The first fruit and most significant effect of the Eucharist is our union with Christ. Just as our bodies need food to survive, so the body of our Lord Jesus Christ nourishes the new life of God within us which we originally received at baptism. This life is strengthened as we celebrate and receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist (CCC #1391). As a true meal, the Eucharist is an act of union which is a personal one based on knowing and loving God. The Eucharist strengthens and deepens within us that life by which we can know and love Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The second fruit of the Eucharist is the forgiveness of sins, for the celebration of the Eucharist helps us grow in love for God and our neighbor (CCC #1393). The Eucharistic Sacrifice and Holy Communion purify us and give us strength to overcome evil. As we grow in charity and love, we are better prepared to resist temptations and to grow more in Christian virtues. This act of forgiveness of sins is central to the Eucharist.
The third fruit of the Eucharist is our ever-deepening union with our community, with the Church (CCC #1396). Holy Communion is very much linked to our bond with the Church. St. Paul reminds us that the Church is the body of Christ, and we are its members. Linked to Jesus, we are linked to our Church, to our brothers and sisters in community. This is the genuine human brotherhood which the Eucharist is meant to inspire and deepen. And if we are true Christians who are linked to the human brotherhood, we should ask ourselves: Does the Eucharist lead us towards the poor, the sick, the marginalized, recognizing the face of God in them? Are we indifferent, or are we concerned and willing to help those in need?
We, as true believers, recognize Christ when we receive His body and blood in the Eucharist. Through this same breaking of the bread, we see and feel united in love through Christ Jesus. May these words of Christ in John 6:54-56 now have greater meaning in our lives: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” Let us therefore not only receive and eat the Eucharist, but more importantly “live the Eucharist, in a spirit of faith and prayer, a spirit of forgiveness, joy and concern for all our brothers and sisters in need” (Pope Francis General Audience, Feb 2014).