The Eucharrist, also known as Holy Communion, the Lord's Supper, the Mass or the Sacred Mysteries, is the sacrament that is at the centre of our lives as Christians. It is the sacrament that brings us into a direct relationship with Our Lord. In many ways, it is the central sacrament, to which all the others lead, or from which they draw their meaning.
The Eucharist was established by Our Lord's word and example. St Luke tells us (22: 19 - 20) that on the night before He died, "He took bread, and when He had given thanks He broke it and gave it to them saying, "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me". And likewise the cup after supper, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood". The Last Supper was a celebration of the Jewish Passover, an anamnesis, not simply a remembering of the Jews' deliverance from Egypt, but a "calling up" of the dramatic events of that night. In the same way, every Eucharist is an anamnesis: we do not simply remember what Jesus did 2000 years ago, we invite Him to be present with us at the altar, and through the words and actions of His priest to miraculously change bread into His body, wine into His precious blood.
Christians have struggled for centuries to understand or to explain this mystery. It is said that Martin Luther, the great protestant reformer, had a vision while he was celebrating the Eucharist that the bread had literally changed into a lump of bloody flesh. For most of us, our receiving of the bread and wine is mercifully less dramatic than this, but we deprive ourselves of great spiritual benefits if we do not take seriously Our Lord's promise that the bread is changed into His Body, the wine into His blood. Our reception of the Holy Communion is our opportunity to unite ourselves uniquely with Christ and to draw from Him health, strength and encouragement, to be assured of His promise of eternal life. Rowanne Pasco and John Redford have written;
"The Eucharistic Mystery is the real presence of Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine, sanctifying our churches and places of worship, testing our faith and calling us to adoration. It is the sacred fellowship meal bringing into unity them members of Christ's body, the Church. It is Holy Communion with Christ, not only for the community but for each individual to whom it is a personal gift of grace and divine life. It is the sacrifice of the Mass, by which Christ perpetuates the work of our redemption.
Given the wonder and the power of this sacrament, it is only right and proper to celebrate it every day.