The Eucharist and the Parts of the Mass—Part 3

08-08-2021Fr. Charlie's Homilies & Teaching NotesFr. Charlie
  • The celebration of the Eucharist is a confluence of three events:
    • the Eucharist is a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Father, a blessing by which the Church expresses her gratitude to God for all his blessings to us. The very word, Eucharist, is Greek for “thanksgiving.”
    • It is a memorial of the Lord’s Supper, the night He instituted the priesthood and the Eucharist.
    • It is a communion with Jesus, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. We consume His Body and Blood, and He becomes part of us. It also makes us one with the whole Church.
  • Again, how important is the Eucharist? Jesus said that unless we eat his flesh and drink his blood, we will not have life within us. 
  • When the bread and wine are consecrated, it may look and taste like bread and wine, but it is not. It is now the Body and Blood of Jesus.  We call that Transubstantiation. 
    • That is a complex, philosophical term, meaning that despite the fact that the bread and wine continue to look and taste like bread and wine, a total and permanent change has taken place in them to become the Body and Blood of Christ.
  • I don’t know when we will be allowed to go back to sharing the Precious Blood. And while it is a fuller expression of the Presence of Christ, our teaching is that if you just eat the host or drink the Blood, you are consuming both the Body and the Blood of Christ.  Even the smallest particle of Holy Communion is both.  We call this the doctrine of concomitance.  
  • Another doctrine of the Church regarding the Eucharist is called, ex operé operato. What this means is that when a validly ordained priest who celebrates the Mass as the Church prescribes, you can be absolutely certain that Jesus becomes present on that altar—regardless of the sanctity (or lack thereof) of the priest.  He can be a scoundrel or a saint and yet, Jesus becomes present.
    • If he is living a double life, he puts his own soul in jeopardy; but the sacraments he officiates will be valid for everyone.
  • Protestants are always on the lookout for where they might find a better preacher or better music. These are important for Catholics too; but our center is the Eucharist—no matter who is behind that altar.
  • There are 5 effects that receiving the Eucharist have on us:
    1. We become more united with Jesus Christ. “He who eats by flesh and drinks my blood abides in Me and I in Him.” Jn 6:56 When you receive Him, for 15 minutes or so, you are a walking tabernacle.
    2. It strengthens us for spiritual battle against sin. The Eucharist does not forgive our mortal sins.  We should never come forward to receive the Holy Eucharist if we are in a state of mortal sin—as defined by the Church. We need to first go to confession.  But worthy reception of Communion does fortify us to resist the sinful inclinations of our fallen nature (called concupiscence). 
    3. Venial sins are literally wiped away. Venial sins represent disordered attachments to anything that might take precedent over Christ in our lives; it is a small problem that CAN and WILL grow if we neglect it.  The Eucharist drives a wedge between us and our tendency to keep repeating these sins.
    4. A unity is created among us and among all others who are receiving the same Body and Blood of Christ. We are literally brothers and sisters with everyone in the world who is receiving communion. 
      1. “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” – 1 Corinthians 10:17
      2. And this union, while we may not even know their names, is, in many cases deeper than the ties between our blood relations—unless they too are in communion. That is the best of both worlds.
    5. The Eucharist reminds us of our duty to help those who have less than us and who are struggling just to survive. The Eucharist empowers us to be the Servant Church. Mass is, more than anything, an exercise in humility.

The Liturgy of the Word

Mass is divided into two main parts—Liturgy of the Word and Eucharist. After the Collect, or opening prayer we move into Liturgy of the Word.

How important is the Word of God: Ignorance of the Scriptures is Ignorance of God (St.  Jerome)

Readings divided into three year-long cycles  A, B, C.  A=Matthew, B=Mark, C=Luke. The year begins 1st Sunday of Advent and goes to the Feast of Christ the King. We’re currently in Year B.

Sunday’s Readings:

  1. Normal pattern is one from OT, NT and Gospel.  During Easter that changes because first reading is from Acts of the Apostles.
  2. OT reading is chosen to anticipate and reflect light upon the meaning of the Gospel reading. Careful reading of the OT and Gospel will give you the central theme which the Church has for us today.  (The NT reading is on its own cycle). 

If you go to Mass every day, in the course of three years you will hear most of the Bible proclaimed.

Importance of Word of God:

  • We process in with the Book of the Gospels held high—Jesus is coming in.
  • We stand for the Gospel, just like we do for a Bride who is entering the Church. The Gospel has pride of place in the Scriptures for us.
  • Alleluia (one of three Hebrew Words in the mass: Hosanna and Amen).  It means=radiate the Lord.
  • Gospel can only be proclaimed by Priest or Deacon.
  • Prayers before proclamation:  “that the Word might enlighten our minds, cleanse our hearts, and open our lips, to proclaim the praise of the Lord.”
  • After proclamation, the Gospel is kissed as a sign of reverence and gratitude.
  • Vat II (Divine Revelation) strongly encourages our reading of Bible.
    • But we do so with help of Catechism and Catholic commentaries. There are numerous apparently contradictory passages that we need help in reconciling, which is why we have the Catechism. 
  • We Catholics are not literalists or fundamentalists. We believe that the Bible is inerrant with respect to the saving truths it teaches, not literally every word written. 
    • Nor do we believe in only the Bible, because in John itself it says that there were many other things that Jesus did and said that were not written down.  So, for Catholics, it is on the inseparable combination of the Bible and the Sacred Tradition of the Church, that we base our teachings.


To explain the meaning of the Scriptures, or the Liturgical theme or to teach some topic which is alluded to or rooted in the readings.  Can also give a catechetical series, as we are doing during these weeks. 

Profession of Faith

Contains the major truths (not all) that define what it means to be a Christian.  (reverent bow at …was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became Man…).  Blood was shed to write this document, because the Bible didn’t tell us that there were Three persons in One God; that Jesus is Divine; that the Holy Spirit is Divine.  The Church, led by the writings of the Bible and the Church Fathers and the Holy Spirit discerned this and defined it.  That is why so many groups fall into heresy if they just limit themselves to the Bible (like Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses).

General Intercessions

We bring our needs before the Lord.  They are introduced by the Priest, but read by Deacon, lector or another layperson. We pray for the Church, civic leaders, needs of the world, needs of local community (sick, dying, grieving).  We pray for all of you.  The priest says the closing prayer which is directed to God the Father through Jesus the Son.