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10 C - Meaning and Significance of the Eucharist
Transcript of 10 C - Meaning and Significance of the Eucharist
10 C - Meaning and
Significance of the
Friendship, support and forgiveness are three key factors that Mrs Pope gets out of going to Church. They all help with spiritual growth and the community being as one is great. "It gives me joy." "It helps to start the week on a lighter note and feeling cleansed. You can go to Church for forgiveness, but you can also go to celebrate and feel cleansed for the coming week. "It can be relaxing and helps start the week feeling like a better person."
What do you get out of going to Church?
I interviewed Mrs Pope and Ms McGahern.
I found they all had quite a lot in common about why they go to church.
I would like to say Thank You to them for giving me good ideas and answers and for giving up part of their time to help me.
Who did I interview?
One of the reasons that Mrs Pope goes to church is to be part of the community. She said "I like to catch up with friends and hear what they are doing." By celebrating Jesus together, is a good time to catch up and it relates back to the Last Supper, when all the apostles were together and they were talking about what they had done.
Why would you go to Church?
Task One - Eucharist Diamond
The Eucharist as a Meal of Remembrance
The Eucharist as Bread of Life
By Julia Froeling, 10K 2014
Meaning and Significance
The Eucharist as a Meal of Remembrance is about the story of Moses and the Passover in the Old testament and the story of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. In the Old testament the Jews believed that the Messiah would bring a new deliverance to the kingdom of God, away from slavery and sin, a new temple where God dwells. They were looking for the new Promised Land as well as a new Garden of Eden - where Adam and Eve sinned for the first time in Genesis. They were also looking for a new, greater passover. We have meals not only because we need to eat to live but also because food brings people together. This is what the meal aspect of the Eucharist means. The Passover story begins with the Pharaoh of Egypt who commands all of the young Jewish boys to be thrown into the Nile. Moses's mother hid him until he was three months old and then placed him in a basket into the Nile. Moses was saved by the Pharaoh's own daughter. Moses had to flee for his life a while later after speaking of God - where he left to Midian. Then God told him to go back and save his people. The beginning is the Passover Story, when Moses frees the Jews from Egypt. but the Pharaoh refuses many times. Then ten plagues were performed and finally they were freed. The tenth plague in the Passover story was the worst.
At the OLD Passover the NEW is instituted. In the Old Passover, the blood of the lamb protected the Jews from death and in the New Passover, Jesus protects us from death. This is also why the church and bible talk about Jesus as the lamb of God, it goes right back to the Passover story, which explains many stories in the New Testament. In the new passover we still have everything we need. We have blood and body of Jesus Christ represented in Bread and Wine. We go back and be re-present in Jesus's life. Jesus becomes the new Moses who saves us from Death and Sin. At the last supper there are the twelve disciples. They represent the twelve tribes of Israel. Everyone is represented at the meal with a number of 12. 12 is a number of wholeness - hours, months and twelve disciples and tribes.
Where the blood is on the wood of the doors, the blood is on the wood of the cross so it is a new entrance way. Eating the passover lamb meant life. In the Eucharist we come together to “receive the life that was given for us.” 1 Corinthians 5. This talks about the significance of blood once again.
This is a table of some of the similarities and differences between the NEW and OLD Passover.
Our fall starts with a bad meal in the Garden of Eden. God has formed his people around a sacred meal and feeds us with his life. He builds our relationship by sharing a meal.
The perfect lamb would be slaughtered by a local priest. The blood would be saved and the meat would be eaten by the family. The blood would be used to paint their doorways and then the angel would Pass Over their hearts, and the sons would not die. This is when the significance of blood is explained. Blood was protecting the first born sons from the last plagues because blood means life. The Jews would never eat of drink anything that had blood in it because blood represented life. Without blood, a woman couldn't have children. When Jesus is killed on the cross, blood is on his body- he gives up his body and blood for us to live. For example, in John 6, Jesus states "Then Jesus said to them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:53-54)" Here, Jesus was speaking symbolically, not asking us to eat physical flesh or blood but to receive his life - His flesh and blood to feed our souls.
