Pope John Paul II states his purpose, for his “Eucharistic amazement.”
6. I would like to rekindle this Eucharistic “amazement” by the present Encyclical Letter, in continuity with the Jubilee heritage which I have left to the Church in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte and its Marian crowning, Rosarium Virginis Mariae. To contemplate the face of Christ, and to contemplate it with Mary, is the “programme” which I have set before the Church at the dawn of the third millennium, summoning her to put out into the deep on the sea of history with the enthusiasm of the new evangelization. To contemplate Christ involves being able to recognize him wherever he manifests himself, in his many forms of presence, but above all in the living sacrament of his body and his blood. The Church draws her life from Christ in the Eucharist; by him she is fed and by him she is enlightened. The Eucharist is both a mystery of faith and a “mystery of light”. (John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae 19) Whenever the Church celebrates the Eucharist, the faithful can in some way relive the experience of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: “their eyes were opened and they recognized him” (Lk 24:31).
This “amazement” is grounded in the observances of the Jubilee year 2000, in JP2’s own Marian devotion, and looks to the great task of evangelization. It seems this “new” effort seems concerned with more than inactive believers, but looks to the “deeps” the Lord himself challenged us to explore.
The experience, the encounter of the Eucharist produces light but also the heat the Emmaus disciples reported after reflecting on the Scriptures and in their experience of Christ in the Breaking of the Bread. The unspoken assumption in this section is that the Eucharist is about more than the Lord’s Body and Blood. The disciples of Emmaus were opened to the experience and prepared by the Word of God. I don’t think we can separate that experience, either in the Liturgies of the Word we celebrate, or with our regular encounters with the Word in daily life.