Chapter 3: The Eucharist. THE SACRAMENTS – SOURCE OF OUR LIFE IN CHRIST. 1. The Institution of the Eucharist & Christ as the Bread from Heaven (pp. 74-79). Anticipatory Set Opening Prayer on the first four paragraphs of Chapter 3. .
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Chapter 3: The Eucharist
THE SACRAMENTS – SOURCE OF OUR LIFE IN CHRIST
Opening Prayer on the first four paragraphs of Chapter 3.
How is the institution of the Eucharist related to the Old Testament?
How is Christ the Bread of Life?
Christ gave a new meaning to the Passover meal, the Paschal lamb, the cup of consummation, and the blood of the Mosaic Covenant in the Last Supper and in his Passion.
In his ‘Bread from Heaven’ discourse recorded in the Gospel of John, after he miraculously fed 5000 and associated himself with the manna from Heaven, Jesus declared he was the Bread of Life whose Flesh men must eat and whose Blood men must drink in order for them to have eternal life.
What did the early Church mean by the term, the “Breaking of the Bread”?
They meant the celebration of the Eucharist.
What is the last of the Sacraments of Christian Initiation?
How is the Eucharist different from the other Sacraments?
The other Sacraments give us the grace of God but the Eucharist gives us Christ (God) himself.
What is the Passover?
It is the great Jewish Feast commemorating the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.
How did Jesus break custom during his last Passover meal?
He gave the unleavened bread to his disciples to eat, declaring it was his Body, and then the wine to drink, saying it was his Blood.
What is the “Blood of the Covenant” and what did Jesus’ words imply?
The “Blood of the Covenant” is the sacrificial blood that established the Mosaic covenant between God and Israel. Jesus was implying that his Blood would establish a New Covenant.
Read Exodus 12, on the Passover, which delivered the Chosen People from slavery in Egypt, and on the Passover Meal, which Moses ordered each family to repeat each year to commemorate Israel’s deliverance from Pharaoh.
What part of the Passover meal did Jesus omit at the Last Supper?
The “cup of consummation,” or final cup of wine, the most important part of the meal.
How did Jesus refer to the cup of consummation as he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane?
He asked his Father to “remove this cup from me,” but declared he would nevertheless drink it if it was his Father’s will.
How did Jesus refer to the cup of consummation when Peter fought against Jesus’ arrest by cutting off the high priest’s slave’s ear?
Jesus told Peter to stop fighting because Jesus intended to “drink the cup which the Father had given” him―in other words, the “cup of consummation” left untouched at the Passover meal.
How does Jesus refer to the “cup of consummation” on the Cross?
He said, “I thirst.”
How did the soldiers’ action relate back to the Passover?
The soldiers offered Jesus sour wine to drink soaked in a sponge on a branch of hyssop. In the original Passover, the Israelites were instructed to sprinkle the blood of the sacrificial lamb with a branch of hyssop.
What time of day did Pilate order Jesus crucified and what is significant about that time?
Pilate ordered Jesus crucified at the sixth hour, the hour that the Passover lambs were sacrificed.
Perform a paragraph shrink on the second paragraph of page 77 (beginning, “By choosing”) to sum up the link between the sacrifices of the Old and New Testaments.
How did God feed the Israelites when they wandered in the desert for forty years?
He fed them with manna, bread from heaven.
How did Jesus feed the vast crowds that came to hear him?
He fed them with a miraculous multiplication of loaves and fishes.
How did Jesus compare himself to the manna?
He said he was the Bread of Life who would permanently take away hunger and thirst.
What further claims about himself did Jesus make as recorded in John 6:51?
Jesus said he was living bread come down from Heaven, which would give eternal life to those who consumed this bread. He said his Flesh was this bread that he would give for the life of the world.
How did the crowds react to this?
They didn’t like what he said.
How did Jesus’ hearers understand Jesus’ words in John 6:53-58 and how did the word “eat” reinforce this understanding?
The crowd understood Jesus to mean cannibalism, reinforced by a word that is better translated as “munch” rather than eat. Extension: The Israelites had, by God’s command, a total aversion to blood, either touching it or ingesting it.
What did Jesus’“Bread from Heaven” discourse do to his popularity?
He went from being followed by huge crowds to being accompanied by only the Twelve Apostles.
Why didn’t the Apostles leave Jesus over this teaching?
While they didn’t understand Jesus’ teaching, nevertheless, as Peter put it, Jesus “had the words of eternal life.”
What are the two interrelated truths of the Bread from Heaven discourse?
The Eucharist is spiritual food that gives graces for eternal life and the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Christ.
