July 17, 2023
“This is my body given for you.”
(Luke 22:19) …Awesome God People reaching for God and God reaching for people. We can’t get there on our own.
We, parish, Diocese, Catholic churches in the United States, have entered into the second year of the Eucharistic Renewal. At the beginning of the Renewal last year, several members of the parish
shared their reflections on what it means for them to come to Mass.
As we begin year two, I’d ask that we take several weeks this summer to pay particular attention to the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass. What does this prayer call us to? What does it say about our beliefs? Let’s listen to and meaningfully pray the Eucharistic Prayer. How is our heart touched?
The following information comes from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) website.
Liturgy of the Eucharist
The Liturgy of the Eucharist begins with the preparation of the gifts and the altar. As the ministers prepare the altar, representatives of the people bring forward the bread and wine that will become the Body
and Blood of Christ. The celebrant blesses and praises God for these gifts and places them on the altar, the place of the Eucharistic sacrifice. In addition to the bread and wine, monetary gifts for the support of the
Church and the care of the poor may be brought forward. The Prayer over the Offerings concludes this preparation and disposes all for the Eucharistic Prayer.
The Eucharistic Prayer is the heart of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In this prayer, the celebrant acts in the person of Christ as head of his body, the Church. He gathers not only the bread and the wine, but the substance of our lives and joins them to Christ’s perfect sacrifice, offering them to the Father. The introductory dialogue, establishes that this prayer
is the prayer of the baptized and ordained, is offered in the presence of God, and has thanksgiving as its central focus. Following this dialogue, the celebrant begins the Preface.
The Eucharistic Prayers make clear that these prayers are offered, not to Christ, but to the Father. It is worship offered to the Father by Christ as it was at the moment of his passion, death and resurrection, but now it is offered through the priest acting in the person of Christ, and it is offered as well by all of the baptized, who are part of Christ’s Body, the Church. This is the action of Christ’s Body, the Church at Mass.
The priest offers the Eucharistic Prayer in the first person plural, for example, “Therefore, O Lord, we humbly implore you…” This “we” signifies that all the baptized present at the Eucharistic celebration make the sacrificial offering in union with Christ, and pray the Eucharistic Prayer in union with him. And what is most important, we do not offer
Christ alone; we are called to offer ourselves, our lives, our individual efforts to grow more like Christ and our efforts as a community of believers to spread God’s Word and to serve God’s people, to the Father in union with Christ through the hands of the priest. Most wonderful of all, although our offering is in itself imperfect, joined with the offering of Christ it becomes perfect praise and thanksgiving to the Father.