The Eucharist as Thanksgiving
I am thankful for many things; shelter, friends, family, clean water, food, life, Jesus, God, love, sense, forgiveness, sacrifices, happiness, trinity, freedom, beauty, laughter and many more. We can be very unthankful sometimes and take everything for granted. At every Eucharist, we go back to the cross and thank Jesus. He has given us eternal life and a perfect communion. Jesus put us at the center of the universe to share in his divine life. We broke the universe God gave us through sin. The Eucharist as thanksgiving is the story of a father who would bring us back to himself by fixing the sin problem and becoming one of us. We go back to the cross just like the Jews went back to the passover to be re-present and remember our redemption from the fall.
When St Augustine says “For what you see is simply bread and a cup - this is the information your eyes report. But your faith demands far subtler insight: the bread is Christ's Body, the cup is Christ's blood.” He is talking about saying thanks to the Lord. We can thank God through prayer, Church, singing, worshiping, receiving the Eucharist and sacrificing our time for him. To build our relationship with God and say thanks to him we need to prioritise. Eucharist means Thanksgiving.
The idea of the Eucharist being the Bread of Life comes from him saying “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me never goes hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” - John 6. This means that he is saying he is forever a source of life to us and will feed our soul as long as we believe in him.
Jesus says this after he has just fed 5000 people and walked on water so it was a massive idea to take in. Many did not believe him. He also says: “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” He is saying that he spreads the word of his Father and that he is the true Son of God.
"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
The story of Manna starts with "The layer of dew had risen, and behold, on the surface of the desert were thin flakes. It was as fine as frost on the other ground. The Sons of Israel saw it and said to one another “What is it?” for they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “This is the bread that God is giving you to eat. They gathered it each morning, apart from on the Sabbath Day and each man according to what he would eat. When the sun became hot, it melted. The House of Israel named it Manna. It was like white coriander seed and it tasted like wafers in honey." The Jews had never seen this bread before and they would never see it again after they entered the Promise Land. They thought the Promise Land was the land of milk and honey which is significant because the Manna tasted like honey so it was a foreshadow of the Promise Land. Manna is a big mystery because the Israelites were in the desert for more than 40 years. There was no rain, there were no flowers or water or grass for milk and cows so now bees for honey. Milk and honey was a metaphor for prosperity. In the Old Covenant, there was Manna, Aaron's Staff and the Ten Commandments. Now we have Jesus (Manna) as the Eucharist, Jesus as Aaron (our savior and new leader) and God's Law. The manna was a mystery to the Jews that reminds them of God’s promise.
“But here is the bread that comes down from heaven which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven, if anyone eats this bread, he will live forever.”
Jesus is saying He is the new Manna.
The Eucharist is a foretaste for Heaven - the New Promise Land.
“My flesh is food” is significant because it is preparing them for the new and Manna was the Eucharist before Jesus died because you could receive it everyday.
Gathering Manna each Morning
Jesus is present as the Bread of Life because he is the Body and Blood. This is significant because he is asking us to eat him which is a weird idea. Manna refers back to the Old Testament and He uses this to lead into the New Testament. When we receive the Eucharist we receive it as his Body and Blood which he has given up for us.
The Eucharist as The Presence of Christ
Jesus is present in many ways through the Eucharist. He is with us when we read the word of the bible, as the priest when he talks to us in Persona Christi, in the bread and wine and in the people.
We say Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. He is with us through Transubstantiation - a change that happens on an imperceptible level. Jesus is the new bread of the presences because the old foreshadows the new.
In the Old Testament, there was Showbread instead of the body and blood of Christ. It was an offering to God and was on a special table called the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was in the part of the temple called the Holy of Holies, were only the High Priest were allowed once a year. The Holy of Holies is in the heart of the temple, which the Jews believed were the most important so they were closer to Christ and God. On the tabernacle there were three things - Showbread the arc of the Covenants and the Menorah lamp stand.
The old foreshadows the new. This means that all the symbols on the Tabernacle that are no longer in the new testament and have been replaced by something. In the desert, God was in a tent. He moved in a cloud per day and a pillar of fire by night. The temple and now the Church were laid out just like his tent, so he would be with them. This was significant because when the tent went away in the Promise Land, the temple replaced it. On the Tabernacle, the Showbread, Arc of the Covenant and the Menorah Lamp are gone and they are replaced by the Mystery of the Trinity- The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Arc of the Covenant is The Father (God), the Son is the Showbread which is now the Body and Blood of Christ and the Holy Spirit is the Menorah Light.
