The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
loved by God is presented to the Father through the death and the
Resurrection of Christ. Through Christ the Church can offer the
sacrifice of praise in thanksgiving for all that God has made good,
beautiful, and just in creation and in humanity.
The Eucharist is a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Father, a
blessing by which the Church expresses her gratitude to God for
all his benefits, for all that he has accomplished through creation,
redemption, and sanctification. Eucharist means first of all
The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of praise by which the
Church sings the glory of God in the name of all creation. This
sacrifice of praise is possible only through Christ: he unites the
faithful to his person, to his praise, and to his intercession, so that
the sacrifice of praise to the Father is offered
him, to be accepted
The sacrificial memorial of Christ and of his Body, the Church
The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ’s Passover, the
making present and the sacramental offering of his unique sacri-
fice, in the liturgy of the Church which is his Body. In all the
Eucharistic Prayers we find after the words of institution a prayer
In the sense of Sacred Scripture the
is not merely
the recollection of past events but the proclamation of the mighty
works wrought by God for men.
In the liturgical celebration of
these events, they become in a certain way present and real. This is
how Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Pass-
over is celebrated, the Exodus events are made present to the
memory of believers so that they may conform their lives to them.
In the New Testament, the memorial takes on newmeaning.
When theChurchcelebrates theEucharist, she commemoratesChrist’s
Passover, and it ismade present: the sacrifice Christ offered once for all
on the cross remains ever present.
“As often as the sacrifice of the
Cross by which ‘Christ our Pasch has been sacrificed’ is celebrated on
the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out.”
Because it is the memorial of Christ’s Passover, the Eucha-
rist is also a sacrifice. The sacrificial character of the Eucharist is
manifested in the very words of institution: “This is my body which
1 Cor 5:7.