“The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” “The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.” Catechism of the Catholic Church 1324

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis spoke on the Eucharist in his general audience in February 2014. We have included links to these talks;
The following talk on the Eucharist was given by Fr. Pat McEnroe to the Special Eucharistic Ministers in our Pastoral Area. We are sure it will give you food for thought.

The Eucharist is central to our lives.

“Eucharist is at the heart of “Christian initiation,” together with Baptism and Confirmation, and it constitutes the source of the Church’s life itself.

From this Sacrament of love, in fact, flows every authentic journey of faith, of communion, and of witness.”

(Pope Francis: General Audience Saint Peter’s Square Wednesday, 5th February 2014)

I love the language that our holy Father Pope Francis uses. It is different and refreshing. Tonight I so want to affirm each and all of you as Special Minsters of the Eucharist. I do so, on behalf of Frs. Gerry and Gerry and Seán. To us you are all a great example. May you be blessed and may your ministry enable you to grow in love of God and humanity.

Tonight I also wish to offer a little examen and hopefully some challenges in what I say. A good place to start is before the beginning.

How do you prepare for the celebration if Eucharist or is the word celebration a word/step too far?
Do you have a real desire in celebrating Eucharist? OR would you prefer a quick Mass – get it over so you can get on with your life.
By the way, are you ever ashamed to be a person of faith, a person of faith in the Eucharist, a person of Catholic faith? Are you uncomfortable with taking time at the celebration of Eucharist?

Do you go on bended knee before Mass and pray for God’s forgiveness?
Do you pray God’s blessing on the priest offering Mass, God’s blessing on those proclaiming His word, God’s blessing on the Special Minister of the Eucharist.
Do you pray for a clearance of all distractions from your mind and clear- out of any emotional disturbance that could block you from engaging with the Eucharist you are about to celebrate?
Do you plead that you will understand the Word of God as you listen to it?
Do you beseech in preparation that you will be in full union with Jesus and the entire congregation beyond celebrating this Mass.
Do you pray for passionate and prayerful engagement and involvement with the celebration of the Eucharist.
Should you be working as a Special Minister do you pray before and during Mass for those to whom you will administer the Body of Christ?
I believe these are essential elements of preparation for the celebration of Mass. I also believe that without preparation we failing or refusing to engage with the enormous richness of the Eucharist.

The Eucharist is central to our lives as Christian. Yes! that is a lovely wish or sentiment. What about the reality.

When you receive Jesus do you prayerfully and lovingly welcome Him into your life and body?
Is the journey back to you seat one of delight, joy and humility? In your seat do you praise God from the pits of your being for giving Himself to you in such a complete way and for being your Lord, Saviour and friend who is now within you?
Do you try and pray that you may receive Jesus in a complete manner some day?
How do you work at making Jesus central in your life?
As you leave Church do you invite Him to your home and have Him meet all your family through you in the way you speak, the way you behave and the way you treat others?
Will you assure Jesus He is welcome in all areas of your life, in your disagreements and arguments; in your decisions and choices, by that I mean, your will to pray to Him and wait on Him to prompt you?
Does it matter if Jesus is not central in your life?
In what way could the Eucharist be central and more important in your life?
Do you pray earnestly that it will become central to your life?
We also hear that Eucharist is “food for our Christian journey.” Isn’t that a beautiful and mysterious assurance! Eucharist as food for our journey needs to be baked in the ovens of our faith, and in our love of Jesus Christ. It takes time and attention for proper baking.

We come to know Jesus in our personal prayer,in our family, and in the Eucharist.

We grow in our understand of Jesus in silent moments, visit and adoration of Blessed Sacrament.

We grow our faith in Jesus by constantly taking time with Him, doing a holy hour or praying the Rosary

We come to love Jesus by looking/gazing upon Him on the Cross, making the Stations of the Cross, reading the Passion of Jesus in scripture.

This oneness with Christ is oneness of minds, oneness of hearts, oneness of souls, oneness of spirits and oneness of faith.

Jesus gives Himself to us in a complete manner. Yet His giving is one of humble giving. It has been asked, why did Jesus not used lamb or fish for food instead of bread. Jesus’ reason for the use of humble bread is because bread is the food of the poor. We forever approach Jesus as needy and poor people.