We celebrate the Eucharist at the foot of the cross where we become re-present. God is with us through many ways. When Jesus dies on the cross, all creation has a fit. There is an earthquake and the curtain, which covered the Holy of Holies rips from top to bottom. This is significant because God was ripping the curtain. He was saying "you are no longer on the outside, you can come in. My Son has made a way for you." He is saying that the barrier between him and mankind had been broken. The Tabernacle was exposed. Jesus says that he will destroy and rebuild the temple before he dies. He does not mean physically, but spiritually. He had destroyed the barrier between God and mankind but rebuilt it when he changes into bread and wine. The old is gone, the new is here. The tabernacle is gone and Jesus is the new. The new is the mini tabernacle which is where the bread is kept. Jesus’s body is kept here. Jesus is truly present when we celebrate the Eucharist. This is also why they call Church the House of God.
We now have a mini taberacle with a curtain with the Bread and Wine in it which is changed through Transubstantiation to the Body and Blood of Christ so that he is truly with us.
Jesus also saves us from death. This is still shown today in the Ambulance Sign. It shows he is the healer because in the desert there was a snake plague and God told him to put a snake onto his staff and when the people looked at the snake they were cured of the poison. The snake in the Old Testament is put up on the stick as symbolic as saving. Just like Jesus is on the cross/stick and Satan/ snake/ death is defeated on the cross. It is the symbol that saves.
When Jesus rises he defeated death as death dies with him and when he rises everything comes new.
When we celebrate the Eucharist we are going back to the cross. To be re-present with Jesus.
Father Barron also expresses Jesus being present through the power of words. He says that words can change reality like God did in Genesis when he said "Let there be life" and there was life. God wasn't being very specific but his words constitute reality. Jesus is the word of becoming flesh. When he speaks, things change. Father Barron also says that we are what we eat. He also says that the real presence of Christ is in his remains. We eat Jesus' body and blood so we become re-present. In the new covenant, the Church replaces Jesus and gives himself to us in the Eucharist.
The Tabernacle curtain ripping when Jesus dies.
Light of Heaven shining when Jesus Dies
Miracle of Siena
Another significant story about the Eucharist is the Miracle of Siena, Italy 1730.
It was few days before the Assumption of Mary and many masses had been planned so that everyone could celebrate the Eucharist.
By 1730, Siena was no longer a great city of devotion. It was a place where religious feast days were for entertainment. The meaning and religious value of the feasts had been lost. People still went to church but by 1730, Siena needed a Eucharistic Miracle to show the people of God’s presence and significance.
On the night of August 14th, robbers entered the Basilica of Saint Francis which is located at the extreme northern part of the city. They opened the tabernacle to steal the golden ciborium that contained the consecrated hosts. They took everything- the hosts and the ciborium.
No one knew about the crime until the next morning, when priests went into church to celebrate the Mass of the Assumption. The entire town began to look for the lost hosts. The Archbishop also did public prayers. Three days later, whilst a man was praying, he noticed there was something white inside the box for the poor. This white thing had a round shape and seemed to light up. He told the Archbishop and sent one of his assistants to that church.
The Archbishop opened the box and found many hosts. It was exactly the amount that had been lost. Those three days seemed like the days between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. This is significant because many thought Christ was lost after the Crucifixion but then he Resurrected.
They gathered all of the hosts and cleaned them with care. The hosts were not distributed afterwards. One of the reasons for this may be that the Franciscans wanted to leave the hosts to deteriorate on their own , which would be the end of everything. However, that never happened because there is no end to God or Jesus.
The Eucharist can be explained as many, many factors. I have explained how the Eucharist is a Meal of Remembrance, how the Eucharist is Thanksgiving, how the Eucharist is the Bread of Life and how the Eucharist is the Presence of Christ. The Miracle of Siena is also a very significant Miracle about the Eucharist.
Miracle of Siena, Italy 1730
It all starts with a bad meal and our fall which is redeemed by a good meal and the Body and Blood of Christ.
These are the plagues:
1) Aaron strikes the Nile, the waters turn to blood;
2) Swarms of frogs overrun the land;
3) Lice infest all men and beasts. Still, Pharaoh remains stubborn;
4) Hordes of wild animals invade the cities,
5) a pestilence kills the domestic animals,
6) painful boils afflict the Egyptians.
7) Fire and ice combine to descend from the skies as a devastating hail.
