For many people the Eucharist is very boring. Sitting in a hard seat for 1 maybe 2 hours listening to an old guy speak a cryptic language they don’t understand. Stand up. Sit Down. Sing songs which don’t seem cool or contemporary. It is like Jesus who goes into the desert for 40 days. Only about 10% of Christians in Australia regularly go to church regularly. Maybe thinking – “Mass is like I am in the desert. I don’t have my ipad, I don’t have my iphone, I don’t have my games”. Maybe that is the point…or maybe....there is something more.
Matt Maher - What does it mean to remember?
Francis Chan – Is the Eucharist just a symbol?
Bishop Barron on Catholics Misunderstanding the Eucharist
From John’s Gospel
Jesus said to them, 'Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.' John 6:53-56
Song – Remembrance
Sacrament: A Bible Story for Children
Unlike the Roman Catholics, the Church of England do not think that the wine and the bread actually turn into the blood and the flesh of Jesus. For the Church of England members, the bread and wine are symbolizing the blood and flesh of Jesus.
Is Eucharist Just a symbol?
A Sacrament is more than a symbol that reminds people of something, it is a special action that Christians believe is a vehicle or channel for God’s presence, and by taking part in it they feel closer to him.
What is the real Presence?
Why is the Eucharist important?
For many Christians the Eucharist is the most important act of worship. The word Eucharist comes from a Greek word that means ‘thanksgiving’. The Eucharist remembers Jesus’ last supper as recorded in the Gospels. The final meal was the celebration of the Jewish Passover or feast of the Unleavened bread. It is known under many different names:
Breaking of Bread Eucharist Lord’s supper Mass (title used by Roman Catholics) Divine liturgy (Eastern Orthodox) Holy Communion (communion means ’common sharing.’
During the service those attending and confirmed all share in the sacraments - the bread and the wine. This is a reminder to Christians of the Last Supper, when Jesus ate with his disciples for the last time, before he was arrested and put to death. Christians share bread and wine as Jesus did with the disciples and through this they feel part of the last supper. Christians believe that Jesus is present with them when they take part in the sacraments, just as he was with the disciples. Therefore God is revealing himself through the sacraments, and for many Christians it is like being filled with or receiving a part of God.
Reflect on the following images for 30 seconds in silence.
Roman Catholic Christians celebrate the Eucharist in the liturgical act called the Mass. The word Mass comes from the Latin missa ('sent'). It was taken from the formula for dismissing the congregation: Ite missa est ('Go, the Eucharist has been sent forth') referring to the ancient custom of sending consecrated bread from the bishop's Mass to the sick and to the other churches.
The Mass contains two parts: the liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Liturgy of the Word is a copy of the Jewish synagogue service of the first century: readings from Scripture followed by responses from the congregation often from the Book of Psalms. The Liturgy of the Eucharist is a reenactment of the Last Supper. A celebrant does what Christ did: take bread and wine and say the same words Christ said and then share the now consecrated bread and wine with the congregation.
Roman Catholics believe that the bread and wine become the physical Body and Blood of Jesus Christ - this is called transubstantiation.
Comments from Christians about the Eucharist
‘In communion I take the bread as a symbol of God giving strength to me. It strengthens me for all the things I Have to do during the week.’
‘When the priest breaks the loaf and pours the wine it’s as if the meal in the upper room was happening now and Jesus is telling me how much he loves us, enough to die for us.’
The Story of the Holy Grail or Chalice, is the idea that the cup from the last supper was taken by one of the Crusaders (maybe a Knights Templar) and has been hidden by them. Some people believe it has found its place of rest in France. Others say it is just a romantic myth.
In your exercise book answer the Following Questions Using Full Sentences.
1. When Christians share Holy Communion whichevents are they remembering and what are theysharing in?
2. What is a sacrament and how does the sacramentof Holy Communion help Christians in their everydaylives and decision making?
3. What was the Holy Grail & which Country is said tobe its resting place? Are there other unusual stories associated with the Eucharist?
4. What makes the Eucharist super-natural?
5. What did Jesus actually say to the disciples at thelast supper and what is used at Holy Communion to represent these today?
6. Imagine you were at the Last Supper - describe the scene and your emotions as the cup and the bread are passed around.
Dear God, Pour into me your presence. Pour into me your words beyond words. Pour into me your love. May I experience you far deeper than I have ever before. Peirce my heart like your heart is pierce. May I become your hands, heart, feet and mind As I eat you May I change into you. Wounded. Not perfect. But with Love. Amen.
Time to Go to Mass
When you go to mass next time, Don’t just sit there. Realise the love of God in the church. Realise the presence of God in the church. As you wait, Sit in silence and allow Jesus to touch your heart. As the mass prayers are said, Repeat the words said by the priest in your heart. As the music plays, Sing with your heart as it speaks to God. During Eucharist sit still and be in the presence of Jesus. Absorb his presence. Be changed. Be renewed. Allow God to refresh you with God’s presence.
Then maybe...just maybe...you have been moving through the desert for 40 years. But realise, for the Jews....the desert was not always there. There was the promised land....A land that they had not seen. Maybe your own life reflects their journey.