In the early church, the hallmark of being a Christian was gathering with other believers on the Lord’s Day to celebrate the breaking of the Bread. Today we do the same: we gather as a community on Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is central to the life of the Catholic Church. The Eucharist is celebrated in the context of Mass. A Catholic Mass has two parts of equal importance:
- The Liturgy of the Word which consists of scripture readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful.
- The Liturgy of the Eucharist in which we do as Christ commanded us at the Last Supper
At Mass we are nourished by the word of God and by the Body and Blood of Christ. Christ is present in the Word proclaimed, in the Sacraments celebrated, in the people and in the Pastor who have gathered.
The Mass is an opportunity for us to thank and praise God for the greatest gift of all, the gift of our salvation through the death of God’s son on the cross.
The story of faith
When we celebrate Mass, we hear the story of our faith. This story of Jesus – becomes our story told in the scripture readings in the homily, in the words of the Creed and in the Eucharistic Prayer which always includes the words and actions of Christ at supper with his disciples on the night before he died. As we listen to the story of these events, the Holy Spirit brings them into the present so that we become part of the story.
The word of God
When we listen to the Word of God, we hear what God demands of us today and how Jesus guides us along the way. We are called to commit ourselves to God’s vision, God’s kingdom, by living out what we have heard in our daily lives.
The word ‘communion’ comes from the Greek koinonia meaning fellowship or sharing. When we receive communion at Mass, we are brought into closer relationship with one another as well as with Christ. Receiving the Body of Christ at Mass calls us to live what we receive and believe, to show that Christ is present in our world through all that we do and say.
In the celebration of Eucharist, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. Those who share the these gifts at the Lord’s table become the body of Christ that is sent out to bring the love of Christ to others.
The Archdiocese of Wellington, enlivened by the Holy Spirit and nourished by the Eucharist, is collaborative in its leadership and ministry.
ADW Synod, 2006