Write a paragraphthat explores the Last Supper and Christ’s Passion in terms of the Jewish Passover and the Blood of the Covenant.
Questions: 4-7; 13-15.
Using the “Bread of Life”discourse in the Gospel of John, work with a partner to identify arguments showing that Christ was not speaking metaphorically or symbolically when he said people needed to eat his Flesh and drink his Blood.
This is an example of “apologetics”, or the use of reason, to defend the Catholic Faith.
Opening Prayer: The fifth decade of the Luminous Mysteries, the Institution of the Eucharist.
Ten “Names of the Eucharist” on pages 81 & 83.
How did the early Church understand Jesus’‘Bread from Heaven’ discourse and the Last Supper?
What is transubstantiation?
It is the faith of the Church from the very beginning that in the Eucharist, the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ, who is really and truly present sacramentally.
The change, or transformation, from bread and wine to Body and Blood of Christ, is best termed transubstantiation, in which the entire substance of the bread and the entire substance of the wine are changed into the substance of the Body and Blood of Christ, with only the appearances of bread and wine remaining.
List the arguments found in John’s Gospel that demand the Eucharist be understood in literal, rather than symbolic, terms.
What is the mystery of the Real Presence?
In the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the bread and wine really become the Body and Blood of Our Lord with only the appearance of bread and wine remaining.
Where was the Eucharist celebrated in the early Church?
In people’s homes.
How does St. Paul speak of the Eucharist in 1 Corinthians 10:16?
He says the Eucharist is a cup of blessing, which is a participation in the Blood of Christ and bread that is broken, which is a participation the Body of Christ.
How does St. Paul speak of the Eucharist in 1 Corinthians 11:23-32?
He says the bread and cup are the Body and Blood of Christ, which the Corinthian Christians must not consume in an unworthy manner.
What does St. Paul mean by the word “participate”?
In both the Old Testament and in pagan sacrifices, when one eats some of the thing sacrificed, he participates in the sacrifice.
What does St. Paul mean by “discern”?
He means we must see the difference between the bread and wine of the Eucharist and ordinary bread and wine.
Complete the following graphic to summarize in your own words what St. Ignatius and St. Irenaeus said about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Read the sidebar “THE MIRACLE OF LANCIANO” and then visit the following website, which goes into greater detail about recent scientific investigations on the contents of the monstrance and chalice there:
How important was the Eucharist in the faith life of the early Church?
It was central. The early Church understood that the Eucharist Jesus established at the Last Supper fulfilled what he said in John’s discourse. The Eucharist was the foundation of the early Church’s prayer, community, and religious practice.
What does CCC 1376 say about the word “substance”?
By the consecration, a change of substance occurs. The substance of the bread is changed into the substance of Christ’s Body and the substance of the wine is changed into the substance of Christ’s Blood.
What does transubstantiation mean?
It is the technical term the Catholic Church uses to explain what happens to the bread and wine at the moment of the consecration. The whole and entire substance of the bread and the wine are changed into the substance of Christ’s Body and Blood. By an act of God, there is no longer bread or wine present. Every single piece of bread and every single drop of wine have been changed. Though the appearances of bread and wine remain, they have truly become the Body and Blood of Christ.
Review the list of Church teachings in regard to the Real Presence in the paragraph beginning, “Regarding the real presence” (p. 81).
Write five focus questions on the section, “NAMES OF THE EUCHARIST.”
Exchange your questions with a partner and answer the partner’s questions in writing.
Write a paragraph summarizing how the early Church understood what Jesus meant in his Bread from Heaven discourse in John’s Gospel and his words at the Last Supper.
Questions: 1; 17-19.
Practical Exercises: 2-4.
Free write on the meaning of the term transubstantiation, first explaining what it means, and then discussing the mystery that the term encompasses.
Anticipatory Set: Mini-lecture on the idea of the Mass as a memorial.
When we have a memorial for someone, we recall the person and his life after he has died, in order to honor him. This is NOT what Christ meant by “do this in memory of me.”
At the Last Supper, Jesus commanded his Apostles to repeat his words and actions and their eating and drinking, saying, “Do this in memory of me.” The Greek New Testament uses the word anemnesis, for what we have translated as a calling to mind or remembering. More profoundly, anemnesis means to see things from God’s perspective.
See diagram on page 50 of Workbook.
From God’s point of view, all things are eternally present. For God, what we perceive as past, present, and future, is eternally and completely in front of him. So when the priest says the words, “This is my Body; this is my Blood,” God hears these words simultaneously with them coming from the mouth of Jesus for the first time.
Sadly also when we sin, God sees this simultaneously with his Son being nailed to the Cross.
