The Eucharist is central to Advent conversion

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Advent Eucharist

This sacred season of Advent, while a time of joyful anticipation, is also a call to conversion and preparation of our hearts. As we reflect on the humble birth of Christ in Bethlehem, our thoughts naturally turn to the profound mystery of the Eucharist. The journey of Advent and the celebration of the Eucharist are deeply intertwined since both events are ways Christ comes to us. In this season of expectant waiting, he invites us to delve deeper into the understanding of our communion with him.

We live in a time when there seems to be a lessening of faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and an increasing thoughtlessness in our celebration of the sacrament. We need to reawaken to the awesomeness of the Incarnation. The Son of God, made man, who lay in the manger on Christmas Day is the same Son of God who is truly present on the altar at each Mass.

Christ’s abiding presence

Advent is a time when we are called to awaken from our slumber, to turn away from sin, and to be renewed in our commitment to follow Christ. This penitential aspect of Advent is not about dwelling on our unworthiness, but about recognizing our deep need for the Savior who comes to us in humility and love. It is a time to reflect on our lives, to open ourselves to healing, and to make straight the path for the Lord (Luke 3:4).

The Eucharist, as the sacrifice of Christ made present to us, is intrinsically connected to this call for conversion. Each time we participate in the Holy Mass, we are invited to enter into the mystery of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, a sacrifice that brought about the redemption of the world. In the Eucharist, we are nourished by the very body and blood of Christ, which strengthens us to turn away from sin and to live more fully in His grace. It is an opportune time to reflect upon our relationship with Christ and how we live out this relationship each day. During Advent, let’s prepare not only to celebrate the historical event of Christ’s birth–God made man–but also to recognize and cherish His abiding presence in our lives through the Eucharist.

In the Eucharist, we encounter the same Jesus who was born in Bethlehem. Just as the Christ child was laid in a manger, a place of nourishment for animals, so too is Christ present in the Eucharist, offering Himself as our spiritual nourishment. This profound mystery reminds us that in every Mass, we are invited to partake in a unique communion with Christ. He invites you to an intimate relationship under the humble appearances of bread and wine. His heart is calling yours to friendship, to love.


A continuous journey

This Advent, let us approach the Eucharist with a renewed sense of awe and gratitude. As we receive Christ in the Eucharist, let us contemplate His incredible humility and love, which led Him to become one of us and to remain with us in this most Blessed Sacrament. Each Eucharistic celebration is a call to embrace Christ more fully, to allow Him to transform our lives, and to unite ourselves with Him in a profound communion of love and grace.

Moreover, the penitential nature of Advent calls us to reconciliation, to align our lives more closely with the heart of Christ. The sacrament of Reconciliation prepares us to receive the Eucharist worthily, deepening our union with Christ. It is in this sacramental life of the Church that we find the true meaning of Advent: a continuous journey of coming closer to Christ, of welcoming Him into our hearts, and of allowing His grace to renew and transform us.

As we prepare our hearts for the celebration of Christmas, let us cherish the gift of the Eucharist, where we experience the real and abiding presence of Christ. May this Advent be a time of spiritual growth and deeper communion with our Lord, as we joyfully anticipate the celebration of His birth.

Archbishop Alexander K. Sample

Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample is the archbishop of Portland, Oregon.