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In the Greek language the word artos (άρτος) means bread and is derived from the verb ar-ar-isko (αρ-αρ-ίσκω) i.e. to prepare, to connect; therefore, artos points to the procedure (kneading, baking) of bread making.
Since artos describes the most basic human (type of) food it might belong to a linguistic sub-layer of most ancient words which predate the Indo-european languages. Arto = corn bread and in Spanish artal= a type of pie.
In the Ancient Testament, the Septuagint translation into Greek renders the Hebrew word “lechem” as artos indicating not only the bread, but food in general.
This meaning of artos is preserved in the New Testament too.
In everyday parlance psomi (ψωμί) is used in modern Greek instead of artos, which is considered formal and its use is confined mostly in the liturgical language of the Church and in composite words such as artopoios (arto=poios=bread maker / baker) αρτοποιός etc. Ψωμί comes from the verb psao, psoo / psoao, ψάω, ψώω / ψοάω = to rub, to pound (wheat into flour).
The Eucharistic bread (ο Ευχαριστιακός άρτος) is the Body of Christ, a living and life-giving bread.
In every day living the wine symbolizes everything pleasant that life can offer, friendship, human love and, in general, every earthly joy with all its ambiguities too.
In the New Testament the wine is the symbol of the Messianic times. Jesus indeed declares that the New Testament He inaugurates in His Person is the new wine which tears the old flasks apart.
The same meaning comes from Saint John’s narrative of the miracle at the wedding in Cana (John ch. 2): the wedding wine, the good wine which was kept “until now”, is the gift of Christ’s love, a demonstration of the joy the Messiah’s coming brings about.
Finally, the term “new wine” is found again in Matthew (Mt. 20, 20) in order to remind us the eschatological (last) Banquet Jesus has prepared for His faithful in the Father’s kingdom. Then the Messianic times will end having reached their fulfillment.
The usage of wine, then, is for the Christian not only a motive for gratitude, but also an opportunity to recall to memory the sacrifice which is the well-spring of salvation and unending joy.
Did you know…
In church, when we approach to receive the Holy Communion the priest as he holds out the Eucharistic bread to us he says: “the Body of Christ” to which we reply “Amen“. Why are we saying “amen“? Do we know its meaning>
The word Amen with which we finish practically every prayer and very often use it in the liturgy of the Church is a adverb of the Hebrew language. It expresses certitude, solidity and faithfulness. Its exact translation would be: certainly, truly, surely, (emphatically) yes!
When someone says Amen he declares that he considers true what he has just heard; so he confirms a sentence or his participation in a prayer. It is a word which engages by showing consent. When someone commits himself to God he does so because he trusts in His word and abandons himself to His power and goodness.
It is also a liturgical acclamation and as such it is placed at the end of a doxology. Amen presupposes that he who participates in the prayer of the Church and hears the words must understand their meaning.
“God’s Amen is Jesus Christ” 2(2 Cor. 1, 10 )
The Church and each faithful say Amen in union with the elect in heaven and no-one can utter it without the grace of the Lord Jesus. Amen is the last word of the Bible, in this way sealing the prayer for the grace of Christ to come upon all (Rev. 20, 21).
How much do we appreciate the Holy Eucharist?
Here below is an except from the book of Thomas a Kempis from the 15th century.
If the Most Holy Sacrament was consecrated in one place only, and if in the whole world there was only one priest to consecrate the Bread and Wine, oh with what desire would the people run to that place! But there are many priests and Christ is offered in many places, so that God’s mercy and love for man may be experienced all the more as the Holy Communion is more widely transmitted. in the world.
(From the “Imitation of Christ”).
Our Baptism and Confirmation make us active and responsible members of the Church, a fact of which we may not be fully aware. Nevertheless, whether we know it or ignore it, we influence the whole community of the faithful and we are in turn influenced by it.
Whatever we do, however we interact there will be consequences good or bad to our immediate environment and further afield. The Church calls this inter-connectivity and inter-dependence of the faithful between themselves, in the Church, the “Communion of Saints”.
We are really able to effectively help each other on the spiritual level. Our prayer helps those who do not know how to pray, our fast those who do not fast, our forgiveness those who will not forgive, our praise and thanksgiving those who do not offer praise or thanks.
The Saints who are already in Heaven are particularly able to assist us; God’s love “passes” from one to another, from the saint to the striving Christian, for the “healthy” to the weak.
This is possible because Christ is the bond uniting us all with each other. He gives us His Spirit.
Our life is like a book into which we every day write something new. How are we filling its pages? And even more important: Do we let the Holy Spirit to “write” it with us?
Then our life will become a gospel for our fellow men and women, a faithful reflection of the Good News of Salvation for we will be living responsibly our Baptism within the Communion of Saints.
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