The term ‘Mass’ refers to the service of Holy Communion (also known as the Holy Eucharist). At this service bread and wine are presented at the altar and consecrated as the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. These sacred elements are then distributed to the people, each receiving a small wafer (the Lord’s Body) and wine (the Lord’s Blood).
We can find the origins of the Eucharist (Greek: to give thanks) in the New Testament. During the Last Supper Jesus took bread and asked his friends to share it, saying ‘This is my body which is given for you - do this to remember me.’ Then after the meal he took a cup of wine and gave it to them saying, ‘Drink this; this is my blood which is shed for you. Do this to remember me.’
Since the Last Supper Christians have always done what Jesus asked them to do - to take bread and wine, repeat his words and remember him. But the Eucharist is not just an act of remembrance - it is a scared and transformative meal in which we encounter the risen Jesus at a deep and profound level.
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