The Bible in Dialogue with Questions of the Day: The Eucharist: A Multifaceted Memorial, Remembrance, of what Jesus is
In St Paul’s account of the institution of the Eucharist, after the consecration of both the bread and the wine Jesus says: “This is my body … This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25). Given these words, the remembrance in the first instance would be, and has been, of Christ’ death, resurrection and ascension to God’s right hand. The faithful recall these, and in each Mass after the consecration the celebrant recalls them in a prayer to God the Father.
However, the Eucharist also recalls all that Christ’s life and death stands for: his meals with the marginalized, the multiplication of the loaves to feed the hungry, his concern for the crowds lost in he maze of life, his teaching intended to give meaning to the individual’s human existence, his concern for community living and all that is required to make it a reality.
The Eucharist is very much about Christ’s presence, his real presence. Catholics stress his real presence in the Eucharist, as reserved in the tabernacle. The Eucharist recalls his real presence in any crisis or situation, as he was with the apostles, in the boat, during the storm, after the multiplication of the loaves and other occasions.
The Eucharist is, and recalls, that Jesus is true bread of life, true life. He came as bread of life, to bring life and bring it to the full.
The Eucharist is about community living, communion with Christ and with one another — to recall the theme of the last International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin.
The Mass has been the centre of Irish life over the centuries. May it continue to be so, being the occasion where through the Sunday readings we can have Christ present with us to bring his saving message, as in his ministry in Galilee teaching us at some length so that we have direction in the world in which we live, not like sheep without a shepherd.