Catechism of the Catholic Church

336 Part Two it is the Sacrament of sacraments. The Eucharistic species reserved in the tabernacle are designated by this same name. 1331 Holy Communion, because by this sacrament we unite our- selves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body. 151 We also call it: the holy things (ta hagia; sancta) 152 —the first meaning of the phrase “communion of saints” in theApostles’ Creed— the bread of angels, bread from heaven, medicine of immortality, 153 viaticum. . . . 1332 Holy Mass (Missa ), because the liturgy in which the mystery of salvation is accomplished concludeswith the sending forth ( missio ) of the faithful, so that they may fulfill God’s will in their daily lives. III. T he E ucharist in the E conomy of S alvation The signs of bread and wine 1333 At theheart of theEucharistic celebrationare thebreadandwine that, by thewords of Christ and the invocation of theHoly Spirit, become Christ’s Body and Blood. Faithful to the Lord’s command the Church continues to do, in hismemory and until his glorious return, what he did on the eve of his Passion: “He took bread. . . .” “[T]aking the chalice filled withthe fruitof thevine. . . .”Thesignsofbreadandwinebecome, inaway 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, 154 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 andwine,” a prefiguring of her own offering. 155 1334 In the Old Covenant bread and wine were offered in sacrifice among the first fruits of the earth as a sign of grateful acknowledgment to the Creator. But they also received a new significance in the context of the Exodus: the unleavened bread that Israel eats every year at Passover commemorates the haste of the departure that liberated them from Egypt; the remembrance of the manna in the desert will always recall to Israel that it lives by the bread of the Word of God; 156 their daily bread is the fruit of the promised land, the pledge of God’s faithfulness to his promises. 151 Cf. 1 Cor 10:16-17. 152 Apostolic Constitutions 8, 13, 12: PG 1, 1108; Didache 9, 5; 10:6: SCh248, 176-178. 153 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Eph. 20, 2: SCh 10, 76. 154 Roman Missal , Eucharistic Prayer IV, 120; Cf. Ps 104:13-15. 155 Gen 14:18; cf. Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 93. 156 Cf. Deut 8:3. 950 948 1405 849 1350 1147 1148 1150 1363