The Eucharist

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas - The Freeman

We join the millions now in Cebu, Philippines and all over the world focused and praying for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress. May all those present be blessed and protected by God while in Cebu. May those who are participating in this Congress in their own way, from all parts of the world also be blessed by the Lord's grace.

What is the meaning of the Eucharist for us, personally and collectively?

Originating from the Greek term "eucharistia" meaning "thanksgiving," EUCHARIST has taken on various meanings for each believer and for various groups across time.

There are those who view Eucharist as a meal, recalling the Lord's Supper Jesus shared with His disciples before His passion and crucifixion. For sure, Jesus shared many other meals with His disciples but the last supper stands out. Despite the certainty of His passion and death, Jesus shared precious time and most especially, Himself, not just in real time with His disciples, but forever, not just with His disciples, but He shared Himself with us all through eternity. The Last Supper would be a continuing meal with the Lord forever, for all. We are reminded that despite His crucifixion and death, He is always and will remain with us in the Eucharist.

Agony, scourging, crowning with thorns, carrying of the cross , crucifixion, and death were certainties our Lord Jesus knew He would be experiencing soon after that meal yet during the Last Supper, He took time to thank God for the Father's greatest love for us: that of sending Jesus Christ to be our Savior for our eternal reunion in God's home. Eucharist then is a thanksgiving as well, God's love shared to us all through the sacrifice of His only beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Eucharist is a passover meal, where all of us are saved and returned to our Father through Jesus Christ.

Just as we take food every meal to sustain earthly life, the Eucharist reminds us that beyond bread and wine, it is divine life with God which is most important for us all. Is that why the eyes of the poor, who have very little or no food at all assured per day, remain bright and hopeful? Are the poor blessed because they know the true essence of life: that of communion and receiving and believing in God's love and promise?

Eucharist is also communion. This does not refer only to the believer's receiving the host and drinking the wine during mass. The Eucharist brings us into communion with God, His Son and the Holy Spirit. The Eucharist also brings us into communion with the priest and the community at mass as well as with those all throughout the world and even with those who have since joined the Lord. Imagine being one with God , the Blessed Trinity, Mama Mary, the angels and the saints as well as with everyone else in this world, the living and the dead. We are in communion with our family, our friends, all others who believe in God's love. We are one with the rich and the poor, the elderly and the young, the abled and those with disabilities - in the Eucharist, we are in union with all! The Eucharist shares with us God's omnipresence and we are transported into so many dimensions and worlds far beyond the physical rite, host and wine during mass! The Eucharist also brings us together as one big family with God, through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

"Do this in remembrance of Me." Eucharist reminds us that sharing God's redemptive love is a mission His Son Jesus Christ wholeheartedly and in full obedience accomplished despite sacrifice and death. The Eucharist reminds us of Jesus' acceptance of His mission: to give up His body and His blood "to be shed for you and for all, so that sins may be forgiven." The Eucharist, then, is a reminder for us all about our real goal for God as well: to share His love with all through the sharing of our own body and blood.

And we can go on and on, realizing the awesome messages and value of the Eucharist for all! Can you also imagine the amazing grace, love, and presence of God that Jesus shared and continues to share with us all DAILY, in the Eucharist?

God awaits us always in the Eucharist. We all take time to take our meals three times a day to nourish and sustain our body and physical life. Perhaps, from now on, we can realize the greater importance of nourishing our spiritual life through the Eucharist which translates to GOD ALWAYS WITH US?

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