The Eucharist is the center of the Catholic Church because Jesus Christ is the center of Catholic life and worship. The Church still professes, as it has for two millennia, that the Eucharist is nothing less than Jesus Christ himself. The Second Vatican Council called the Eucharist the center and the summit of the Christian life. How could these Catholic bishops be so bold in their affirmation? Does not such a statement show that the Catholic Church places too much emphasis on the Eucharist? Perhaps the Protestant criticisms of the Catholic insistence on the sacraments are valid. Maybe this sacramental system in fact chains the individual Christian to a hopeless conveyer belt of religiosity. Why this insistence on the centrality of the Eucharist?
The main reason for so great a confidence resides in the meaning of the Eucharist: Jesus Christ is here on earth again in the Eucharist, just as he was two thousand years ago. He is not just present in memory. He is not just spiritually present. He is on earth, body and blood, soul and divinity. The doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is more than a convenient belief; it is an absolute necessity. Why? Because the whole pattern of scriptural teaching demands it and because the Church could not continue in its life and work without the bodily presence of Jesus on earth today.
The Real Presence is at the heart of every Mass, but its roots go far back into the history of God's ancient people, the Jews. The sacrificial lamb at the annual Passover meant reenactment of the Exodus. The Passover liturgy used by the Jews for centuries places into the mouth of the eldest son the question: "Why is this night different from all others?"
The answer celebrates the Lord Yahweh who redeemed his chosen people from the darkness of Egypt on this night. The words and actions of the Eucharistic celebration also reenact the Last Supper of Jesus and celebrate the Messiah himself. Just as the lamb in each Jewish household symbolized the original offering of a lamb on the first night of Passover, so every Mass gives a converted Host that symbolizes Jesus' original offering of himself. 👇👇 continued...👇👇