For our journey we seek union with Jesus Christ in mind, body, soul and spirit. Jesus Himself said, “I am the bread of life….if you do not eat you shall not have life in you” Jn. 6: 35

Eucharist is to re-enter to renew our union with Jesus Christ.
Eucharist is that which makes us Catholics different from all other Denominations and faiths.
Our faith tells us that Jesus is really, truly, body, soul, and substantially present in the Eucharist.
Eucharist means thanksgiving: our Eucharist is our thanksgiving to God the Creator for His Son Jesus Christ.
Jesus who said “take this and eat”…. “My body which will be given up for you”.
“Take this all of you and drink. This is my blood which will be poured out for the forgiveness of sins.

Eucharist as outreach

“The Eucharist affects the way we see others. In His life, Christ manifested His love by being with people, and by sharing their desires and problems. So too the Eucharist brings us together with others — young and old, poor and affluent, neighbours and visitors.”

(Pope Francis: General Audience Saint Peter’s Square Wednesday, 12th February 2014)

Every time we bow down to God we see differently. Every time we bow we step aside, out of our own way. Our own way that is stubborn, proud, indifferent, familiar and consumerist and human. We approach God bearing the story of our humanity that has been and continues to be influenced by the world and it dark ways. A world that noisily and relentlessly refuses to bow to God or the Kingdom of God or the life, message, teaching and mission of Jesus Christ.

Every bow we make is an attempt to place Jesus at the centre, beside and deep inside our lives. So bowing and genuflecting are very significant rituals of faith. The manner of a person’s bow or genuflection says much about his/her Catholic faith. Entering into union with Jesus is to die to oneself in Jesus in the one and the same moment.

When you and I see others through our own weakness and blessings and through the mercy, forgiveness and healing of Jesus Christ which we ourselves have received then we shall reach out with hope and joy. Hope for ourselves and joy for the gift of the other persons’ presence.

The eye that looks in judgement sees no reason or finds no virtue in reaching out. The eye that loves as Jesus loves will be quite unable to resist reaching out. The heart of Jesus, wherever it resides reaches out simply to journey, to walk with another, to be a friend and to shepherd together onward.

I believe God really cares for us when He says, “love one another.” To be disciples/followers of Jesus we so need one another The Christian journey is forever a correctional journey, a journey that is step by step changing us.

Change is so difficult, so necessary, so continuous and so personal When we are engaged in any such change don’t we need others to be there with us, to pray for us, to listen to our struggles, to forgive our failures, to encourage our efforts, to enquire with encouragement and to inspire us onward. This is my understanding of to love one another

It also confirms that the life of each one of us is holy and the presence of each one is a blessing. Eucharist will raise us up so lowly – by that I mean we will grow in humility, that we will own our lives of holiness and share the blessings of our presence with joy. Having said all that no correction, no change or Christian journey can be even considered or commenced without Jesus. Without Christ it is a mere personal effort or personal examination, test or challenge but not a Christian journey. Jesus is our Sat Nav!

When you and I struggle, to keep up with and keep close to Jesus, it is only then that we are christening ourselves that we are making Christ’s of ourselves. Attempting and seeking to do the will of God the Father.

Wearing the will of God as a garment for action and journey. Wearing His will in little moments so we can learn from Him to wear and bear His will more regularly and constantly. “Shoulder my yoke and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.” (Matt 11: 49) This work of following, seeking and doing the will of God is so engaging and exciting it ought be the topic of our conversations regularly. Our faith and its development is highly personal but was never meant to be private. The Christian journey is so full with love and joy it will not be silent or could not be silenced.

Coming to our senses

“In the Eucharist we experience the forgiveness of God and the call to forgive. We celebrate the Eucharist not because we are worthy, but because we recognize our need for God’s mercy, incarnate in Jesus”

(Pope Francis: General Audience Saint Peter’s Square Wednesday, 12th February 2014)

“Lord I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof just say the word and my soul shall be healed.” What is the greatest measure of human love?

I believe the greatest measure of love is forgiveness. And Jesus our Saviour gave us that awesome example. At death’s door on the cross Jesus said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do” Jesus said these words as they were fulfilling the roars of the people to ”crucify Him.” The Eucharist is drenched with invitations to reconcile with God.

