The Eucharist is a sacrament of the Christian religion. It commemorates the death and resurrection of Jesus, where he commanded his apostles to offer bread and wine in remembrance of his sacrifice.(1) The Eucharist is considered by Catholics to be the same body and blood of Jesus Christ.
(1) For example, see Luke 22:19-20; Mark 14:22-24; Matthew 26:26-28
The Eucharist is the only sacrament in the Roman Catholic Church that contains both the consecration and communion. After Mass, Catholics believe that they are in possession of the Eucharist (1) (body and blood), when it has been consecrated at Mass.(2) A priest cannot consecrate the Eucharist without having first received ‘faculties’ from his bishop, which allows him to celebrate Eucharistic mass.(3)
After a Catholic receives Holy Communion, he must fast for one hour before receiving it.(4) In addition, Eucharists celebrated by priests must be consumed within a short period of time after they are consecrated, to avoid the Eucharist becoming ‘per se’ (5) : i.e., Eucharist that was not intended for distribution.(6)
Eucharist is also used to describe the consecrated bread or wine, sometimes with particular reference to the form in which it is celebrated. The Eucharist – Christian religion Eucharist is the central rite of the Christian religion, in which bread and wine are consecrated by an ordained minister and consumed by the minister and members of the congregation in obedience to Jesus’ command at the Last Supper, Do this in remembrance of me.
In the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, and in the Anglican, Lutheran, and many other Protestant churches, it is regarded as a sacrament, which both symbolizes and effects the union of Christ with… Eucharist (the Eucharist) – Eucharist Eucharist (from the Greek Eucharistia, “thanksgiving”) is a Christian sacrament or ordinance. It is usually celebrated in commemoration of Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples, as described in the New Testament.
The Eucharist is a Christian ritual that plays an important part in Easter and other major events or ceremonies. It is the act of sharing bread and wine which, according to Christian tradition, represents the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ.
The Eucharist derives directly from Jesus’s instruction at the Last Supper that his followers should continue to celebrate it until his return. St Paul also refers several times to Eucharistic practices in his letters, though with less detail than the Gospel narratives. According to Eucharistic theology, when Christians eat this bread and drink this wine they are eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ himself.
This doctrine was formulated after many disputes between Christians who believed that Christ was wholly present within the elements (the bread and wine), those who believed that he was only present within the Eucharist in a spiritual sense, and those who believed Christ’s presence was symbolic.
There are different Eucharistic rituals throughout the world, including the Roman Catholic Mass, which is a Eucharistic service held at least once a day. The tradition of the Eucharist as a sacrifice to God, with the priest acting as an intermediary, began with practices by early Christians during meals. Since then Eucharist has been seen as a Eucharistic sacrifice, sometimes called “The Sacrament of Thanksgiving”.
Religious views on Eucharist have been expressed as either transubstantiation or consubstantiation, but these terms have been open to a wide range of meanings and interpretations. Eucharistic theologies describe it as a representation or memorial of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, as a sacramental offering of praise, thanksgiving, and commitment to God’s continuing work in the world, as well as Holy Communion with God himself.
Transubstantiation is defined as “the change of the reality signified by a word into the reality signified by that word.” Eucharist means ‘Thanks giving’. Eucharist does not reflect any change in the elements but only a change in our perception. Eucharist is an experience wherein we have an emotional response, which could be termed to be one of being thankful. Eucharist, therefore, signifies being grateful. Eucharist is a Eucharistic sacrifice when one Eucharistically sacrifices oneself.
Later theologians tend to assert that he instituted Eucharist as a re-presentation of his sacrifice, demonstrating continuity between the sacrifices in the Jewish tradition and his own sacrifice. Baptists have emphasized this command by Jesus, believing it prohibits the Eucharist from being regarded as a ritualistic ceremony or merely an ordinance. The Eucharistic celebration itself reflects this perspective through its simplicity without prescribed liturgy or prayer book, allowing local churches freedom to celebrate Eucharist in whatever way their culture requires.
Eucharistic celebrations frequently include hymns and congregational singing at the Lord’s Supper. This emphasis upon Jesus’ command accounts for Eucharistic celebrations among Baptists occurring more often on Sunday instead of a specific day of the week. Eucharistic celebrations also often include foot-washing as an expression of humility and service, a ritual many Baptist churches have practiced for decades. The Eucharist becomes a means by which God gives grace through Jesus Christ to bring individuals into eternal life with him.
Baptists place less emphasis on the Eucharist being in some sense or another “necessary for salvation” in comparison to other Christian denominations who view it as necessary either in actuality or symbolically. Nonetheless, most Baptists affirm Eucharist is important in Christian faith and worship, though not necessarily required universally at all times for all people. A small minority of Baptists even reject Eucharist, considering it to be a non-Christian ritual. A majority of Baptists, however, would argue Eucharist is not necessary but voluntary.
Some Baptist churches have Eucharistic celebrations infrequently or only twice a year as opportunity allows. Baptists avoid Eucharistic theology which posits Eucharist as an opus operatum (Latin: work performed) offering Christ’s sacrifice to God the Father for the remission of sins. Eucharist may still function as expiation in some Eucharistic theologies (Roman Catholic), but its efficacy does not depend on this sacrificial act; rather, it depends upon faith in Jesus Christ’s promises recorded in Scripture and the Eucharistic celebration itself.
Eucharist may also play a Eucharistic theology role, however, in some Eucharistic theologies (Lutheran), where Eucharist becomes present through faith-filled remembrance of Christ’s death. As an opus operatum, Eucharist results in no benefit for those not believing at the Eucharistic celebration itself because it has already occurred. Baptists have usually avoided Eucharistic theology which makes Eucharist necessary to obtain sanctification or eternal life. This is because Eucharist serves as a sign and seal of God’s grace being received by faith alone rather than necessarily changing its recipient.
Yet Baptists have not rejected Eucharistic theology completely, but instead affirm that Eucharist may have a Eucharistic theology role for those who wish to partake. Eucharist becomes Eucharistic theology a Eucharistic theology symbol of God’s grace being received by faith alone because it is a commemoration of what Christ has done rather than an opus operatum making the achievement real. Baptists have not traditionally regarded Eucharist as a sacrament, considering it to be memorial feast instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper and not something handed down from antiquity as with other sacraments.