Eucharist, the final Sacrament of Initiation, has 4 main parts:
- Introductory Rites
- Liturgy of the Word
- Liturgy of the Eucharist
- Sending Forth or Dismissal (where we get the word Mass).
Eucharist is the highpoint of our Catholic faith life, because we can celebrate it not just once in our lives, but weekly on Resurrection Day (Sunday) and sometimes even daily.
Jesus was given to inviting rather than issuing commands, but when he speaks about Eucharist he says - Do this in memory of me. He had just taken the bread, blessed, broken and given it to his disciples. So, in our sacred time and in our sacred space, we continue to do this, as Jesus did.
Gifts of bread and wine symbolise the daily life and work of each one present. So, when they are brought forward and placed on the sacred space of the altar, it is really the gift of our own self that is placed there.
The priest prays the Eucharistic prayer of blessing over the bread and wine (over us gathered) and through the power of the Spirit, changes them (us) into the body and blood of Jesus Christ - a wonderful gift to offer to the Father.
The one loaf is broken into many pieces, symbolising our willingness to be 'broken' in the service of others.
During Communion, through our sharing in the 'one bread broken and one cup poured out', our sense of community is strengthened. Challenged by the Liturgy of the Word, now we are nourished to go forth and act with the one mind and heart of Jesus Christ, while cherishing the differences that can enrich and invigorate us.
When we 'do' Eucharist in this way, a wonderful transformation can happen within us and within our families, our society and in our world.