Pope Benedict XVI said the Eucharist is not a symbolic representation of the Lord because Christ is wholly and entirely present under the species of bread and wine, according to the Catholic News Service website.
"Even today, there is the danger of reducing the reality of the Eucharist -- considering it almost as just a rite of communion or socialization -- and we too often easily forget that the resurrected Christ is really present," the Pope said during his general audience on December 9, 2009.
The real presence of Christ in the Eucharist draws people out of their own narrow concerns and interests, "incorporating us in His immortal body, and in that way guides us toward a new life," he said.
"That the Lord is wholly and entirely present is a mystery to be adored and always loved anew," Pope Benedict said.
The Pope asked the faithful to "rejoice in the knowledge that Christ remains with us at every moment of our lives and throughout history."