Liturgy of the Eucharist – Part 1

March 27th, 2011  |  Published in New Roman Missal

Dear Friends,

As we continue reviewing the revised translation of the Roman Missal for use beginning November 27th, I’d like to begin discussing the Liturgy of the Eucharist today. The Liturgy of the Eucharist begins with the Preparation of the Gifts. After the priest receives the gifts of bread and wine they are placed on the altar, raised up and offered to God. There is a prayer for the bread and one for the wine (sometimes these prayers are prayed out loud, sometimes they are spoken quietly).

The current prayers we use are well known by us and the changes (in bold below) are relatively minor. When the priest offers the bread he will say: “Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life.”

When he offers up the chalice with the wine his words will be: “Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink.”

The response of the people remains unchanged: “Blessed be God forever.”

The prayers over the bread and wine are very important. They express the sacramental reality of the liturgy. Through our human labor we offer back to God what is already His. As you can see from the above revised translations, we first “received” these gifts from God, and through our offering them back to Him, God brings them to their heavenly fulfillment. Reflecting on this, doesn’t this same reality apply to our lives as Christians? Just as the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, we look forward to our resurrection in glorified bodies (as we just declared in the Creed), as well as to the perfection of all creation in the heavenly Jerusalem.

Peace,
Fr. John

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