Jesus was a genius! He not only taught us that love of God and neighbor are equally important, he gave us a revolutionary way to combine the two. He made the universal sign of human friendship and love – a meal together – the sign, and an expression of our gratitude to God. Just as a Thanksgiving Day dinner is our American way of giving thanks to God and one another for all the good we share, so too our Eucharist is our universal Catholic way of giving thanks to God for the love we share and bring to our world.
From the moment of our Baptism, we are members of the People of God. Therefore, we do not come to give thanks to God as isolated individuals practicing personal devotions. We come as a People who worship God in ritual words and actions that give external expression to our deepest beliefs and desires. It is most appropriate, then, to join actively in all of the prayers, songs, and gestures that compose our communal worship of God. The liturgy calls us to participate.
In the course of this great Eucharistic Prayer, the power of the Holy Spirit is invoked to transform these gifts of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus. Through the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we join with the parish community to give praise and thanks to God by active participation as we hear God’s word, receive the body and blood of God’s Son, and are missioned as God’s People.
The Ritual of Receiving the Eucharist
Our prayer together is divided into two equally important parts, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. During the Liturgy of the Word, we listen attentively as God speaks to us through the Scriptures and to respond to God’s word through the Responsorial Psalm and the Gospel Acclamation. The priest’s homily brings God’s word as a reminder of how present God is in our daily lives.
Members of our community bring forward our gifts of bread and wine for which we give thanks to God and give God praise: “Blessed be God forever!” Now our sacred banquet is ready to begin. Our meal is set in the context of prayers and acclamations that recall God’s loving deeds on our behalf, culminating in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
In the course of this great Eucharistic Prayer, the power of the Holy Spirit is invoked to transform these gifts of bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus. Through the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we declare that we join with the parish community to give giving praise and thanks to God by active participation as we hear God’s word, receive the Body and Blood of God’s Son, and are missioned as God’s People.