A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Monday, September 18, 2006


Two and a half years ago, the Holy See issued the Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum on certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist.

Perhaps the earliest antecedent of this document may be found in today's first reading (1 Corinthians 11:17-26, 33) in which St. Paul forcefully addresses a number of matters to be observed or to be avoided in the communal worship of the Church in Corinth.

Some of what St. Paul says at first seems irrelevant to our situation today. That which we call the Eucharist, for example, is no longer celebrated in the context of a communal meal, very much for the reasons St. Paul cites in this letter.

But the word of God is always relevant.

First, as in Corinth, there are divisions among us: not just a division between the repentant and the unrepentant, but divisions of the I-belong-to-Paul/Apollos variety. We stay within our own cliques, in cyberspace and in the real world.

Second, the social aspects of our gathering together - as important as they are - sometimes receive too much focus and at the wrong times.

To be sure, there are some congregations where people almost totally ignore each other (or even appear silently hostile - especially to newcomers) , but there are also congregations that have a party atmosphere.

St. Paul's rebuke to the Corinthians speaks to us loudly and clearly.

When you meet in one place, then,
it is not to eat the Lord's supper...

Also loud and clear is St. Paul's reminder of where our focus should be.

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."

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

And then, St. Paul goes on to say,

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.

May we heed the instruction we have been given.

May we examine ourselves,
so that by the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
we may indeed be worthy of his body and blood.