I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry; He who believes in me will never thirst.
The Eucharist is the “source and summit of Christian life” (CCC, 1324). The Bible teaches that Jesus gathered his disciples on the night before he was betrayed and crucified, as it was the Jewish Passover festival. It was at this meal – the Last Supper – that he instituted the Eucharist:
“Then he took some bread, and when he had given thanks, broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body which will be given for you; do this as a memorial of me’. He did the same with the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood which will be poured out for you.’”
We gather to celebrate the Eucharist where we offer gifts of bread and wine and receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Through the sacrifice of the Mass, the substance of the bread and wine is changed and it becomes the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus.
We receive the Eucharist at Mass, and more information on what to expect at Mass can be found here. We can also gather in adoration of the Eucharist. This is when the Body of Jesus is placed in a vessel known as a Monstrance and is raised on the Altar. This gives us the opportunity to adore Christ who is physically present in the Eucharist – the Blessed Sacrament – using a range of prayers, and in silence.
Whenever we enter the Catholic Church, we should notice that the red candle known as the sanctuary lamp is always burning (except from the conclusion of the Mass of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday until the Easter Vigil). This reminds us that the Eucharist is reserved in the Tabernacle which is usually featured prominently at the front of the church. For this reason, we can adore Christ’s presence whenever we enter a Catholic church.