Nine out of ten people who use the word “Eucharist” think of an object. They think of the Eucharist as a thing, bread or wine that is transformed into the body and blood of Christ.
But strictly speaking Eucharist is not a thing, it’s an action. It’s the action of giving thanks. In fact, the word for “thank you” that is heard thousands of times every day in modern Greece is “evcharisto”, the same word as Eucharist.
Each time Christians celebrate Eucharist they thank God for all that God has done in the past and continues to do for us today. The Eucharistic Prayer is one long prayer of praise and thanksgiving for the fact that God made us, redeemed us through Christ and continues to support us today in the Holy Spirit until Christ comes again at the end of time. In our worship we “Eucharist” God.
The feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus et Sanguis Christi) is a reminder to us that Christ has left us a memorial of his Passion and death and that by our action of Eucharist we make really present the grace and power of God on our altars.
At every Eucharist bread and wine is brought up in procession and laid on the altar. Our prayer to God is that the Holy Spirit may transform these humble elements so that they may become for us the body and blood of Christ.
If we are really celebrating Eucharist then we need to offer ourselves and our lives in sacrifice to God along with the bread and wine. We need to bring all our hopes and joys, our dreams and reservations, our plans and worries so that they too may be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Eucharist is the heart of our Christian faith. It is the central act of our community, the source of all our strength and the summit to which all our activity as Church is directed.
Corpus Christi invites us to stand before our God and celebrate Eucharist: to say thank you!