1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night He was handed over,
took bread, and, after He had given thanks,
broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me."
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
"This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes.
Rituals form the basis of almost every religion and Catholicism is no exception. Catholics believe that in the bread and wine of the Last Supper meal we find the True Presence of Jesus in a very real and meaningful way. Not a symbol, not a nice little prize for coming to church, but a living and dynamic sharing in the very life of Christ for those who receive. The ritual of the Eucharist held great significance for the early Christians for in this letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul is reminding them of Jesus’ words about the Eucharist. Since this letter was written somewhere between 53-57 AD, it's evidence that this belief in the Real Presence was something held by the early Christians, not a later invention of the Church. The Eucharist is the Presence of Jesus in a sacramental way through a ritual dating back to the Last Supper itself. What is Jesus trying to teach us through it?
Jesus has a personal love for you and He does not want to be forgotten by you. He wants to remind you of that love day after day, Mass after Mass, Communion after Communion. In the Eucharist, the priest is literally handing you Jesus’ Heart, although you can usually only see it with the eyes of faith. In fact, wherever there have been Eucharist miracles where the Eucharist has become visible flesh and blood (and there have been many, all over the world), the consecrated bread always becomes heart tissue, and more significantly, tissue from a heart that has suffered. Google it. It's amazing.
What does this mean? Jesus has suffered for love of us, and suffers to be loved by us. He gives us His Heart in the Eucharist and some of us consider it nothing more than a ritual cracker. Holy Thursday celebrates the great gift of the priesthood, which brings us the beautiful Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Today, attend a Holy Thursday service. It’s one of the most beautiful rituals of the entire Church year. Holy Thursday invites us to enter into the mystery of God’s love shown upon the Cross, in the Eucharist, and through the community. Do this in remembrance of Him. His Heart is waiting.