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Friday, April 10, 2009

Holy Thursday – April 10, 2009

There is a difference between the Protestant and Lutheran communities and the Catholic Church concerning the understanding of the Holy Communion. Protestant and Lutheran communities understand Communion as a commemoration, sign and symbol, whereas for the Catholic Church it is the real presence of Jesus Christ Himself.

Its identity: Christ really present

As a sacrament, the Eucharist has a double aspect: it is both a sign and the reality signified by it, both a remembering of the past and a making-really-present: “When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ’s Passover, and it is made present: the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the Cross remains ever present” (C 1364).

Here the three meanings of “present” come together: Christ in the Eucharist is 1) present, not absent, but really here; 2) present, not past, but happening now; and 3) presented as a gift (a “present”), really given; offered, not withheld.

Christ is “present in many ways to his Church” (C 1373) but “[t]he mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species [forms, appearances] is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as ‘the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend’ [St. Thomas Aquinas]. In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist ‘the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.’‘. . . [I]t is presence in the fullest sense . . . Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present’ ” (C 1374).


God performs a miracle in each Mass. In fact, there has never been a miracle as great as this anywhere on earth for 2000 years. And it happens in every Catholic Church every day!

“‘It is not man that causes the things offered to become the Body and Blood of Christ, but he who was crucified for us, Christ himself. The priest, in the role of Christ (IN PERSONA CHRISTI), pronounces these words, but their power and grace are God’s. This is my body, he says. This word transforms the things offered’ into a person of Christ” (St. John Chrysostom; C 1375). “This change is not like natural changes, but is entirely supernatural, and effected by God’s power alone” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae III, 75, 4).

Such a miracle is beyond the power of man, but not beyond the power of God. “. . . Could not Christ’s word, which can make from nothing what did not exist [Gn 1], change existing things into what they were not before? . . .” (St. Ambrose; C 1375).

Following the Knights of Columbus web page: How Catholics Worship

Let us see what the Scriptures say about the Holy Eucharist?

Mt 26:26-28

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, "Take and eat; this is my body."

Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.

Mk 14:22- 24

While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body."

Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.

Luc 2:19-20

Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me."

And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.

1 Cor 11:23-25

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."

And St. Paul adds immediately a very serious warning:

1 Cor 11; 26-31

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord.

A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.

That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying. If we discerned ourselves, we would not be under judgment;

15. Who may receive the Eucharist?

Christ intended this holy banquet for everyone, but not everyone is ready (see Christ’s parables of the wise and foolish virgins and of the man with no wedding garment in Mt 25:1-13 and 22:1-14).The Catechism specifies four qualifications.

1) We must be prepared. There are certainly occasions when one should not receive the Eucharist, and Catholics should not be encouraged to receive it as a matter of course, without faith, understanding, or examination of conscience.“[W]e must prepare ourselves for so great and holy a moment” (C 1385), as we would prepare ourselves deeply and seriously for a wedding (see 1 Cor 11:23-29). It is not to be treated trivially, like any other moment. “Bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of this moment . . .” (C 1387). The sense of the sacred is expressed by distinctions, by differences: this is not ordinary; in fact this is not like anything else in the world.

This does not mean we must judge ourselves to be holy before we can receive. Just the opposite: the precondition is not worthiness but unworthiness and humble acknowledgement of it: “Before so great a sacrament; the faithful can only echo humbly and with ardent faith the words of the Centurion . . . ‘Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed’219” (C 1386).The Church’s liturgy tells us to say (and to mean) those words before we receive Communion.

2) We must be in a state of grace. “Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion” (C 1385).

3) We must fast. “To prepare for worthy reception of this sacrament, the faithful should observe the fast required in their Church220” (C 1387). In the Latin Church, this is fasting from all food and drink except medications and water for at least one hour before receiving communion.

4) We must be in communion with the Catholic Church to receive her Eucharist. At present, intercommunion with non-Catholic Christians in the Eucharist is not possible because union in doctrine and authority is, sadly, lacking. For the Church to offer communion to those who do not believe what she teaches or accept her authority would be a false sign, a lie of “body language.” For this sacrament signifies oneness: union with Christ and with his Church (St. Paul says we are “one body” because we all partake of this “one bread”). We may not signify Church unity when it does not exist; that would make the sign a countersign. This does not mean that all other churches’ celebrations of the Eucharist are invalid.

The Orthodox churches, “‘though separated from us, yet possess true sacraments’” (C 1399). “A certain communion in sacris [in the sacred things of the Church], and so in the Eucharist, ‘given suitable circumstances and the approval of Church authority, is not merely possible but is encouraged’238” (C 1399). “Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the Catholic Church, ‘have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders.’239 It is for this reason that, for the Catholic Church, Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible” (C 1400). “Only validly ordained priests can preside at the Eucharist and consecrate the bread and the wine so that they become the Body and Blood of the Lord” (C 1411).

Protestants do not have priests who can consecrate the Eucharist; therefore they do not have the Eucharist – though they have Christ and salvation through faith, hope, and charity. They are Christians, but “separated brethren.”

following the Knights of Columbus web page: How Catholics Worship

It is not to cause the sentiment of guilt, but to clarify our present situation.

Let us see only one thing ... MARRIAGE

Let us see what the Scriptures say about the marriage and divorce?

Mt 5:31-32

"It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.'

But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Mt 19:9

I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery."

Mk 10: 9-12

What God has joined together, no human being must separate."He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."

Luc 16:18

"Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery, and the one who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

1 Cor 7: 10-11

To the married, however, I give this instruction (not I, but the Lord): a wife should not separate from her husband --and if she does separate she must either remain single or become reconciled to her husband--and a husband should not divorce his wife.

11. The indissolubility of marriage

“Indissolubility” means permanence, until death. The human marriage covenant can no more be dissolved than God’s covenant, for God designed it to be the image of that covenant (see paragraph 5 and C 1643) and the image of His own Unity

“Thus the marriage bond has been established by God himself [not by the Church] in such a way that a marriage concluded and consummated between baptized persons can never be dissolved. This bond, which results from the free human act of the spouses and their consummation of the marriage, is a reality [not just an ideal or an intention], henceforth irrevocable . . . .The Church does not have the power to contravene this disposition of divine wisdom” (C 1640). No one should say, “I disagree with the Church about divorce,” but “I disagree with Christ about divorce.”

following the Knights of Columbus web page: How Catholics Worship

And we say everything is OK.

How we can pretend that everything is OK and approach the Holy Eucharist knowing that: “whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord ...” knowing that “anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself ...”?

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