The Catholics were the first Christians who had the Eucharist. It was first given in the time of our Lord Jesus Christ during the Last Supper. Then the Holy Mass and the Sacrament of Eucharist was continued by the Apostles until to the current generation of priest.
The Bread – The Bread of the Catholic Church is called “The Host”, from the Latin the word “Hostia” which means “Victim”. Why Victim? Because our Lord is a victim of our sins. The host must be an unleavened bread because during the Last Supper, Our Lord used unleavened bread as it was an ancient Jews tradition to use unleavened bread during the Passover. Unleavened bread also symbolizes “sinless”, and our Lord Jesus Christ is sinless who suffered and died on the cross to save us from our Sins.
The Wine – The wine becomes the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ during the consecration in the Holy Mass. The wine must be made in pure grapes and no other substance, and must be in red. Pure grapes of wine symbolizes “pure and Incorrupt”. During the mass, only the priest drinks the wine while the faithful only eats the bread. But some churches during the communion, they dip the host to the wine and give it to the faithful.
Reverence – The Eucharist in the Catholic Church is adored and respected by the faithful. When the bread and wine has been consecrated, it becomes the Body and Christ of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is our God and King, that must be worshipped and respected. That’s why during the consecration and Communion, the faithful kneeled as act of adoration and respect. Sometimes, the Eucharist is also displayed in the church while inside the monstrance. There’s also Eucharistic procession during an important feast like the “Feast of Corpus Christi” and during pandemic or plagues, just like the coronavirus that we experiencing today. When the procession takes place, the faithful must kneel before the Eucharist. But it is sad that many Catholics do not kneel before the Holy Eucharist during consecration, communion and the Eucharistic Procession.
Communion – Communion is where we take the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ in the form of bread. In tradition, the faithful must take the Eucharist by the tongue, not by the hands, because only the consecrated hands of the priest can hold the Holy Eucharist. But it is sad to see that many people take the Holy Eucharist using the hands. Even nuns and lay ministers are allowed nowadays to give the communion. Every part of the Eucharist is the body of Christ, even a small crumb from it. It was a problem during the early Christianity when the bread at that time produced a lot of crumbs. Priests took extra precautions to avoid the crumbs to fall anywhere because every crumb is part of the Body of Christ. The white waffle bread that we know now was produced during the Frankish empire. This is also the reason why during the communion, a large gold paten was placed near the chin of the faithful to avoid the tiny crumbs of the eucharist to fall on the ground.
The Orthodox is also one of the early Christians who has the Eucharist, and still implementing this sacrament after they separated from the Catholic Church. The Orthodox Eucharist has similarities to the Catholic Church and there are differences as well.
The Bread – The bread of the Orthodox church was called “Prosphora” or “Prosphoron”, from the Greek word “Offering”. The difference between the bread of the Orthodox Church and Catholic Church is that the bread of the Orthodox are leavened. One of their reason is that there are no exact type of bread that was used in the “Last Supper”. The bread of the Orthodox Church is large which they sliced it in to small pieces and share it with the faithful during the communion.
The Wine – The wine of the Orthodox Church is similar to the Catholic Church, a red wine and must be pure made from grapes with no other substances.
Reverence – The Orthodox Church also believe that the consecrated bread and wine becomes the Body and Blood of Christ. But no adoration was given to the Holy Eucharist because it was meant to eat and drink. Unlike the Catholic Church, they did not display the Eucharist or have a Eucharistic Procession. They also do not kneel before the Eucharist. They don’t give much importance of the crumbs if it falls to the ground or anywhere, which the Catholic Church avoided because every crumb is also part of Christ.
Communion – The Communion in the Orthodox Church has a slight difference than the Catholic Church. The pieces of Prosphoron were put inside the chalice with wine, then the priest will use a communion spoon to feed the faithful. One of the differences is that they don’t kneel and infants can also take communion. In the Catholic church, infants cannot receive the Holy Communion until they reach the age of seven.
Unlike the Catholic and Orthodox Church, Protestant are not unified when it comes to the Eucharist. Every protestant church has its own approach while the others like the first protestant churches still follow the process of the Catholic Church like the Anglicans. Most of the protestants however have no Eucharist and Holy Communion like the Born Again Christians.
The Bread – Some of the protestants still using the unleavened bread that was similar to Catholic Church, like the Anglican church. While other protestant churches like the Methodist are using the leavened bread. While some protestants preferred both including the born again Christians.
The Wine – Some protestants still use the pure grape wine. While others are now using different kinds of wine but it must be in red.
Reverence – The difference of the Catholic and Orthodox Church to the Protestants is that they don’t believe that the bread and wine becomes the Body and Blood of Christ. Just like the Orthodox, they don’t give the reverence for this sacrament. Most of the protestant churches have no consecration to their mass or gatherings because they believed that it is not written in the bible. Avoiding the apostle’s teaching to follow the tradition (2 Thessalonians 2:15), some of the protestant believe that the bread and wine is the Body and Blood of Christ is just a symbol.
Communion – Some of the protestants keep the communion ways of the Catholic Church. Others have different approach like the modern protestants’ (born again) where they have a bowl of small pieces of bread and a small glass of wine in a tray which look likes a cocktail party. While other protestant churches drop the communion because the giving of bread and wine is a one time only in last supper.
Here, we see that the only religion who follows Christ’s commandment and the teaching of the Apostles is none other than the Catholic Church. As Our Lord Jesus Christ said that the consecrated bread and wine is His Body and Blood (1 Corinthians 11:24-25), we must give reverence and take the communion with respect. The Holy Eucharist is not a symbol and also not a one time event only. As Christ instructed “Do this as a memorial of Me”.