In his weekly General Audience in St. Peter's Square today, Pope Francis offered a reflection on the importance of the sacrament of the Eucharist in the life of the Church, a sacrament that his predecessor Blessed Pope John Paul II called "the source and summit" of the Catholic faith. “The Eucharist configures us in a unique and profound way with Jesus, renewing our heart, our existence, and our relationship with Him and with our brothers, and gives us a foretaste of communion with the Father in the banquet of the King of heaven,” Francis said.
“In our catechesis on the sacraments of Christian initiation, we now reflect on the Eucharist, the sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood. This sacrament is the heart of Christian initiation and the Church’s fountain of life, which accompanies every step of our pilgrimage of faith, fellowship and witness.” The Holy Father then explained that the layout of most Catholic churches focuses on the centrality of the Eucharist in our faith, beginning with the altar in the center “a table that has been prepared and that makes us think of a banquet, and on the table, there is a cross to indicate that Christ’s sacrifice is offered on that altar. He is the food we receive under the species of bread and wine,” the Pope taught. “Next to the table, there is the ambo, which is where the Word of God is proclaimed, through which the Lord speaks to us.”
When Jesus broke bread and offered the cup at the Last Supper, this act was “foreshadowing of his sacrifice on the Cross,” the Pope explained. “In the Eucharistic sacrifice, Jesus has thus given us the supreme prayer of thanksgiving to God our merciful Father...“the Church performs the memorial of the Easter of the Lord, in which Christ is made mysteriously present and we are able to participate.”
We can say that we receive communion, in Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection, thus, the Eucharist configures us in a unique and profound way with Jesus,” the Successor of Peter explained. “It renews our heart, our existence, and our relationship with Him and with our brothers, and gives us a foretaste of communion with the Father in the banquet of the King of heaven. Let us ask the Lord, present in this holy sacrament, always to shape our lives and our communities.”