Scriptures on the Eucharist


(Malachias 1:11) For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts.

1:11 Ab ortu enim solis usque ad occasum, magnum est nomen meum in Gentibus, et in omni loco sacrificatur, et offertur nomini meo oblatio munda: quia magnum est nomen meum in Gentibus, dicit Dominus exercituum.

(Matthew 26:26-28) And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread and blessed and broke and gave to his disciples and said: Take ye and eat. This is my body. And taking the chalice, he gave thanks and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.

26:26 Cœnantibus autem eis, accepit Iesus panem, et benedixit, ac fregit, deditque discipulis suis, et ait: Accipite, et comedite: hoc est corpus meum. 26:27 Et accipiens calicem gratias egit: et dedit illis, dicens: Bibite ex hoc omnes. 26:28 Hic est enim sanguis meus novi testamenti, qui pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum.

(John 6:48-59) I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the desert: and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven: that if any man eat of it, he may not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say unto you: except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me: and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead. He that eateth this bread shall live for ever.

6:48 Ego sum panis vitæ. 6:49 Patres vestri manducaverunt manna in deserto, et mortui sunt. 6:50 Hic est panis de cælo descendens: ut si quis ex ipso manducaverit, non moriatur. 6:51 Ego sum panis vivus, qui de cælo descendi. 6:52 Si quis manducaverit ex hoc pane, vivet in æternum: et panis, quem ego dabo, caro mea est pro mundi vita. 6:53 Litigabant ergo Iudæi ad invicem, dicentes: Quomodo potest hic nobis carnem suam dare ad manducandum? 6:54 Dixit ergo eis Iesus: Amen, amen dico vobis: Nisi manducaveritis carnem Filii hominis, et biberitis eius sanguinem, non habebitis vitam in vobis. 6:55 Qui manducat meam carnem, et bibit meum sanguinem, habet vitam æternam: et ego resuscitabo eum in novissimo die. 6:56 Caro enim mea, vere est cibus: et sanguis meus, vere est potus. 6:57 qui manducat meam carnem, et bibit meum sanguinem, in me manet, et ego in illo. 6:58 Sicut misit me vivens Pater, et ego vivo propter Patrem: et qui manducat me, et ipse vivet propter me. 6:59 Hic est panis, qui de cælo descendit. Non sicut manducaverunt patres vestri manna, et mortui sunt. Qui manducat hunc panem, vivet in æternum.

(Acts 2:42) And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles and in the communication of the breaking of bread and in prayers.

2:42 Erant autem perseverantes in doctrina Apostolorum, et communicatione fractionis panis, et orationibus.

(Acts 20:7) And on the first day of the week, when we were assembled to break bread, Paul discoursed with them, being to depart on the morrow. And he continued his speech until midnight.

20:7 Una autem Sabbati cum convenissemus ad frangendum panem, Paulus disputabat cum eis profecturus in crastinum, protraxitque sermonem usque in mediam noctem.

(1 Corinthians 10:16-17) The chalice of benediction which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord? For we, being many, are one bread, one body: all that partake of one bread.

10:16 Calix benedictionis, cui benedicimus, nonne communicatio sanguinis Christi est? et panis, quem frangimus, nonne participatio corporis Domini est? 10:17 Quoniam unus panis, unum corpus multi sumus, omnes, qui de uno pane participamus.

(1 Corinthians 11:27-29) Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.

11:27 Itaque quicumque manducaverit panem hunc, vel biberit calicem Domini indigne: reus erit corporis, et sanguinis Domini. 11:28 Probet autem seipsum homo: et sic de pane illo edat, et de calice bibat. 11:29 Qui enim manducat, et bibit indigne, iudicium sibi manducat, et bibit: non diiudicans corpus Domini.

"Take this and eat it, all of you": communion

The Lord addresses an invitation to us, urging us to receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist: "Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you."217

To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself."218 Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion.

Before so great a sacrament, the faithful can only echo humbly and with ardent faith the words of the Centurion: "Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea" ("Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed.").219 And in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom the faithful pray in the same spirit:

O Son of God, bring me into communion today with your mystical supper. I shall not tell your enemies the secret, nor kiss you with Judas' kiss. But like the good thief I cry, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

To prepare for worthy reception of this sacrament, the faithful should observe the fast required in their Church.220 Bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest.

It is in keeping with the very meaning of the Eucharist that the faithful, if they have the required dispositions,221 receive communion when they participate in the Mass.222 As the Second Vatican Council says: "That more perfect form of participation in the Mass whereby the faithful, after the priest's communion, receive the Lord's Body from the same sacrifice, is warmly recommended."223

The Church obliges the faithful to take part in the Divine Liturgy on Sundays and feast days and, prepared by the sacrament of Reconciliation, to receive the Eucharist at least once a year, if possible during the Easter season.224 But the Church strongly encourages the faithful to receive the holy Eucharist on Sundays and feast days, or more often still, even daily.

Since Christ is sacramentally present under each of the species, communion under the species of bread alone makes it possible to receive all the fruit of Eucharistic grace. For pastoral reasons this manner of receiving communion has been legitimately established as the most common form in the Latin rite. But "the sign of communion is more complete when given under both kinds, since in that form the sign of the Eucharistic meal appears more clearly."225 This is the usual form of receiving communion in the Eastern rites.

217. Jn 6:53.
218. 1 Cor 11:27-29.
219. Roman Missal, response to the invitation to communion; cf. Mt 8:8.
220. Cf. CIC, can. 919.
221. Cf. CIC, can. 916.
222. Cf. CIC, can. 917; The faithful may receive the Holy Eucharist only a second time on the same day [CF. Pontificia Commissio Codici luris Canonici Authentice Intrepretando, Responsa ad proposita dubia, 1:AAS 76 (1984) 746].
223. SC 55.
224. OE 15; CIC, can. 920.
225. GIRM 240.

(CCC 1384-1390)

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