Christendom College Theology Professor Dr. Matthew Tsakanikas’ latest article was recently published in the popular Adoremus journal. Tsakanikas, who is an associate professor of theology at the college, wrote on the relevance of the Eucharistic Liturgy to understanding the written Gospels, stating that “if one gets wrong the meaning of that ritual, he distorts the whole context of the written New Testament.”
The article marks Tsaknikas’ third for the online journal, following on articles concentrating on Genesis. In this piece, Tsakanikas focuses on the Eucharist in Scripture, turning to the Gospels to show the establishment of the Eucharistic Liturgy — and its crucial importance for understanding the New Testament.
“The Eucharist—being the risen Lord made really, truly, and substantially present in our midst—is the New Covenant. It is the memorialized and institutionalized moment in which Jesus made the New Covenant in his body and blood…The Eucharistic liturgy is where Jesus purposefully planned and institutionalized his real, true, and substantial presence from heaven to accompany and nourish (cf. Ephesians 5:29-32) the souls of the baptized after his bodily Ascension,” writes Tsakanikas.
“Along with the oral announcement, the New Covenant was originally communicated ritually and liturgically and only secondarily became a written proclamation as well. The New Covenant writings—or ‘New Testament’ writings as commonly called today—are therefore only properly understood, made relevant, and contextualized by the institutionalized ritual and memorial which Christ left with the Apostles. If one gets wrong the meaning of that ritual, he distorts the whole context of the written New Testament.”
Tsakanikas illuminates many aspects of the Eucharistic Liturgy in his article, showing its life-giving principle, the connection between God and man, before finally looking at the Eucharistic Institution itself. In conclusion, he writes that “any developments to the prayers of the Eucharistic liturgies and any adjustments to pastoral practices must be in conformity to the Gospels which were written to protect the meaning of the earliest liturgies. After all, Jesus primarily came so that we may ‘worship the Father in Spirit and in truth’ (John 4:23).”
Dr. Matthew Tsakanikas earned his B.A. from Christendom College and his S.T.L. and S.T.D. from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute, Pontifical University of the Lateran. Tsakanikas specializes in the Book of Genesis, theological anthropology, including Thomistic moral theology, and the writings of St. Lawrence Brindisi. His writings have been featured in Communio, Logos, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, and Catholic World Report.
To read Tsakanikas’ full article for Adoremus, click here.