The first greeting at Mass offers us grace, love and friendship.

May almighty God have mercy on us….forgive us and lead us

Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy and again Lord have mercy.

Five times in the Gloria, mercy for sin is sought and beseeched in this prayer of praise.

I find it irresistible that at the consecration and immediately beside/with/companion those word of consecration is “POURED OUT FOR YOU…AND FOR MANY FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. Food and forgiveness for the journey is the one mouthful.

At Rite of Communion

Our Father forgive us our trespasses as we forgive….

Deliver us from every evil

And lead us not into temptation

With Your mercy we shall be free from sin

Lamb of God You take away the sins of the world is said three time.

BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD …… .. WHO takes away the sins of the world.

Lord I am not worthy Say the word and my soul shall be healed.

So we celebrate Eucharist not because we are good but in order to become perfect.

Eucharist is the ‘oceanic prayer’. I use this image to indicate to enormity of the boundaries of the Mass. Were you to go for a swim in the Atlantic Ocean would you be deprived of a fulsome swim if there were a dozen people in its waters, if there were a dozen thousand in its waters, if there were a dozen million in its waters. I don’t think so. All would benefit like only one was swimming in its waters. So too with us in the Eucharist one million of us celebrating together can benefit like only one of us was celebrating. Eucharist cannot be measured.

Approaching the reception of Holy Eucharist in faith ought bring us to a halt, a stop, a renewed awareness of the immediacy of the divine.

As a special Minister of the Eucharist we are each escorting Jesus to a point where we facilitate the union of Jesus Christ with each of our brothers and sisters.

Yes, we are that person, we are given that special ministry, we are that window, that door, that gate, that bridge, that link, uniting humanity and divinity. As you administer the Body and Blood of Christ you normally stand on the bridge of the sanctuary (the holy of Holies) the sanctuary of God and we offer Jesus, His Son, to those who dare approach. In a way you are a real symbol of unity and union linking humanity and divinity of linking heaven and earth, of God among us…Emmanuel. A ministry that begs us pray … Lord I am not worthy.

As you administer the Body and blood of Christ what does the nature of your actions, say about you and who you say Jesus Christ is?

Is He a job to be done or is it among the greatest and most sacred moments of your life?

All of us as we receive the Eucharist ought to experience the forgiveness, restoration/healing and the fullness of the Father’s embrace of the prodigal son.

Our Identity and Mission

In the Eucharistic celebration, we are nourished as the Christian community by Christ’s Word and Life. It is from the Eucharist that the Church receives continually her identity and mission

(Pope Francis: General Audience Saint Peter’s Square Wednesday, 12th February 2014)

In the Eucharistic celebration we are nourished as a community by Word and Life. Word and Life are the two central leaves of the one Liturgy. Isn’t the word Life a much more vibrant/vital word than Sacrament. You can almost hear it breathe.

It is from the Eucharist that the Church continually receives her identity and mission. I believe identity and mission mutually embrace and are inseparable. In the following passages, for example, identity needs mission to confirm its reality e.g. Ez. below “you shall be My people (our mission is to become God’s people we have to claim the `shall` ) “and I will be your God” (is who we are) so mission confirms identity.

The Prophet Ezekiel says in Ch 36:25-28

“I will pour water over you and you shall be cleansed from all your defilement and your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a new heart of flesh instead. You shall be my people and I will be your God.”

First Letter of St. Peter 2: 9-10

“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of God, who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were outside God’s mercy now you have been given mercy.”

Colossians 3 ;12

“We are God’s chosen race, the race whom He loves. Be clothed in sincere compassion, kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another, forgive one another as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you now you must do the same. Over all these clothes to keep them together and complete them put on love.. And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts. Always be thankful. Let the message of Christ in all its richness find a home with you. Teach each other and advise each other in all wisdom. With gratitude in your hearts sing songs and inspired songs to God and never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Mt 28: 19

“Go therefore make disciples of all the nations Baptism them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always yes to the end of time.”

Romans 10: 14 – 15

“How then are they to call on him if they have not come to believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard of him? And how will they hear of him unless there is a preacher for them? And how will there be preachers if they are not sent? As scripture says: How beautiful are the feet of the messenger of good news.”