As Catholics, we must understand the centrality of the Eucharist to our faith.
It is not enough that we simply go to Mass and receive without thought or reason as how we approach this Most Blessed Sacrament. It is dire that we understand fully what we are participating in rather than what we are simply eating.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church rightly says, the Eucharist is the Summit and Source of the Christian life.
Everything flows from and to this Blessed Sacrament as we believe that Jesus is truly and substantially present in the Holy Eucharist, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
This is why we must understand specific things about Holy Communion so that we may approach Him in a state of grace.
What is the Eucharist?
As stated, the Eucharist is Jesus made truly present on the Alter in the Catholic Mass by a Catholic Priest reciting the words of Transubstantiation recitedat the Last Supper (Mt 26:26-28).
It is during this holy act and will of Christ working through the Catholic priest that enables Him the authority that was passed down by the Apostles themselves from Christ to confect this Sacrament.
It is then that the bread and wine, though not physically changed, is indeed changed in substance to be therefore the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. This of course is granted to us by faith in Holy Mother Church as Christ revealed it to be so.
How is one to receive Holy Communion properly?
As mentioned previously, it is not enough that we ignorantly rise from the pews to receive Jesus without first examining ourselves first.
St. Paul tells us this very thing lest we find ourselves committing a sacrilege (1 Cor. 11:26-29). Therefore, if you have committed mortal sin, you must first participate in the loving embrace of the Sacrament of Penance before you may partake in the Flesh and Blood of Our Lord Jesus.
Realizing the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is key in understanding the necessity of cleansing oneself to receive Him in holiness.
For if this were not so, why then does the Church teach that the Blessed Virgin Mary was without sin so that she could bare Jesus who is God and was also sinnless? Therefore, pray diligently that you may receive the graces necessary to seek a life in a state of grace for His sake!
New Fulfills the Old
In the Old Testament, we find the Prophet Moses in Egypt as the plagues struck the land because of the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart.
One of one those plagues was the spirit of death come to take all the first born in Egypt. For protection, God instructed Moses on what he must do. He was to take an unblemished male lamb, sacrifice it, bleed the lamb and smear the blood on the door posts of those that believed in God and his word.
They were also told to cook and eat the flesh of the lamb and waste none of it. By doing so, the spirit of death would pass over them.Hence the Jewish feast of Passover! But how does this relate to Holy Communion? Fast forward to the New Testament where John the Baptist was baptizing in the Jordan river and who did he see but Jesus coming to him.
Do you remember what he called him? He said, “Behold, the lamb of God!” Now, to you and I, that just sounds cryptic or mysterious in such a way that we would need further information to understand. But not to the Jews! They knew exactly what this term meant to them.
They knew that the term “Lamb of God” came from the feast of the Passover where the male lamb was offered up as a sacrifice and in return be granted life. But this term also meant that the flesh (and blood) was to be consumed in order to truly participate in the holy ritual of the “Passover” with the “Lamb of God”.
So how is it that we could eat His flesh and drink His blood? Go figure, this is also what was asked of Him when he had many disciples when Jesus said to them in the Gospel according to John Chapter 6:54-59.