“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.” Mt 26:26-28.
The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. We participate in the Eucharist by being present; in it we become partakers in Christ’s death and resurrection; in it we receive a foretaste of heaven.
The word Eucharist comes from a Greek wording meaning “thanksgiving”. The Eucharist is part of a service we call the Mass. During the Mass people are also admitted to Communion.
A lot of the language we use is very symbolic, drawing on the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Just as the Israelites sacrificed a lamb at the first Passover, so too Jesus becomes for us our sacrificial lamb. In the Eucharist we remember that he was sacrificed for our sins on the Cross and, on the third day, was raised from the dead, thus conquering the power which sin and death hold over us.
In the Mass we:
- are fed by Christ’s Body and Blood, receiving grace and strength to live a Christian life.
- receive the forgiveness of our sins against God and our neighbour as we are reconciled to God and each other.
- are built into the Church, being united with Christians throughout the world as we celebrate the one Eucharist in common.
Can I attend the Mass?
We celebrate the Mass as our principal act of worship, as Jesus commands us, every Sunday – the day of the Resurrection. Anyone can attend this act of worship.
Can I receive Communion in your church?
To be admitted to Communion in the Church of England you must first have been baptised, and then confirmed by a bishop. If you are a member of a different church you may receive communion if that church believes in the Holy Trinity (that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and if you are in good standing with your church.