8) a swarm of locusts devours all the crops and greenery;
9) a thick, palpable darkness envelops the land.
and the tenth;
10) all the firstborn of Egypt are killed at the stroke of midnight of the 15th of the month of Nissan.
After the ten plagues, the Pharaoh had had enough. He told Moses to take his people. They were free - running until they reached the sea. The Pharaoh had changed him mind and they were chasing them. But the Moses split the sea and they were free once again.
The tenth plague continued for many years - every year on the same day, each family would eat the perfect lamb in order to save their first born sons.
Another significant part of the Passover in the Old Testament is that a sacrifice was made that preserved greater life. This means that the lamb was slaughtered to save a human. The Passover was the most significant thing that happened in Jewish culture,
'And when your children in every generation ask you what does this mean, you should say “It is because this is what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.” This is about God taking care of you.' They are remembering what happened. They are being re-present in the situation.
One of the first things we can be thankful for is redemption from the fall and a new creation.
The Fall is when Adam and Eve break their relationship with God by eating the fruit of the tree of Good and Evil. Jesus is sacrificed for their relationship to be healed. He sacrifices himself for many others. On the cross blood is lost which he gave up for us. (Blood = life idea)
We were called to a new Eden and a new life to re-live our life and live it without sinning. Jesus makes it possible for us to go back and re-live our life.
When we celebrate the Eucharist at Church, we go back and be re-present in the last supper when Jesus said "He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins" (Mt 26:27-28). He was revealing what was going to happen that night and gave thanks to them. When we give thanks, we give thanks to the Risen Lord who sacrificed himself for us. He was forgiving our sins which is what we do when we receive the Eucharist; we thank the Lord and he forgives us our sins. During the Eucharist, Transubstantiation occurs. The bread and wine is changed into the body and blood of Christ so we can thank him and be closer to him.
He says that you have to believe for your soul to be filled with his body and blood. Jesus is wanting people to believe in him. The idea of Eat my flesh and drink my blood means that after Transubstantiation, Jesus is there with us.
“Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.”
This teaching caused immediate division. It is a hard teaching. The idea that Jesus is comparing himself with the Bread of Life. The idea that he is saying that you have to eat me to live is a big idea.
"Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died." When the Jews get out of Egypt the very first thing they do is complain because they thought he was leading them to the Promise Land. God provides bread that comes down and they can eat. This is called Manna.
The Eucharist is the deepest life giving mystery. By receiving Jesus in the Eucharist we become one with him and he gives us life.
12 don’t leave Jesus because he spoke the words of life. 12 is an important number because it goes back to the twelve tribes and disciples who were present at the final supper.
Eucharist is a mystery and a sacrament.
We receive Jesus when we receive the Eucharist who nourishes us.
New manna in the Lords Prayer is 'give us this day our daily bread' - refers back to the Jews receiving wafers each day.
Another reason is for forgiveness and putting things right with Jesus in order to start fresh and clean each week. Mrs Pope said this helped her because you don't have anything bad in your head to think about during the week. This also helps your spiritual growth, which is another reason Mrs Pope goes to Church regularly. It helps to become a stronger person from the inside which can the shine out onto all those around you. Jesus saves us from our Fall in the Garden of Eden. He forgives us our sins and dies on the cross for us. Forgiveness is sometimes hard to ask for, but it can really help.
Mrs Pope said "I don't think the host changes physically or scientifically but it spiritually changes to the body and blood of Christ." This relates to the idea of Transubstantiation and the Eucharist being the Presence of Christ. A really good reason to go to Mass is to celebrate the Eucharist at the foot of the cross and go back and be re-present in Jesus' life.
Mrs Pope and Ms McGahern said that they do not pray to certain apostles specifically. "I don't really believe in praying to apostles to intercede. I don't think I should pray to St Francis for lost things. I just pray to Jesus." They go to Mass to pray to Jesus, not necessarily his followers.
There are many good reasons for going to church. Ms McGahern said that she stopped going to Church but now goes again because she is very proud of the Catholic Tradition because it is so old. The heritage and inheritance of Church are beautiful. She said that she is currently holding a torch and she feels she needs to pass that torch down to her daughter so she started to go to Church again. "All good Catholics return to their roots eventually." She said. This goes right back to the start of our fall; the bad interfered with the good and Jesus came to save us. The Eucharist is a sign of the heart of the Church.
