It’s not Confirmation – it’s the Eucharist. Participation in the Eucharist through Holy Communion is the culmination of that path that one begins when they are first brought to the baptismal font. The Eucharist is that Relationship with God Realized. “Realized,” because in the Eucharist we fully receive all that God is in the Body and Blood of Christ, and we celebrate the eternal love with which God loves us – a love that gives completely of itself and is never fully consumed.
If we want a Biblical example of the centrality that we place on the Holy Eucharist, I will point you to the Book of Exodus. Moses goes back and forth between God and Pharaoh, saying "Let my people go." However, this book is not an anti-slavery manifesto. Moses isn't asking that the Israelites be freed just for the heck of it - freedom for freedom's sake. Rather, he tells Pharaoh to let them go to worship their God in the desert. That is why they are set free: to worship. And that is why we are baptized - not "so I don't go to hell" but so that I can participate in the Eucharist!
Too often, we think of the Eucharist as something we “do.” “I went to Communion,” “I received from the cup,” “I served at church,” etc. However, this “mystery of our faith” is so much more than that. In 2003, Pope John Paul II gave us a great encyclical letter on the role and power of the Eucharist in the Church. He began that letter like this:
The Church draws her life from the Eucharist. This truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith, but recapitulates the heart of the mystery of the Church. In a variety of ways she joyfully experiences the constant fulfillment of the promise: “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20), but in the Holy Eucharist, through the changing of bread and wine into the body and blood of the Lord, she rejoices in this presence with unique intensity. Ever since Pentecost, when the Church, the People of the New Covenant, began her pilgrim journey towards her heavenly homeland, the Divine Sacrament has continued to mark the passing of her days, filling them with confident hope (JPII, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 1).
He later goes on,
A significant consequence of the eschatological tension inherent in the Eucharist is also the fact that it spurs us on our journey through history and plants a seed of living hope in our daily commitment to the work before us. Certainly the Christian vision leads to the expectation of “new heavens” and “a new earth” (Rev 21:1), but this increases, rather than lessens, our sense of responsibility for the world today. I wish to reaffirm this forcefully at the beginning of the new millennium, so that Christians will feel more obliged than ever not to neglect their duties as citizens in this world. Theirs is the task of contributing with the light of the Gospel to the building of a more human world, a world fully in harmony with God's plan.
Many problems darken the horizon of our time. We need but think of the urgent need to work for peace, to base relationships between peoples on solid premises of justice and solidarity, and to defend human life from conception to its natural end. And what should we say of the thousand inconsistencies of a “globalized” world where the weakest, the most powerless and the poorest appear to have so little hope! It is in this world that Christian hope must shine forth! For this reason too, the Lord wished to remain with us in the Eucharist, making his presence in meal and sacrifice the promise of a humanity renewed by his love. Significantly, in their account of the Last Supper, the Synoptics recount the institution of the Eucharist, while the Gospel of John relates, as a way of bringing out its profound meaning, the account of the “washing of the feet”, in which Jesus appears as the teacher of communion and of service (cf. Jn 13:1-20). The Apostle Paul, for his part, says that it is “unworthy” of a Christian community to partake of the Lord's Supper amid division and indifference towards the poor (cf. 1 Cor 11:17-22, 27-34) (JPII, EE, n. 20).
The Eucharist, because it is also nourishment, necessarily strengthens us to do what is right and good not only for ourselves but for all. John Paul affirms this when he says that the Eucharist builds the Church. We are built into the Body of Christ by the Body of Christ, and that relationship – both personal and communal – is realized in us.
“Happy are those who are called to His Supper.”
The Eucharist is a calling – but not simply a calling to receive Jesus. It is a calling to live what we receive; to become what we touch; to act in our world as members of that Body of Christ by whom we are built up. There is a responsibility that comes with participation in the Eucharist. It is not a right. We “are not worthy to receive Him.” By committing ourselves to the Eucharist, we are committing ourselves to a way of life – a life of justice, a life of forgiveness, a life of love.
So, our actions, as people of the Eucharist, as persons in whom this Relationship is fully realized, reflect on our worthiness to receive, and on our worthiness to go forth “to love and serve the Lord.”
Jesus tells us that if we approach the altar and realize that we have some quarrel with our brother or sister – if we are conscious of some sin that somehow limits our full communion with the Body of Christ – we are to go first and be reconciled – either with our brother or sister or with God. Then, the full power of the Eucharist – a power for life and forgiveness and good – is made whole within us.