. He wants us to celebrate the Mass, to receive Him, and to go into the world to proclaim Him boldly. How readily do we accept His invitation? How boldly do we proclaim His Truth? How unapologetically do we live out the Gospel?
We are a Eucharistic people! It is a great privilege — a gift worth more than we can fathom. May we find the desire burning in us to run to Christ’s Eucharistic presence and then, nourished by Him, to live for Him in all we say and do!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Michael O’Reilly