The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen gentium, 11). The Eucharist completes Christian initiation (Baptism and Confirmation) and welcomes all those who participate in the Eucharist to unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us: “At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ’s Body and Blood. Faithful to the Lord’s command the Church continues to do, in his memory and until his glorious return, what he did on the eve of his Passion: “He took bread. . . .” “He took the cup filled with wine. . . .” The signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ; they continue also to signify the goodness of creation. Thus in the Offertory we give thanks to the Creator for bread and wine, fruit of the “work of human hands,” but above all as “fruit of the earth” and “of the vine” – gifts of the Creator. The Church sees in the gesture of the king-priest Melchizedek, who “brought out bread and wine,” a prefiguring of her own offering” (CCC, 1333).
From the beginning of Christianity, the Eucharist has been celebrated by the faithful. People gave up their lives as martyrs for Christ by their desire to receive the Blessed Body and Blood of Our Lord. Like all sacraments, it should not be taken indifferently or without adequate preparation. The Eucharist is God’s gift to us: the Eucharist is the sacrament of love and a bond of charity. “The Church earnestly desires that Christ’s faithful, when present at this mystery of faith, should not be there as strangers or silent spectators. On the contrary, through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action, conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full cooperation” (Sacrosanctum concilium, 47). By coming together at mass, we — the People of God — actively participate in the mass as One Body, One Church.
The Eucharist is for all baptized Catholics and those who are in communion with the Roman Catholic Church. If you are in doubt about whether or not you are allowed to receive Holy Communion, then approach a priest prior the mass beginning and ask. Those who are in a grave state of sin should seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation before receiving Holy Communion.