The Eucharist – Ecclesia De Eucharistia

Third Sunday of Easter – April 30, 2017

By Father Thomas McCabe

Who is the most humble person you know?  Maybe it is a mom who cleans the bathroom for the family and is never thanked, or a dad who goes to an unrewarding job to provide for his family, or a soldier who willingly gives his all for his country and the people he loves.

These humble people find their perfect model of humility in Jesus Christ and his Mother, Mary.  Jesus calls us to the humility that brings service and life to others through the holy sacrifice of his Body and Blood in the Eucharist.  The following is a summary of Pope St. John

Paul II’s encyclical letter, Ecclesia De Eucharistia – The Church of the Eucharist.

In Chapter I, “The Mystery of Faith”, we learn that Jesus is the Eucharist, the center of our faith; because he has given himself and all that he has done in the celebration of the Eucharist.  We are called to give ourselves completely to Jesus by professing and living the totality of our Catholic faith.

In Chapter II, “The Eucharist Builds the Church”, we learn that all who partake of Christ are built up in faith, hope and love, because it is the sign of unity with Jesus and everything he has taught us through his Church.

Chapter III, “The Apostolicity of the Eucharist and of the Church”, refers to the fact that Jesus entrusted the   Eucharist to the Apostles, “Do this in memory of me,” and sent the Holy Spirit upon them to carry out their apostolic mission to the Church of which she “continues to be taught, sanctified and guided by the Apostles until Christ’s return, through their successors in pastoral office: the college of Bishops assisted by priests, in union with the Successor of Peter, the Church’s supreme pastor.”

Chapter IV, “The Eucharist and Ecclesial Communion” outlines Christ’s discipline of being visibly in union with the Catholic Church as well as spiritually through charity in order to receive the Eucharist.  That is to say, we must be free of any contrary belief, serious sin and have fasted one hour from any food, gum and drink (except water and medicine) before receiving Holy Communion.

Chapter V, “The Dignity of the Eucharistic Celebration”, is an account of the simplicity and solemnity of Jesus’ self-gift to us in the Eucharist.  “The Eucharistic Banquet is truly a ‘sacred’ banquet, in which the simplicity of the signs conceals the unfathomable holiness of God.”  This truth has inspired authentic art and a Christian culture of beauty of which the shepherds of the Church must continue to guide, especially with regard to the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  “Liturgy is never anyone’s private property, be it of the celebrant or of the community in which the mysteries are celebrated.”  We humbly receive what           Christ has won for us by his death and resurrection.

Chapter VI, “At the School of Mary, ‘Woman of the Eucharist’” completes this beautiful letter because she is the perfect disciple of Christ. God chose Mary who perfectly followed God’s plan and so received Christ as the first tabernacle! gave him back to God, and was at the foot of the cross offering herself up to God from whom eternal love and wisdom, beauty and happiness flow.

May we be like that humble disciple, Mary, in worshipping and adoring Jesus Christ who is God Incarnate in the living and holy Eucharist.  Have a Blessed Easter Season!

Fr. Thomas McCabe

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