The Eucharist is not simply something we receive; it is something we do. The Eucharist is not simply a noun; it is fundamentallya verb, an action. Now we believe many important things about the noun of the Eucharist. We believe that the bread and winebecome for us the real Body and Blood of the Lord. This is what we celebrate today on the Feast of Corpus Christi. When weeat this bread and drink this cup we receive into our hearts the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus. This is a great mysteryand a great treasure. We should receive the Eucharist often. But we cannot appreciate the Body and Blood of the Lord, the nounof the Eucharist, if we separate it from the verb of the Eucharist. For it is the action of the Eucharist that allows the bread andwine to become the Body and Blood of Christ for us.
So, what is the action of the Eucharist? It is what we do together every weekend. What do we do? We gather, we listen, we bless,we eat, and we go forth. All these verbs are verbs of Eucharist. We gather from our homes, from our work and come together in this place to create an assembly, a community of believers. The gathering is important because the action of the Eucharist is not the action of one person but of many.
It is the action of the church. We listen: we hear the Word of God proclaimed in the Scriptures and in the homily and we remember what God has done for us, what God has promised us and how God is active in our lives. We bless: we bless God in the Eucharistic Prayer, we stand together from the Holy, Holy to the Great Amen and say this prayer of blessing and consecration.It is the priest who says the words, but the prayer is not the priest’s prayer, it is our prayer, the prayer of the whole assembly and when we bless and pray this prayer together in memory of Jesus, the real presence of Jesus comes into our midst. We then eat the Body and Blood of the Lord, receiving the nourishment of Christ and then we go forth, forth from this place to bring Christ’s message to the world.These are the verbs of the Eucharist: gathering, listening, blessing, eating, and going forth. Only in the context of this action is the true significance of the Body and Blood of Christ clear. The action of blessing in the Eucharist reveals to us our dignity as daughters and sons of God. The tremendous gift of Christ’s Body and Blood would not happen if we did not ask for it. It is in the Eucharistic Prayer, led by the priest, that the community asks for the gift ofChrist’s presence. God’s willingness to honor our prayer reveals our dignity as God’s own children.There is no doubt that the Body and Blood of Christ, Christ’s Real Presence, is a tremendous gift to us, but the meaning of thatgift is not clear if it is separated from the action of the Eucharist. Eucharist is a verb: gathering, listening, blessing, eating, going forth. It is we the church, reminding ourselves of our dignity and obligation. We do not simply receive the Eucharist. We do it! So, let’s do it now!