‘The Last Supper’ Juan de Juanes [1523-1579]

Course Description

The Catechism of the Catholic Church beautifully tells us that, “The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch” (n.1324). It is hoped therefore that after studying this course, students will have a more profound encounter with their Lord and Saviour each time they receive him in the Eucharist.

Beginning with an investigation into the scriptural basis for the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist, students will dive deeply into the Old Testament exploring the themes of ‘Covenant’ and ‘Sacrifice.’ Here we will look at the different covenants God made with his people throughout Salvation History and how they were enacted through the offering of sacrifices. Moving from the Old to the New Testament students will explore what the New Testament teaches about the Eucharist.

Upon completing our investigation of the scriptural basis for the Eucharist we will turn our attention to the theology of the Eucharist, as especially seen in the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). We will see how the Eucharist is the solemn sacrifice of Mount Calvary, where Jesus is not sacrificed over and over again, but through the power of this divinely instituted sacrament, Jesus makes his one salvific sacrifice present under the appearances of bread and wine to be offered by successive generations of believers. We will also see how the Eucharist is a sacred meal, whereby we encounter and receive our risen Lord Jesus, in his real Eucharistic Presence: his Parousia. We will especially explore how Aquinas sees the Eucharist and Jesus’ sacrifice on Mount Calvary as one and the same sacrifice. The course will conclude by looking at the Mass revealed in the Book of Revelation as ‘Heaven on Earth.’

So come and enjoy this beautiful course on the Eucharist and the Mass!

Course Objectives

  1. To increase in our love and devotion for Jesus in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist.
  2. To see the Old Testament roots of the Eucharist.
  3. To gain an understanding of the New Testament’s teaching of the Eucharist.
  4. To learn about St. Thomas Aquinas’ theology of the Eucharist.

Course Duration

6 Weeks: 12 Hours (i.e., two hours, one night a week).

Recommended Reading

Texts Recommended for Purchase by Course Participants:

Gray, Tim. Sacraments in Scripture: Salvation History Made Present. Steubenville, Ohio: Emmaus Road Publishing, 2001.

Hahn, Scott W. Consuming the Word: The New Testament and the Eucharist in the Early Church. New York: Doubleday, 2013.

Pitre, Brant. Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper. New York: Doubleday, 2011.

Popular Level Reading:

Barron, Robert E. Eucharist. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2008.

Cantalamessa, Raniero, and Frances Lonergan Villa. The Eucharist: Our Sanctification. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1993.

Clark, Stephen B. Catholics and the Eucharist: A Scriptural Introduction. Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Publications, 2000.

Flynn, Vinny. 7 Secrets of the Eucharist. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2006.

Hahn, Scott W. Swear to God: The Promise and Power of the Sacraments. New York: Doubleday, 2004.

_________. The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth. New York: Doubleday, 1999.

LaVerdiere, Eugene. Dining in the Kingdom of God: The Origins of Eucharist according to Luke. Chicago: Liturgical Training Publications, 1994.

_________. The Breaking of the Bread: The Development of the Eucharist according to Acts. Chicago: Liturgical Training Publications, 1998.

_________. The Eucharist in the New Testament and the Early Church. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1996.

Mitchell, Nathan. Real Presence: The Work of Eucharist. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2000.

O’Conner, James T. The Hidden Manna: A Theology of the Eucharist. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005.

Pennington, M. Basil. The Eucharist: Wine of Faith Bread of Life. Liguori, Missouri: Liguori Publications, 2000.

Pope Benedict XVI. Heart of the Christian Life: Thoughts on Holy Mass. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010.

Pope John Paul II. Ecclesia de Eucharistia: On The Eucharist. USCCB Publishing, 2003.

Ratzinger, Joseph. A New Song for the Lord: Faith in Christ and Liturgy Today. Translated by Martha M. Matesich. New York: Crossroad, 1996.

_________. Feasts of Faith: Approaches to a Theology of the Liturgy. Translated by Graham Harrison. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986.

_________. God is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life. Translated by Henry Taylor. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2003.

Thematic Works for this Course:

Catholic Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Homebush: St Pauls, 1994.

_________. Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, New Revised Edition, vol. 1. Edited by Austin Flannery. New York: Costello Publishing Company, 1996.

Scholarly Level Reading:

Aquinas, Thomas. Summa theologiæ, Tertia pars, qq.73-83, vols. 4-5. Westminster, Maryland: Christian Classics, 1981.

Auer, Johann and Joseph Ratzinger. A General Doctrine of the Sacraments and the Mystery of the Eucharist. (Dogmatic Theology 6). Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1995.

Bieler, Andrea. The Eucharist: Bodies, Bread, & Resurrection. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2007.

Bouyer, Louis. Eucharist: Theology and Spirituality of the Eucharistic Prayer. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1989.

Foley, Edward. From Age to Age: How Christians Have Celebrated the Eucharist. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2009.

Kilpatrick, G.D. The Eucharist in Bible and Liturgy. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Kodell, Jerome. Eucharist in the New Testament. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1988.

Mazza, Enrico. Mystagogy: A Theology of the Liturgy in the Patristic Age. Translated by Matthew J. O’Connell. New York: Pueblo Publishing Company, 1989.

Morrill, Bruce T. Encountering Christ in the Eucharist: The Paschal Mystery in People, Word, and Sacrament. New York: Paulist Press, 2012.

O’Loughlin, Frank. Christ Present in the Eucharist. Sydney: St Pauls Publications, 2000.

Ratzinger, Joseph. God is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life. Translated by Henry Taylor. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2003.

_________. Heart of the Christian Life: Thoughts on Holy Mass. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010.

Schillebeeckx, Edward. The Eucharist. London: Burns and Oats, 2005.

Wainwright, Geoffrey. Eucharist and Eschatology. Akron, OH: OSL Publications, 2002.

Walsh, Liam G. Sacraments of Initiation: A Theology of Life, Word, and Rite. Chicago: Hillenbrand Books, 2011.

Woodbury, Austin. The Essence of the Sacrifice of the Mass. Sydney: Aquinas Academy (unpublished text), 1974.