From Ignatius of Antioch to the Eucharist
– One of the many battles Ignatius fought in the early Church was against the
Docetists who did not believe in the corporal existence of Christ, rather they
thought that Jesus appeared in human form – more like an apparition.
In response to the Docetists Ignatius taught that Jesus’ humanity is essential to
our faith because if he were not human then he would not be able to affect our
salvation through the Pascal Mystery. It is precisely this that led Ignatius to state
that the denial of the Eucharistic presence of Christ was a denial of the
incarnational nature of our God that was exemplified through the life, death and
resurrection of Jesus. Further he stated that the Eucharist is “the medicine of
– Eucharist as ultimate gift into the participation of the life of God which is
the incarnational event of Jesus himself.
– John 3:16-17
– As Christians we are all called to live in union with others and our God because
this way of living is exemplified in the unity of the Trinity. The most real way we
have access to this reality is through participation in the Eucharist because it is
through this that we enter more fully into the Pascal Mystery. Thus the Catechism
of the Catholic Church states:
1324 The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.”136 “The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.”137(Pasch – is an adaption of the word referring to Passover)
1325 “The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God’s action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit.”138
<a href="http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=4607874603160957938" name="13261326 Finally, by the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all.139
– Many things can be said about the Eucharist, but our focus today is on the element
of unity that participation in the Eucharistic life of Church brings.
– The coming together around table
– Think about the importance of table in our lives
– Ideally we come around a table to eat and join in the
story/life of others
– Luke 24:13-35
– In celebration
– What usually do we do to celebrate joyous and sometimes
sorrowful things in our lives?
– The Last Supper Matt. 26:26-30
– Is a celebration of Passover, both old and new
– Jesus as Lamb to be sacrificed
– As call to participate in the life and reconciliation of others
– Apostles are to “do this in memory of me.” – Luke 22:14-20
– The Didache : On the Lord’s own day, assemble in common to break bread
and offer thanks; but first confess your sins, so that your sacrifice may be
pure. However, no one quarreling with his brother may join your meeting
until they are reconciled; your sacrifice must not be defiled. For here we have
the saying of the Lord: In every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice; for I
am a mighty King, says the Lord; and my name spreads terror among the
nations. [Mal 1:11,14].
– Also a remembrance and participation in the Pascal Mystery
– Again a link to the passage of the call from Ignatius to come
together around the Eucharist to look after the least….
– By receiving Eucharist we participate in the one body of Christ
– 1 Corinthians 12:12-13
– The Eucharist joins us more fully to the life and love of God as
we see in paragraph 1416 of the Catechism:
1416 Communion with the Body and Blood of Christ increases the communicant’s union with the Lord, forgives his venial sins, and preserves him from grave sins. Since receiving this sacrament strengthens the bonds of charity between the communicant and Christ, it also reinforces the unity of the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ.