Monthly Reflections on the Eucharist

Each month, learn about the Eucharist in bite-sized reflections, based on the the outstanding document from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Mystery of Eucharist in the Life of the Church.

Eucharistic Reflection | June 2023

FROM THE MYSTERY OF THE EUCHARIST IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH 

Food for the Journey

56. Pope Benedict XVI reminded us that the “love that we celebrate in the sacrament is not something we can keep to ourselves. By its very nature it demands to be shared with all.”80 We are not the only ones in need of the love that Christ has shown us. We are called to help the rest of the world experience it. “What the world needs is God’s love; it needs to encounter Christ and to believe in him. The Eucharist is thus the source and summit not only of the Church’s life, but also of her mission.”81 Jesus is sent by the Father for the salvation of the world. At the very end of the celebration of the Eucharist, we who have received the Body and Blood of Christ and have been incorporated more profoundly into his Mystical Body are likewise sent out to proclaim the Good News for the salvation of the world: “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” 

57. Pope Francis has insisted that evangelization—spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ— is a task that belongs to every member of the Church, not just a few specialists:  

All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization, and it would be insufficient to envisage a plan of evangelization to be carried out by professionals while the rest of the faithful would simply be passive recipients. The new evangelization calls for personal involvement on the part of each of the baptized.82 

He exhorts us all to become missionary disciples: “Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are ‘disciples’ and ‘missionaries,’ but rather that we are always ‘missionary disciples.’”83 What is essential is not that one have advanced training, but rather that one discover through Christ the love that God has for us and that one desire to lead others to that same joyful discovery: “[A]nyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love.”84 All that is needed is for one who has known that love—the love that is displayed most preeminently in the Eucharist—to tell other people about it.  

All of us are called to offer others an explicit witness to the saving love of the Lord, who despite our imperfections offers us his closeness, his word and his strength, and gives meaning to our lives. In your heart you know that it is not the same to live without him; what you have come to realize, what has helped you to live and given you hope, is what you also need to communicate to others.85 

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58. We have offered these reflections on the Eucharistic faith and practice of the Church as a starting point. There is much more that could be said, but what is most important is that we enter more deeply by faith and love into this great Mystery of Mysteries. Let us all ask the Lord to call us into a time of Eucharistic renewal, a time of prayer and reflection, of acts of charity and sincere repentance. The Lord is with us in the Eucharistic Mystery celebrated in our parishes and missions, in our beautiful cathedrals and in our poorest chapels. He is present and he draws near to us, so that we can draw nearer to him. The Lord is generous to us with his grace; and so we, by his grace, should always humbly ask him to give us what we need. 

59. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Risen Christ says to us, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water (Rev 21:6). Brothers and sisters, let us thirst for the Lord who first suffered thirst for us (Jn 19:28). Let us adore Jesus who ever remains with us, on all the altars of the world, and lead others to share in our joy!

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80 Pope Benedict XVI,