The Body and Blood of Christ
Food to Feed All People Forever
One day, a large crowd followed Jesus into the wilderness to hear about God's Kingdom. Late in the afternoon, the apostles wanted Jesus to dismiss the crowd so the people could eat dinner in one of the surrounding villages.
"Why don't you give them something to eat?" Jesus replied.
"All we have is five loaves of bread and two fish!" the apostles exclaimed.
"Have everyone to get ready for dinner," Jesus told them. Then, Jesus took the five loaves and two fish in his hands, looked up to heaven, and blessed the food. He broke the food into pieces and gave it to his followers so they could pass it out to the people. Everyone in the crowd ate until they were full. Then, his followers collected the twelve baskets of leftovers!
Based on Luke 9:11-17
In Eucharist, Jesus feeds us with his own Body and Blood. When Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish to feed the people, he gave people a sign of the life he would share. Five loaves and two fish fed five thousand people. His single Body would fed millions and millions of followers. But unlike the loaves and fish that fed people for the day, his Body feeds us for a life we will live with God forever.
Bread at the Last Supper
While they celebrated the Passover meal, Jesus took bread and blessed God for it. Then, he broke the bread into pieces, gave it to his followers, and said, "Take it. This is my body."
Based on Mark 14:22
At the Last Supper, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and shared it with his followers. Each action tells us something about the meaning of the Eucharist.
Jesus took bread in his hands. Bread is a common food found in almost every culture and almost every place on earth. When Jesus took bread in his hands, he pointed to a food everyone knows. If there was a food to feed all people, it is bread.
Jesus blessed the bread. Actually, he blessed God for the bread. With this blessing, he thanked God for the goodness of creation. This blessing points to the meaning of "Eucharist," which means "thanksgiving" prayer. When we celebrate the Eucharist we are really thanking God for everything he has done for us. At Mass, our attitude should be one of gratitude.
Jesus broke the bread into pieces and gave it to his followers. The "breaking of the bread" symbolized a sharing of life. When friends broke bread and ate from the same loaf, they committed themselves to each other in a very deep way. When Jesus broke the bread with his followers, he gave his life to them. And when his followers ate the bread, they committed their lives to him. This is why we call the breaking and sharing of the bread "Communion," for we are one with the Lord and his followers.
Jesus told his followers, "Take the bread. This is my Body." With these words and the power of the Spirit, the bread became the Body of Christ. We call this change "Transubstantiation." This means the outward appearance, feel, and taste of the bread remain the same, but the inner reality is now the person of the Risen Lord. When we eat the consecrated bread, we really become one with Christ.
Jesus said the crowd:
"I AM the living bread which has come down from heaven. If someone eats this bread, he will live forever. My flesh is the bread I will give, so everyone in the world might live."
Based on John 6:51
Wine at the Last Supper
Afterwards, Jesus took the cup in his hands and blessed God for the wine. Then, he passed the cup to his followers and they all took a drink."This is my blood of the covenant God makes with us," Jesus stated. "It will be poured out for all people."
Based on Mark 14:23-24
Jesus took the cup, blessed God for the wine, and gave it to his followers to drink. These actions paralleled his giving of the bread. But the words Jesus used gave the Last Supper a deeper meaning. The wine became his Blood that would be poured out as a sacrifice of a new covenant. In other words, God gave us a new agreement, a new way for him to reach out to us and a new way for us to approach him. A sacrifice marked this new agreement: Christ on the cross. The Eucharist is the meal that celebrates this sacrifice and makes it present.
That is why we call Eucharist the "Sacrifice of the Mass." It is a sacrifice meant to feed everyone and give them a life with Christ forever.
Jesus told the crowd:
If you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you are not really alive! The person who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life. I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is the only real food and my blood is the only real drink that really matter. The person who eats my flesh and drinks my blood stays in me. And I stay in him.
Based on John 6:53-56