Therefore, when Christ said, Do this in anemnesis of me, he meant something more like, Relive this moment or Return to this moment. By extension, Christ was saying something like, When you repeat what I have done, you will be connecting to this moment and the moment of my Passion.
How is the Eucharist related to the sacrifices of the Old Covenant?
How is the Eucharist related to the Cross?
How did the early Church celebrate the Eucharist?
The Eucharist fulfills and transforms the sacrifices of the Old Covenant.
Every Mass is a participation in the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. In his Passion, Christ offered himself in a physical, bloody manner. In the Eucharist, he offers his Body and Blood in a sacramental, unbloody manner under the appearances of bread and wine.
The early Church celebrated the Eucharist in essentially the same manner that we do today, with a Liturgy of the Word and a Liturgy of the Eucharist.
How is the celebration of the Eucharist a memorial?
It is a reminder of Christ’s Passion and Death on the Cross.
How is the celebration of the Eucharist more than an ordinary memorial?
The actual sacrifice of Christ is re-presented in the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
How is the Mass related to the New Covenant?
The New Covenant, the saving and redemptive action of Christ, is proclaimed at each Mass.
Many non-Catholics hold that when Jesus told the Apostles at the Last Supper to “do this in memory of me,” he meant it to be a simple recollection of that event.
Do a focused reading of CCC 1363 (p. 83) using the following question:
How did the Old Testament understand “memorial?
What did Christ do with the tradition of the Jewish Passover?
He embraced it and transformed it into something new as part of his perfecting of the Old Law.
How did Melchizedek foreshadow the Mass?
The mysterious Priest/King Melchizedek offered a sacrifice of bread and wine with Abram in thanksgiving for Abram’s defeat of four kings.
What are the four requirements of a sacrifice in the Old Testament and how is each fulfilled in the Eucharist?
(1) In the Old Testament, a sacrifice is offered by a priest. In the Mass, Christ, the eternal High Priest, offers the sacrifice through the ministry of the human priest.
(2) In the Old Testament, the victim is an unblemished male. The victim of the Eucharistic sacrifice is Christ himself who is sinless.
(3) In the Old Testament, the sacrifice is offered in remission for sin. In the Eucharist, the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary for our sins is re-presented.
(4) In the Old Testament, the sacrifice is destroyed in some manner to signify that the offering is not for our own use but is intended for God. On Calvary, Christ’s Body was broken. Though Christ is now in his Resurrected form, this same victim is present on our altar at Mass. He is the offering we make to the Father.
Why did the priests in the Old Testament consume the burnt offering?
It was required by the Mosaic Law and united the priests to the sacrifice.
How do we become united to the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross?
By consuming the Eucharist in the reception of Holy Communion.
Extension: This is a mark of the common priesthood of the faithful: we are priests because we consume the sacrifice.
A Think/Pair/Share on the following question:
How do the bread and wine offered in the Eucharist symbolize the one Body of Christ?
THE NEW COVENANT SACRIFICE
Why were the sacrifices of the Old Testament imperfect?
They had to be offered again and again.
Why is Christ’s sacrifice perfect?
It is eternal, it has infinite value, its benefits encompass all human history, it repairs the damage caused by all the sins of the world, and it contains enough grace for every person until the end of time.
How did the Didache in the first century understand the Mass as a sacrifice?
The author of the Didache exhorted Christians to confess their sins and reconcile with their neighbors before coming together so that their “sacrifice may be pure.”
THE NEW COVENANT SACRIFICE
What does it mean to say that the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one and the same?
It means that each Mass, including the Last Supper, renews, re-presents, or reenacts Christ’s offering of himself to the Father on Calvary.
What is the difference between a Mass―including the Mass of the Last Supper―and the Cross?
In his Passion, Christ offered his Body in a physical, bloody manner. In the Eucharist, he offers his Body and Blood in a sacramental, unbloody manner, under the appearances of bread and wine.
Perform a focused reading of the paragraph beginning, “The sacrifice of the Mass,” using the following question:
An untold number of Masses have been offered since the Last Supper, and the Mass is now offered countless times each day all over the world. Has Christ been re-crucified that many times?
How do we share in Christ’s priesthood in the Eucharist?
We can offer up in the Mass our joys, sufferings, work, anxieties, relationships, and ourselves, which are transformed and found acceptable to God the Father.
THE CELEBRATION OF THE MASS IN THE EARLY CHURCH
How did the first Christians worship?
Being Jews who believed Christ was the promised Messiah, they went to the Temple or local synagogue on the Sabbath (Saturday) and then met privately on the first day of the week (Sunday) for the “breaking of the bread,” or the Eucharist.
