The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church — Part I

Our Bishop Oscar Cantú along with the Bishops and dioceses across the United States are calling for a national three-year Eucharistic Revival, with devotion and belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Bishop Cantú is inviting all the faithful to be a part of this revival by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist and being sent out in mission for the life of the world. As we embark on this three-year Eucharistic Revival, I would like to offer reflections on “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church,” a document that was released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in November 2021. This week, I will only focus on the first major part of the document, namely, Christ’s gift of Himself in the Eucharist.

“The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church” begins by pointing out Christ’s promise to always be with us (Cf. Mt 28:20). The U.S Bishops remind us that Jesus “accompanies us in many ways, but none as profound as when we encounter him in the Eucharist.” (§ 5) The Eucharist is a Gift, the Gift of Christ Himself. Each Mass is “the representation of Christ’s unique sacrifice on the Cross.” (§ 8) In other words, the Eucharist “makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Savior.” Sin had alienated us from God, wounded our nature, and injured human solidarity. (§ 11) By dying on the Cross for us, Jesus has canceled the sin of the world with His Blood. In Christ, “what was lost by sin has been restored and renewed even more wondrously by grace.” (§ 12)

The U.S. Bishops affirm that the sacrifice of Christ Himself “was efficacious and salvific because of the supreme love with which he shed his blood, the price of our salvation…His blood, shed for us, is the eternal sign of that love.” (§ 14) The Eucharist, they continue, “is not another sacrifice, but the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ by which we are reconciled to the Father. It is the way by which we are drawn into Jesus’ perfect offering of love.” (Ibid.) By instituting the Eucharist, “Christ has indicated the forms under which His self-offering would be sacramentally present to us until the end of time.” (§ 13)

The word Eucharist literally means ‘Thanksgiving.” As we take part in the Eucharist this week, let us give thanks to God for all His gifts – the greatest of these being our
salvation through Jesus.

Fr. Robain