Continuing with the exploration and reflection through a series of articles written in a conversational language about Catholicism, about God, about Jesus, about the Church and many other faith related topics. Here we present:
Question 23 – Does the priest change the bread into the body of Jesus during Mass?
For Catholic* Christians, Communion* is the high point of Mass. They believe that they do not just eat a piece of bread or drink some wine. They believe that Jesus himself is present in a special way in that bread and in that wine and also in themselves when they eat and drink from it. This goes back to the last time Jesus sat at the table with his friends. He then literally said that the bread and wine he shared with them were his body and his blood. He then invited his friends to repeat this gesture. That is why Catholic Christians celebrate the Eucharist* (Mass) so often. In this way they remember again and again that Jesus wants to give himself completely to the people.
This special presence does not mean that if a piece of bread falls to the ground during the Mass and you accidentally step on it, you trample Jesus. Catholic Christians treat the Eucharist with respect and keep the remaining wafers with great respect in a special cupboard, called the tabernacle. For they believe that the living Jesus is present in the host in a unique and special way.
This touches on something typical of the Catholic faith: the belief that the risen Jesus was not only active long ago, but is also active today in the world and in the Church.
– Have you ever been personally touched by the celebration of the Eucharist or the Holy Communion?
– Do you see God at work in our world, here and now?
Feel free to leave your thoughts, reflections or comments below.
Watch this space! Coming up: Question 24 – Is God a judge who condemns?
Follow these links to go back to previous questions
If you wish to learn more about this resource follow this link “52 Questions and Answers about faith”
About the author:
Nikolaas Sintobin, SJ, joined the Society of Jesus in 1989, following a short career as a lawyer. He was trained as a Jesuit in Brussels, Paris, and Santiago de Chile. Today he is a spiritual director who is keenly interested in online ministry and discovering new ways to help people find God.
This text is republished with the permission of Messenger Publications, Ireland. To buy a hard copy of the book click here.