The Mercy of the Eucharist

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In many churches of the Eastern rites, it’s traditional for the congregation to gather outside the sealed church on Easter morning, symbolizing Christ’s time in the tomb. The priest, with his hand cross, knocks three times on the main door and it is thrown open. The people enter, as if entering Christ’s kingdom, to adore their risen savior in the Eucharist.

The ritual reminds us of the opening of the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica that began this Jubilee Year of Mercy—illustrating the idea that, during the Jubilee, the faithful are offered what Pope Francis called an “extraordinary pathway” towards salvation.

In an important way, the message of Easter is forever linked to the message of the Last Supper.

At the Last Supper, Jesus transformed bread and wine into his body and blood. In his resurrection, the risen Christ gives himself to us both in the fullness of his divinity and in his glorified humanity.

As Pope Francis suggests: “In the Eucharist we feel this belonging to the Church, to the People of God, to the Body of God, to Jesus Christ. We will never completely grasp the value and the richness of it.”

Our prayer today: Merciful Jesus, we pray to become more and more worthy of the gift of your body and blood in the Holy Eucharist.

(The image is the Ukrainian icon, "Resurrection of Christ," the Anastasis)


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