The Eucharist brings people together through many ways. It is the center of the Church because it covers so many aspects. It is a sign of Jesus's presence, bread of life, thanksgiving, sacrifice, The Centre of Christian Life, A Sign of Unity and Aroha, The Promise of Eternal Life and it is a Farewell gift and memorial. Jesus is with us at Church through the bible, but mainly through the Eucharist because there are immediate bonds with Jesus.
Church is a place for forgiveness, community and celebration.
Praying to Apostles
It all starts with a bad meal...
and ends with a good meal.
To Receive the Eucharist
and Thank God and Jesus
To become closer with God
and keep our bond strong
To learn about Jesus' life and ask for forgiveness or redemption from our sins.
From my interviews, I have selected three good reasons why it is important to go to Mass.
When we go to Mass, we strengthen our relationship with God. Like Melissa said, she believes that it is important to go to Church to keep your bond strong. When we celebrate the Eucharist, Jesus is present through the priest in persona Christi, through the bible and the people. She said there is a spiritual and physical element to the relationship between God. Going to Mass is a good way to help strengthen the physical part because Jesus is present through the Eucharist and also a good way to strengthen the spiritual part because Church is a place for praying and asking for forgiveness. At Mass, we set our priorities right and one of these is to spend time with God. Mass is a good time to spend time with him and through the Eucharist, we become closer because Jesus and God are present. This goes back to the Tabernacle in the Holy of Holies, when the curtain ripped from top to bottom. God was with us when Jesus died and he broke the barrier between him and mankind. This relationship should be honored and to keep this relationship strong, Mass is important.
We also had the chance to interview Melissa.
A main reason to go to Mass is to receive the Eucharist.
"That means that you are receiving Jesus in the Eucharist because when the priest changes the bread and wine into Jesus' body. I want the Eucharist because in receiving Eucharist, I am receiving Jesus so when I receive Jesus I am more Christ like and as a Christian I live more Christ like." The priest offers the wine and bread to God.
The tiny gifts are symbolically represented through all creation because the bread and wine is like the body and blood of earth, like the soil and then the universe.
The Eucharistic prayer brings Christ truly present with us.
We are gathered through the Holy Spirit and Jesus through the Eucharist. It is important for me to go to mass and receiving Jesus is the center of my faith. I receive Jesus through bible, Eucharist, people and the priest.Transubstantiation at Church is the only place it actually becomes Jesus' body and blood. You go to Church to receive Jesus - you could go and buy bread and wine, but it would never be the real Jesus because a change on an imperceptible level hasn't happened.
It is also important to thank God and Jesus for all they have done. This happens partially when the bread and wine are offered. We thank them for our redemption from the fall and by receiving the Eucharist, we thank them when they are with us. God sent his son to save us and we should be grateful for Jesus.
At Mass, its normal for us to call to mind our sins. We sinned at our fall in the Garden of Eden. Jesus saved our sins so we are going back to be re-present with Jesus at the cross. During the Eucharist we thank God through the Lamb of God and through the body and blood. We can also ask for reconciliation. Melissa said: "I go to church for reconciliation but I don't like going. It is awesome, every time I go to reconciliation I feel good."
Melissa also said:
" I also go to Mass to be with community and to receive Christ through a fuller way through the Eucharist."
Some people go to Mass because they want to learn about Jesus' life. In the bible, many stories have deep meanings that are explained once you understand more of the Old Testament. The Eucharist is one of them. Melissa said that she did not enjoy going to Mass when she was younger but she asked questions. For example: "I asked why do we receive Eucharist. I have asked questions why it is always a Priest and why there is altar servers and why sometimes only bread or only wine. " Because she asked questions and learned more about Mass, she understands it and now enjoys going. "Mass brings me home. It is one of the only times they say the heavens are open and as a Christian my goal is to go to heaven. " Melissa said. The Eucharist is a great way to learn about Jesus' life because it covers almost all of the aspects Jesus talks about in the bible.
One last reason to go to Mass is because "Church is peaceful, it is not easy sitting in silence but it is one time where I don't feel judged and its kinda like being with a friend. Friends, family, community, people I can hang out with and have commonalities with. People that don't judge and it is a place where I always feel loved and welcome. "
Everyone feels sad sometimes and the Eucharist is a great way to connect with God and become happy again.
"I have made choices where it has been obvious that it was wrong but the right choices bring me joy and peace which comes from Christ and doing his will."