At his General Audience Wednesday, Pope Francis offered this brief catechesis on the Eucharist:
The Lord’s gift of himself at the Last Supper is renewed at each Mass in the offering of his body and blood under the signs of bread and wine. After the breaking of the bread, the priest asks us to acknowledge the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. His words invite us to acknowledge our sins, to trust in the reconciling power of Christ’s sacrifice, and to receive the medicine that unites us ever more closely to him. At the moment of communion, we respond “Amen” to the words “The body of Christ”. In this way, we signify our openness to the transformative power of God’s grace, which enables us to grow in the unity of Christ’s mystical body, which is the Church. Nourished by the bread of life, we become a living Eucharist; in a word, we become what we receive. Our silent prayer after receiving communion is gathered up in the final prayer of the Mass, which thanks God for making us sharers in this holy banquet and asks that we may grow daily in union with him, until we share at last in the wedding feast of heaven.
The pope said receiving Communion can be done standing “with devotion” or kneeling, whichever has been determined by each bishops’ conference, and Communion can be received on the tongue or, where it is permitted, in the hand.