What do these two events correspond to in today’s Mass?
The Sabbath worship conforms to the Liturgy of the Word and the Sunday worship conforms to the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
THE CELEBRATION OF THE MASS IN THE EARLY CHURCH
When the first Christians met, why did they tell stories about Christ instead of read the Gospels aloud?
Because none of the New Testament books had been written. Only Oral Tradition about Christ existed.
Why did Saturday worship end for the early Christians?
Because the Jewish Christians were eventually expelled from the Temple and synagogues and because of the large influx of gentile Christians who had no association with Jewish worship, the two parts of Christian worship became united in one act of worship on Sunday, the day of Christ’s Resurrection. Extension: The destruction of the Temple and of the nation of Israel by the Romans also contributed to the separation of Christians from their Jewish roots.
The writings of Justin Martyr give us detailed information regarding the celebration of the Liturgy of the Mass.
Identify the various parts of the today’s Mass in The First Apology (p. 87).
Write a paragraph which explains the relationship between what Christ did on the Cross, what he did at the Last Supper, and what he does at each subsequent Mass.
Questions: 8-12; 33-36.
Central to the Old and New Testaments, and something people in the ancient world understood, was that sacrifices had to be made for sins, that blood had to be shed to make up for the evil men do.
Free write for five minutes trying to explain this idea to modern young people.
Overviewof the structure of the Mass as presented in this lesson, especially the two major divisions of the liturgies of the Word and of the Eucharist.
What should we do before Mass?
What are the major divisions of the Mass?
What is the Eastern rite liturgy like?
It is important to personally prepare for Mass.
The Mass consists of two parts, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
The Eastern rite Divine Liturgy and the Latin rite Liturgy of the Mass are in essentials the same.
Why are arriving a little early, making the Sign of the Cross with Holy Water, genuflecting, and praying for a few minutes good ways to prepare for Mass?
Arriving early gives one time to become recollected and to pray. Making the Sign of the Cross with Holy Water is a way of honoring the Blessed Trinity, recalling our Baptism, and asking for purity. Genuflecting in the direction of the Tabernacle silently acknowledges the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Praying helps us focus on what is to come.
Why does the priest kiss the altar after he enters the sanctuary?
The priest kisses the altar because this is where the Sacrifice of Christ will be renewed. Extension: It is, in a sense, kissing the Cross of Christ or kissing Christ himself.
How would the author of the Didache recognize the Penitential Rite of today’s Mass (p. 85)?
In the Penitential Rite we ask God to forgive our sins and failures, just as the author of the Didache advised the early Christians to “confess your sins so that your sacrifice may be pure.”
What are the sources of the readings in the Mass?
They are taken from the Old Testament, the Psalms, the New Testament Epistles, and finally from one of the Gospels.
How are the readings different for Sunday and weekday Masses?
The Sunday Masses are on a three-year cycle and daily Masses are on a two-year cycle.
Extension: One of the reforms of the liturgy from the Second Vatican Council was to greatly expand the variety of Biblical readings used in the Mass, so the faithful would have a much wider contact with the Scriptures.
Why was the Liturgy of the Word once also known as the Mass of the Catechumens?
Because those who were not baptized, i.e., catechumens, were dismissed (L. mittere, the source of the word mass) before the Liturgy of the Eucharist began.
A Think/Pair/Share on the following question:
What is the most important part of the Eucharistic Prayer and why?
A Think/Pair/Share on the following question:
What do you think is the most important part of the Communion Rite for the faithful and why?
Based on the sidebar, “BYZANTINE RITE LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST,” work with a partner to identify the most striking contrasts you notice between the Eastern rite Liturgy and the Latin rite.
Write a paragraph summarizing the structure of the Mass.
Free write for a few minutes on the section of the Mass that you consider the most important with the reason why.
How to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament:
Enter silently out of respect for the Eucharist;
Use holy water;
Spend a few moments in silent or public prayer while kneeling; and
Genuflect and leave silently.
Why should we prepare well for and have the proper dispositions toward the Eucharist?
What are some of the devotions to the Blessed Sacrament outside the Mass?
Who is the proper minister of the Eucharist?
What is koinonia?
We should internally and externally prepare for Mass and have the proper dispositions in approaching in order to benefit from its infinite riches.
Devotion to the Eucharist outside of Mass, such as in Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, manifest love for the Real Presence of Christ.
The proper minister of the Eucharist is the bishop or priest.
Koinonia, or communion, is our deep relationship with Christ and the Church.
Why might it be a good idea to look over the readings for the day before Mass?
The Mass readings are specially chosen so they relate to the Mass of the day and to each other.
