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Father Muench Says...

The Eucharistic Prayer

October 11, 2023

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

This morning as I celebrated the morning Mass, I was touched very deeply by the words of the Eucharistic Prayer. It was a sacred moment for me as it often is. Each time I offer Mass, the Eucharistic Prayer is most important. I would call it transformative. This prayer transforms us all, makes us new people. I write this today because I am hoping that each one of you finds this joyful transformation each time you participate at Mass.

I want to encourage you to listen carefully to the priest’s words of prayer of the Eucharistic Prayer. I believe this prayer draws us all – priest and people – closer to God. This is a powerfully sacred prayer. The Eucharistic Prayer is the time when the priest celebrant consecrates the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus.

The Eucharistic Prayer prepares us for this consecration and prepares us for the reception of Holy Communion. There are several different Eucharistic Prayers. The priest chooses one for Mass. Today I chose the Seconds Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation. This prayer focuses our attention on reconciliation with the Lord with forgiveness of sin. Reconciliation is a name often given to confession. We are separated from Our God by sin, and, through the Lord’s forgiveness, we are reconciled. We hope to renew and strengthen our relationship with the Lord. We seek reconciliation, and we look to renew and strengthen our relationship with God through reconciliation. Through God’s forgiveness from sin, we seek a reconciled friendship with God.

Let me share a bit of this Eucharistic Prayer with you. Each Eucharistic Prayer is a prayer to God the Father. The Eucharistic Prayer of Reconciliation begins with a prayer of praise to the Father in gratitude for the sending of Jesus, “who comes in your name.” This Jesus comes as “the hand you extend to sinners.” This Jesus is “the way by which your peace is offered to us.” In this prayer, we continue on in gratitude to the Father: “when we ourselves had turned away from you on account of our sins, you brought us back to be reconciled, O Lord,” so that “we might love one another through your Son.”

Then, the priest celebrant, using the same words as Jesus at the Last Supper, consecrates the bread and wine to be the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus. The Eucharistic Prayer then continues to remind us of why we are here.
“Celebrating the memorial of the Death and Resurrection of your Son, we have the sacrifice of perfect reconciliation. Our prayer is a time to renew our relationship with the Lord.

Our prayer continues in petition: “Holy Father, we humbly beseech you to accept us also, together with your Son and in this saving banquet graciously to endow us with the very Spirit, who takes away everything that estranges us from one another.”

Our Eucharistic Prayer then prays for our Church – that is, for ourselves, for you and me. We pray for a strong union with Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, with our bishop and with all people, those at the Mass, those throughout the world. We pray to the Father that we will be united in a strong friendship.

Our prayer continues in a prayer uniting us all: “Just as you have gathered us at the table of your Son bring us together with the glorious Virgin, Mary, Mother of God, with you blessed Apostles and all the saints, with our brothers and sisters, family and friends, and those of every race and tongue who have died in your friendship.” We ask the Father to unite us in a new heaven and a new earth where the fullness of your peace will shine forth in Christ Jesus Our Lord.

Then begins the Communion Rite. The Eucharistic Prayer prepares us to receive the Lord in Holy Communion, receiving the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus. This Eucharistic Prayer is a wonderful and sacred preparation for us all to receive Holy Communion with an open heart, uniting us with our God and with each other.

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