What is the Eucharist? Eucharist is a Greek word meaning thanksgiving it refers to the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. Woah hold on, what does that mean? What was an ordinary piece of bread or just wine was transubstantiated into the body and blood of Jesus, it is changed as the priest, a vessel of God here on earth, consecrates it as Jesus is sacrificed again in the mass.
14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”[a] Luke Chapter 22 NIV
Jesus sent his apostles to continue that sacrifice as He did. “Do this in remembrance of Me.” We continue to offer the same sacrifice every time a mass is said the bread is broken and it becomes his body and is distributed amongst the faithful. Then the priest takes the cup into his consecrated hands saying the words Jesus used and the wine becomes His blood, which was poured out for the forgiveness of sins when He died on the cross. How do we really know it is His body and blood? At the Last Supper, in Matthew 26, Jesus held up the bread and said – “This IS my Body”. Notice He didn’t say –“This represents my Body”, or “This is a symbol of my Body”.
Now why must we receive the body and blood of Christ?
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.” John 6 53-58 NIV
“He who eats MY flesh and drinks MY blood will have everlasting life.” The everlasting life He was referring to was the eternal life we find when we enter the kingdom of heaven. “And I will raise him up on the last day.”