The Eucharist and His Sacrifice

I’m still trying to figure out the connection between The Eucharist and His Sacrifice. I don’t understand how eating His body and drink His blood makes His Sacrifice present to us.

Does anybody have any thoughts to help me understand this better?

In the Old Testament, Jews had to sacrifice animals to have their sins forgiven. In order for this sacrifice to be complete, the offering had to be consumed once completed. The Eucharistic celebration is a mirror of this action.

The Jews had many sacrifices of bread and wine which anticipated the Eucharist. Melchizedek, who was the type of Christ’s priesthood, offered bread and wine, in fact.

An offering of wine is called a libation. A libation happens when a cup of wine is “poured out” in propitiation of God. When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, He took the cup and said, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (Luke 22:20) That is the language of a libation offering, and Jesus said to do it in remembrance of Him. (1 Cor. 11:25)

He also said that the bread, His Body, is given for us. (Luke 22:19) That is the language of an offering. He connected the Eucharist directly to His sacrifice by these words, and commanded us to do it in remembrance of Him.

Now bread is like His sacrifice because a piece of bread must be broken before it can benefit many people, like Jesus needed to be injured, on the Cross, for our benefit. And a wine offering is like His blood because both are poured out for the forgiveness of sins. So Jesus, in the Eucharist, unites these kinds of sacrifice together, the bread/wine sacrifice and the sacrifice of His Body, and He wrote bread/wine sacrifices into the Old Testament so that we would know what it means today. His death, His sacrifice, is commemorated every time we eat the Eucharist. (1 Cor. 11:27) For in it, our sins are forgiven, God’s wrath is propitiated, and Jesus returns to be with us and bring us to God forever.

Thanks for that; The references to Melchizedek are very interesting.

By sacrifice man offers himself and his life to God, his sovereign Lord and Creator; by the sacraments God gives himself, he gives a participation of his own divine life, to man. In sacrifice a stream of homage flows from man to the eternal Source of all being; by the sacraments grace, sanctification, descends in copious flood upon the souls of men. The twofold stream, from God to man and from man to God, flows swift and strong in the Eucharist, sacrament and sacrifice. As the culminating act in the life of Jesus Christ on earth was the sacrifice which he offered on Calvary to his eternal Father, so the central act of Catholic worship in the Church, the mystical Body of Christ, is the Eucharistic sacrifice, the Mass, which he instituted to be a perpetual commeroration and renewal of it. Likewise, just as it was through the sacred humanity of Christ that God mercifully designed to transmit to us the divine life of grace, so the sacrament of the Eucharist, which truly contains that living and life-giving humanity, holds the principle place among the sacraments instituted by Christ for our sanctification.

See Luke 24

Sorry, but I’d like to sort of hijack this thread with a semi-related Eucharist question. During the Last Supper, did the disciples receive Jesus’ body then and there? Does that mean that Christ’s risen body already existed?

They received, truly, Christ’s real presence.

duffy,

St. Thomas expresses what seems to be the leading (and in my view most sensible) theological opinion: the disciples receive Christ *unglorified unresurrected *Body at the Last Supper. Essentially they received exactly what Christ was while He was at the table. That exact Body.

VC

He also says that if the sacrament was celebrated while He was in the tomb, then that is how they would have received His Body, the way it was while in the tomb.

That’s right. The disciples in that case would have received only the body or the blood*, *and not body and blood under the same species (as we now do) since Christ’s body was separated from His blood. Nor would they have receive Christ’s soul, as it was separated at death.

They would have received Christ’s Divinity, however, since that is hypostatically united to His body or blood, even while dead.

Of course, to our knowledge, the disciples didn’t receive Holy Communion while Our Lord was in the tomb. Nor is there any reason to speculate they did so.

VC

Hypostatically united? Because there was never a time when the Incarnation didn’t exist after it took place…right?

Yes, exactly. The Divinity of Christ is united to His Body (and Blood) and Soul in perpetuity. In life, in death, and risen.

VC

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.