In the celebration of Eucharist, the bread and wine which are bought up to the altar during the Offertory become the Body and Blood of Christ. In the early church, the hallmark of being a Christian was to gather with other believers on the Lord’s Day to celebrate the Breaking of the Bread. It is the same today: we gather as a community on Sunday at Mass to celebrate the Eucharist.
The Mass is central to the life of the Catholic Church. The purpose of the Mass is to give thanks and praise to God for the gift of our salvation obtained through the death of Jesus on the cross.
When we celebrate Mass, we hear the story of our faith - the story of Jesus. This story is told in the readings from scripture, in the homily, in the words of the Creed and in the Eucharistic Prayer which always includes the words and actions of Christ at the Last Supper with his Apostles on the night before his suffering and death. As we hear again of these past events, the Holy Spirit brings them into the present so that we become part of the story and participate in it.
In the celebration of Eucharist at Mass, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. Those who share the Body and Blood of Christ become the body of Christ that is sent out to bring the love of Christ to others.
The word communion comes from the Greek koinonia meaning fellowship or sharing. When we receive communion at Mass, we are brought into closer relationship with one another as well as with Christ. Receiving the Body of Christ at Mass calls us to live what we receive and believe, to show that Christ is present in our world through all that we do and say.