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Father Muench Says...

Celebrating the Eucharist this month

June 8, 2022

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

In the month of June, our Catholic Church celebrates the sacrament of the Blessed Eucharist. We dedicate a Sunday to honor the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. In the old days, this feast was called Corpus Christi. I remember well the processions and special decorations of the churches. Today, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you something about this important and special sacrament that is such an important part of our Catholic faith.

This sacrament of the Blessed Eucharist is an everyday part of our Catholic life. Every time Mass is celebrated, the Eucharist is a part of our prayer. Each year on the Feast Day of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, we offer our gratitude to our God for this magnificent and powerful sacrament. As Catholics, the Blessed Eucharist is an important part of our spirituality.

You probably remember that the word Eucharist – from Greek – means gratitude. Each time we celebrate the Blessed Eucharist we offer our gratitude to the Lord, who came to live among us, to teach us, and then to accept sufferings and crucifixion leading to resurrection all for us, to lead us to new life and salvation.

We come to a fuller understanding of the Lord’s Eucharist each time we pray the words of the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass. This prayer begins in gratitude as we honor the Lord for calling us to holiness. We pray: “From the world’s beginning, Lord, you are ceaselessly at work, so that the human race may become holy just as you yourself are holy.” This Holy Eucharist transform each of us and leads us to holier lives. We are lead in holiness to live lives in service of our God. We are given the power and wisdom through the Eucharist to take the Lord Jesus and his message to our world as we live well as a holy people.

Then, in the Eucharistic Prayer, we continue to pray that God “will look upon his people’s offerings, the bread and wine, and pour out on them the power of the Holy Spirit, that they become the Body and Blood of your Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in whom we, too, are his sons and daughters.”

We pray as we believe that God has always loved us with the greatest love and that God has loved us first. Through the sacrament of the Blessed Eucharist, we are united in a special way with our savior, Jesus. We know the Lord loves us and constantly forgives us. Jesus demonstrated his love through his passion, death and resurrection. Through this Eucharist, we are united with our savior each time we receive Holy Communion. In addition, this sacrament unites us into a powerful community and is ready to make our parish and our world a better place.

We believe that our Lord, Jesus, instituted this blessed Eucharist at the Last Supper. Each Mass is a celebration in remembrance of that Last Supper, and each priest is allowed to say the very same words of Jesus when he consecrated the bread and wine into his own Body and Blood. Each time we receive Holy Communion, we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus so that we can take the Lord’s power and strength and live well this day. We do not leave Jesus in the Church; the Lord is a part of us and all that we do that we may live well.

You have heard the words of consecration at Mass often. Listen carefully and recognize well the presence of the Lord among us. Over the bread the priest says the words of Jesus, “Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke the bread and gave it to them saying, take this, all of you and eat of it, for this is my Body.” And then over the chalice filled with wine, “This is the chalice of my Blood. The Blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Then we are challenged by the Lord, “Do this in memory of me.”

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