Why does it make sense to receive the Eucharist every day if possible?
Because the Eucharist is the summit of the Christian life and each reception brings us closer to Christ.
In the Mass, how do we participate with both our bodies and our souls?
Extension: We take part in physical signs, for example, consuming Communion, and perform physical actions, such as standing, sitting, and kneeling. We use our intellects in listening to the readings and the homily, trying to understand them. We use our wills, trying to keep distractions to a minimum and making acts of faith, hope, and love.
Free write on the following question:
Of the seven considerations for internal preparation for Mass listed in the student text (pp. 93-94), which one do you consider personally the most helpful and why?
Free write on which of the six points of external participation you find the most challenging to carry out and why. Write about how you could improve in this regard.
DEVOTIONS OUTSIDE OF MASS
How did the practice of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament outside of the Mass develop?
In the early Church, some of the Eucharist was reserved to bring to those who could not attend Mass, such as the sick. Because Christians recognized Christ was really present in the reserved species, a number of Eucharistic devotions developed.
Complete the following graphic to organize your knowledge of Eucharistic Devotions outside Mass.
THE MINISTERIAL PRIESTHOOD
Who is the minister of the Sacrament of the Eucharist?
A bishop or priest.
Where does the bishop or priest get the power to change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ?
When the bishop or priest says the words of consecration, it is Christ the eternal high priest who changes the substances of the bread and wine into his substance.
Who are the ordinary ministers of distributing Holy Communion?
Bishops, priests, and deacons.
Who are extraordinary ministers of distributing Holy Communion?
If need exists, lay persons may be appointed to distribute Communion to those present at the Mass or to those who cannot attend Mass because of infirmity or old age.
A SOURCE OF UNITY IN CHRIST
How is the unity of the faithful as the Body of Christ created?
It is established in Baptism and fully expressed in the Eucharist.
What did the Greek word koinonia mean at the time of Christ?
It meant a joint venture, such as a business partnership, in which the owners worked together for a common good.
What did the New Testament writers use koinonia to refer to?
The relationship between the members of the Church.
What two dimensions exist for the shared owner of an undertaking?
Each owner has a personal stake in the enterprise and a relationship and shared interest with the other owners.
What is the vertical dimension of koinonia?
Each Christian has a personal, or vertical, relationship with Christ and is responsible for responding to Christ’s will for him or her.
Extension: The relationship is vertical because one member is above the other in a hierarchical relationship, i.e., Christ is our head.
What is the horizontal dimension of kiononia?
Every Christian has a shared, or horizontal, relationship with the other members of the Christian community with whom they share a common goal: love for others.
Extension: This relationship is horizontal, because all the members are essentially equal.
How does the Eucharist strengthen both dimensions of koinonia?
In the Eucharist, a person receives individual graces from Christ, which strengthen his or her relationship with God. He or she is also more firmly united to the other members of the Church.
A Think/Pair/Write/Share on the following question based on On the Way to Jesus Christ (p. 96):
What is Pope Benedict XVI’s understanding of St. Paul’s statement that the Eucharist is a participation in Christ?
Why is it good to receive the Eucharist often, even daily?
Because the Eucharist offers us infinite graces.
Why should we receive Communion at every Mass we attend, assuming we are sufficiently prepared and in a state of grace?
Because it fulfills the call to become one body in Christ.
Extension: Prior to the 1900’s, there were times when people infrequently received the Eucharist out of a misguided sense of unworthiness related to the Jansenist heresy.
How often does the Church require her members to receive Communion?
At least once per year, during the period from Ash Wednesday to Trinity Sunday.
What is perhaps the most important moment to receive the Eucharist?
When death is imminent.
How grave a sin is sacrilege against the Eucharist?
Because of the infinite value of the Eucharist, any act of sacrilege or disrespect against the Eucharist is a very grave sin.
What did St. Paul say about those who receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin?
He said they profane the Body and Blood of the Lord and bring judgment upon themselves.
How does one keep a good balance between going to Communion unworthily and being overly scrupulous about one’s worthiness?
Frequent Confession and regular spiritual direction.
Why is possible for every Catholic to become a saint?
Because we receive enough grace to become a saint in every Communion.
What limits the infinite graces of each Communion?
Our capacity to receive these graces.
How can we increase our disposition to receive the graces of the Eucharist?
By following the minimum requirements the Church sets, preparing internally and externally for each Mass, and cooperating with the graces God gives us by conforming our wills to his.
Write a paragraphthat explains the idea of koinonia as it describes the relationship between the members of the Body of Christ.
Write a letter to an imaginary second grader giving advice on how best to prepare for his or her First Communion.