An icon, representing the Eucharist as both a sacrifice and a banquet, has been created by Msgr. Anthony La Femina, STL, JCD, at the request of Bishop John J. Nevins, Diocese of Venice, Florida. The icon is a reflection of the centrality of the Eucharist to the Catholic faith. It is titled, "The Eucharist: Sacrifice-Banquet of the New Covenant."
Msgr. La Femina wrote an essay explaining the symbolism of the icon. The establishment of the new covenant through the Eucharist is graphically illustrated in the poster. The icon reflects the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist as both a sacrifice and a banquet.
Msgr. La Femina wrote that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is present in the Eucharist. When the priest says the words of consecration, Jesus himself changes the bread and wine into his body and blood so that he becomes present in a true, real and substantial manner: body, blood, soul and divinity. At the moment of this awesome change Jesus makes present his sacrifice of the cross. At the same time, the Eucharist is a sacred banquet.
This nutrition, called Holy Communion, enables those who receive it worthily to become more and more like unto Jesus. The nourishment one has from feeding on the Lord's flesh and blood should empower that person to live ever more completely in the likeness of the Son in his total obedience, fidelity and love for the Father's will in all things. The icon portrays the disciples around Jesus and people arriving from both east and west as a sign of "the earthly glorification of Jesus as Messiah." The gathering of people represents the "special family-like union" that God created by the covenant.
A crown rests above Jesus' head because by his death, Jesus established God's new people, the true vine, and assumed his role as its Messiah King.
Mary is present to the left of Jesus in the icon because she was instrumental in establishing the new covenant. She, in union with the sacrifice of her Son, offered to the eternal Father for the salvation of humankind her maternal rights and love.
Above the image of God the Father in the icon is the word, "ABBA," which means "father" in Jesus' own language, Aramaic.
The Eucharist brings about the family-like relationship that reveals the new covenant to be a covenant of divine paternal love. The celebration of the Eucharist is truly the revelation of God's name of Father.
The Holy Spirit is depicted as a dove emanating from God the Father with seven rays.
Since Jesus works all in the power of his spirit, the Holy Spirit is also shown in the icon with his seven gifts, the seven gold rays, whereby he sanctifies the church and maintains her in the truth down through the ages of time.
In the Eucharist, both sacrifice and banquet, we meet Jesus our Messiah King and in the Eucharist we have our source, teacher and lesson of life and love.
The icon can be purchased for $15 by sending a shipping address and a check payable to:
The Venice Diocese to the Catholic Center
ATTN: Maureen Stephenson,
1000 Pinebrook Road, Venice, FL 34292.
Call Maureen Stephenson for more information at 941-484-9543.