What is the Eucharist?

If you are a Christian, you probably heard about Eucharist, although if you didn’t, you probably know it under the name of the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion, as it is also named. This particular event is considered very important for the entire Christian community and it is seen as a sacrament by the majority of churches.

Even if you are following another religion, it is impossible not to know the moment when Jesus dined together with its disciples for the last time, before has was betrayed and locked away by the Roman soldiers. Known as the Last Supper, the moment is presented by the New Testament and marks the moment when Jesus says goodbye from its disciples and warns them about what is about to come.

It is said that during the Last Supper, Jesus shared bread and wine with His faithful disciples, referring to the served bread as “His body” while the wine represented “the new covenant in my blood”. He knew that Judas was going to betray him, in spite of the fact that he also participated at this Supper, so Jesus decided to warn His disciples and share with them a Christian ritual that was going to last for millennia.

Commanding them to “do this in memory of me”, the association of bread with flesh and wine with blood was the way of Jesus to tell them that He was going to sacrifice Himself for the good of the humankind. Thus, even in our days, Christian churches practice the Eucharist as a way to commemorate Jesus’ sacrifice for us and continue His wish as left to his disciples during this supper.

So, during the sacred ritual of Eucharist, Christians receive from the priest a piece of bread, which can be leavened or unleavened, according to church, and a sip of red wine. Still, there are churches that may prefer using grape juice instead of wine. But, before serving these two to the people inside the Church, the priest will consecrate it inside the altar, as the Holy Bible foresees.

While in some churches everybody that wishes to receive the Eucharist can do so, some require a confession in other to receive the “Holy body and blood” of Jesus, as the bread and wine are seen during this rite. This celebration usually takes place during the Sunday church service, so it can be seen every Sunday of the week and people can be part of it each time. It is part of the church service on a constant basis, as a way for people not to forget the pain and sufferance Jesus went through when He gave up His life for the salvation of humanity.

There are some Christian churches that will recreate the scene of the Last Supper, as a way of recognition for Jesus’ sacrifice and to raise awareness among people about the deep meaning of this moment, which was very important for the entire Christianity as we know it. Practically, the entire Supper was a ritual that was going to predict what will happen, while showing people, through His disciples, the fact that He did everything out of love and compassion.

During the supper, Jesus tells His disciples that they should love each other as He loved each of them and that they were always His friends and not His servants. At one point in His speech, Jesus also tells them that He will be betrayed and sold and that this will be done by one them. Each Apostle denied that he was going to do that to Jesus, yet, He told them that it was true that His betrayer was among those that were present at the supper.

Jesus tells them that He will let everyone know who the betrayer is, as soon as He will take a piece of bread, dip it in His dish, and then hand it to the one that will sell Him. Thus, when this happened, the piece of bread was given to Judas, as the Bible presents.

So, we can say that the Eucharist is one of the most important Christian rites, considering the importance of the previously mentioned events for the history of the Christian religion. After the supper, Jesus was sold by Judas and was captured by the Roman soldiers in the Gethsemani Garden, which was Jesus’ favorite praying place.
Knowing that Jesus went there to pray again, Judas sent the soldiers there, in order to close his part of the deal. After being captured and locked, Jesus went through a trial and ended up being crucified.

It is easy to see why the Last Supper has such a great importance and why the holy rite of the Eucharist means so much for each Christian. It is believed that Jesus is present in the bread and wine served during this ritual. Some believe that these two actually transform into Jesus’ body and blood, during the prayers of the priest.

Others think that Jesus is present in the form of bread and wine, while some believe that He is spiritually present during the ritual. Thus, the Eucharist has a deep meaning for every person that believes in Jesus, God, and acknowledges the happenings presented by the Holy Bible.

Each time a Christian receives the Eucharist, for him or her the moment symbolizes the gesture Jesus did for His disciples, during the Last Supper, as a way to show them His love and appreciation. Thus, for Christians, this is a symbolic way to receive Jesus’ love and to keep in mind everything He did for us, not just through His sacrifice but also during His entire activity.