Eucharist meaning. The Eucharist is a ceremony in which a person celebrates, for the first time, his communion with God, which is represented through a sacrament. It is a symbolic act in which all the faithful express their desire to receive the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ through a priest.
Why is the Eucharist celebrated? How is this ceremony formed? Who performs this sacrament? Although the definition presented above offers at least a significant notion of this concept, it does not allow us to clarify all the questions raised.
With some context, it is up to us to understand the meaning of this word, and what it implies for those who practice it. To start, we go directly to its etymological meaning.
Eucharist comes from the Greek eucharistĭa (εὐχαριστία), and is composed of the prefix “eu”, which refers to: nice, good. Next, we find the noun “xarij”, referring to “elegance, grace, gratitude”. This explains the way some people explain the Eucharist as a thanksgiving.
The word εὐχαριστία (eucharist) is used in classical Greek in the 5th century BC, later used by multiple authors such as Demosthenes and Hippocrates. In this context, it is denoted as a suffix of quality, but finally used as an expression referring to gratitude, to thanksgiving.
This expression εὐχαριστία can be found in the New Testament, specifically, in Acts 23: 4 and in Corinthians 1,14 and 16. In both cases, it is found written in Greek, referring to thanksgiving.
The use of the word εὐχαριστία stands out fundamentally for being the only one that can be found in the reading of the Bible, referring, in Mark, Matthew and Luke, to the Last Supper where Jesus distributes bread and wine among his disciples.
According to the Gospels, the expression that Jesus shows when distributing the food is of gratitude, a fact that has denoted the meaning of thanksgiving, referring to the moment in which the son of God gives thanks.
In this way, the Greek term is used to represent this scene so replicated in paintings and in universal culture, better known as the Last Supper. This would occur from the third century AD, immortalizing, until today, the use of the word Eucharist as the sacrament that symbolizes the Last Supper of Jesus.
The Eucharist is currently recognized as the consecration of the body and blood of Christ, through the sacrament of bread and wine, which represent his sacrifice on the cross. The bread and wine are part of the celebration that the messiah held together with his disciples.
They were his words: “This is my body given by you, this is the chalice of my blood”, a quote that is repeated in the holy sacrament by a priest, who is in charge of performing this act and offering a loaf of bread dipped in came. Whoever consumes it accepts Jesus as his savior. This, according to the Catholic religion specifically.
This sacrament has a series of procedures that are carried out during its celebration. These are the parts of the Eucharist, which are presented as follows:
- Initiation rites: It constitutes the introduction of the sacrament, where all the people, in the church, are arranged to listen to the word and start the Eucharist. Here, the sign of the cross, the salute, the penitential act, the glory and the prayer will take place.
- Entrance procession: All the people accompany the procession through songs of joy, thus warning of the arrival of the procession.
- Opening greeting: The priest kisses the altar and will make the sign of the cross, to later give a greeting to all those present.
- Penitential act: Prayers begin, previously asking God for forgiveness for all sins. God is praised through the Gloria, where all his unique values are recognized.
- Collection: During prayer, the members of the church collect the contributions that any of the members of the assembly wish to offer.
- The word: The word of God begins, which starts multiple readings on it.
- Reading of the Responsorial Psalm
- Hallelujah reading
- Gospel reading
- Universal prayer.
- Old Testament reading: It describes the way in which God speaks from the history of the people of Israel in conjunction with their prophets.
- Psalm reading: Sometimes it is also done by singing.
- New Testament reading: God’s message from the apostles is described.
- Song of Hallelujah: Different songs are performed, to later carry out the proclamation of the ministry of Jesus. Finally, the assembly should respond with “Glory to you, Lord Jesus.”
- Homily: In this case, the priest is in charge of explaining more about the word of God.
- Creed: Multiple prayers are made as a form of confession before God and all the saints.
- Prayer for the believers: Multiple prayers are made for all the faithful and their needs.
- Eucharist: This is divided into three stages
- Offerings Rite
- Great Eucharistic Prayer.
- Communion rite.
- Presentation of the gifts: The bread and wine are presented, which represent the body and blood of Jesus. Along with these, all the offerings given by the assembly are arranged, which will receive prayers in the form of thanks.
- Preface: Prayer that the priest performs as thanksgiving, to later praise God.
- Epiclesis: The holy spirit is invoked, which occurs when the priest, with his hands in the wine and bread, extends his hands so that through his mantle, he turns them into the body and blood of Christ.
- Consecration: It refers to the last supper, for which the priest will quote the words spoken by Jesus in that scene, which indicates that the bread and wine are now body and blood.
- Act of faith: An acclamation is made to the ministry of faith.
- Prayers: It is asked for the intercession of all those who make up the church, for believers and life in the world, offering the sacrifice of Jesus in communion with the church.
- Doxology: The priest goes to the father and gives him the blood and body of Jesus, in unity with the Holy Spirit, to which all the members of the assembly, upon witnessing this act, say “Amen.”
- Prayer: Our Father is realized.
- Communion: People approach the altar, organizing in line to receive the body of Jesus, the so-called bread of life. To do this, everyone must make a confession and act of faith in advance.
- Prayer: The assembly thanks Jesus for receiving him in body and blood, requesting that he allow communion forever.
- Farewell: Different steps are taken to close the Eucharist.
- Farewell act.
- Closing of the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is a celebration recognized worldwide, practiced by the Catholic Church, representing that act in which Jesus brought his body and blood to his disciples. Today, its meaning lies in the communion that believers practice to corroborate their faith in him.
- (2021). Eucharistic. Flame of Faith. Recovered from: http://flameoffaith.org.au/eucharist/
- (2021). Eucharistic. Wikipedia. Recovered from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucharist
- (S / F). Celebration of the Eucharist and its parts. Aciprensa. Recovered from: https://www.aciprensa.com/catequesis/misa2.htm