“During the meal Jesus took some bread in his hands. He blessed the bread and broke it. Then he gave it to his disciples and said ‘Take this and eat it. This is my body.’ Jesus picked up a cup of wine and gave thanks to God. He then gave it to his disciples and said, ‘Take this and drink it. This is my blood, and with it God makes his agreement with you. It will be poured out, so that many people will have their sins forgiven.'” (Matthew 26:26-28)
Thus, Christ instituted the Eucharist to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until His Second Coming, and to entrust to the Catholic Church a memorial of His Death and Resurrection. The Eucharist is a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a divine banquet, a source of infinite Grace, and a pledge of future glory in Heaven.
The Holy Mass or Eucharistic Celebration allows Catholics to relive with the entire Church Christ’s Last Supper, Passion, Death and Resurrection, and receive Him in Communion under the species of bread and wine. When we receive Christ in Communion we are also nourished spiritually and brought closer to God and to His Church. The bread and the wine become Christ’s Body and Blood by His words and the invocation of the Holy Spirit according to my article The Holy Spirit and the Eucharist. The Catholic Church, faithful to the Redeemer’s command, relives the Last Supper in His memory till His glorious return.
The Holy Eucharist is the supreme sacrament of the Church, the paramount expression of God’s love for His people. Catholics have the ultimate mutual expression of love between God and man in the Eucharist! Christ gives Himself totally to us at our own disposal, and also asks us to surrender to Him to fully consecrate ourselves to Him. When we commune, the Redeemer gives us Eternal Life and we get transformed into Him. His desire for mutual love and self-giving is the essence of the Eucharist, for in giving Himself to us, Jesus gives us a share in His Divine Life.
Our Lord has shown us that He is really present as the Blessed Sacrament. Many Eucharistic miracles have occurred during times of weakened Eucharistic Faith. Most Eucharistic miracles involve incidences in which “the Host has turned into human flesh and blood.” Catholics believe that the consecrated Host is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord under the species of bread and wine. Therefore, Jesus merely manifests His Presence in a more tangible way through these miracles.
A recent Eucharistic Miracle occured in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1996, under the leadership of Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis:
“At seven o’clock in the evening on August 18, 1996, Fr. Alejandro Pezet was saying Holy Mass at a Catholic church in the commercial center of Buenos Aires. As he was finishing distributing Holy Communion, a woman came up to tell him that she had found a discarded host on a candleholder at the back of the church. Going to the spot indicated, Fr. Alejandro saw the defiled Host. Since he was unable to consume it, he placed it in a container of water and put it away in the tabernacle of the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament.
On Monday, August 26, upon opening the tabernacle, he saw to his amazement that the Host had turned into a bloody substance. He informed Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who gave instructions that the Host be professionally photographed. The photos taken on September 6 clearly show that the Host had become a fragment of bloodied flesh and had grown significantly. For several years the Host remained in the tabernacle, the whole affair being kept a strict secret. Since the Host suffered no visible decomposition, Cardinal Bergoglio decided to have it scientifically analyzed.”
God is Love, and God remains faithful because God is faithful. Although He must continue to love us, we don’t have to love Him. We can ignore Him, but He is always there, waiting, arms outstretched, just as when He was on the cross. We break our relationship with Him through mortal sin, but He remains unchanged. When we receive the sacrament of Penance we are reconciled with Him and the change comes about in us, not in Him, and He loves us as intensely as he did before we have sinned.