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date: 24 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The Eucharist is the Church’s chief act of worship and pre-eminent means by which the lives of the faithful are sanctified by God’s grace. The ritual meals and sacrifices of Israel are the remote origins of the Christian Eucharist, and the proximate origin is Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples. At this meal Jesus associated the bread with his body and the wine with his blood, and he does so in the context of speaking of his death as something he will undergo ‘for’ his disciples, to establish a covenant with God, thus presenting his death and its Eucharistic commemoration in sacrificial terms reminiscent of Exodus 24:3–8. After a discussion of the development of the Eucharistic liturgy, the essay considers in more detail the Eucharist as a sacrifice in order to put in context Catholic teaching on the real presence of Christ under the forms of bread and wine.

Keywords: Eucharist, transubstantiation, sacrifice, liturgy, body, presence, ritual, body and blood

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