HOLY COMMUNION – what is it? What does it do?
I saw a film of a tractor stuck in the mud. As it crossed a small stream, another larger machine hooked on to it and both machines working together lifted the smaller tractor up and out to solid ground. Pardon my rather weak analogy, but to me, Holy Communion is somewhat like pulling me out of the mud of daily life. However, we must be careful. Be very careful! It is a sacred Mystery. It is “the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.” It is even more. It is an unexplainable Mystery!
Holy Communion is not for everyone. It is only for those who know him, who are devoted to him, who love him. It is for those who sanctify his holy sacrifice in their life. The purpose of a gathering together of the people of Christ is to remember and participate in the holy sacrifice of Jesus, God in the flesh. It is the uniting of the Holy Body and Precious Blood of Jesus Christ and this Holy Mystery accomplished through the Holy Spirit.
What does the HOLY BIBLE say? I Corinthians 11:23-28 (msg)
“Let me go over with you again exactly what goes on in the Lord’s Supper and why it is so centrally important. I received my instructions from the Master himself and passed them on to you. The Master, Jesus, on the night of his betrayal, took bread. Having given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, broken for you. Do this to remember me.’ After supper, he did the same thing with the cup: ‘This cup is my blood, my new covenant with you. Each time you drink this cup, remember me.’ What you must solemnly realize is that every time you eat this bread and every time you drink this cup, you reenact in your words and actions the death of the Master. You will be drawn back to this meal again and again until the Master returns. You must never let familiarity breed contempt.
“Anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Master irreverently is like part of the crowd that jeered and spit on him at his death. Is that the kind of “remembrance” you want to be part of? Examine your motives, test your heart, come to this meal in holy awe.”
St. John Chrysostom writes: “I believe, O Lord, and I confess that You are truly the Christ, the Son of The Living God, who did come into the world to save sinners, of whom I am first. I also believe that this is Your Sacred Body, and this is Your Precious Blood. Therefore, I pray to you, have mercy upon me, and forgive my transgressions, voluntary and involuntary, in word and deed, both know and unknown, and make me worthy to partake of Your sacred Mysteries for the remission of sins and life eternal, Amen.”
The Apostle Peter instructs us, “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.”
1 Peter 1:15 (niv)
Therefore, Holy Communion or Eucharist is:
- A Command
- A Reminder
- A Covenant
- A Celebration
- And the warning from the Apostle Paul is: “If you give no thought (or worse, don’t care) about the broken body of the Master when you eat and drink, you’re running the risk of serious consequences. That’s why so many of you even now are listless and sick, and others have gone to an early grave. If we get this straight now, we won’t have to be straightened out later on. Better to be confronted by the Master now than to face a fiery confrontation later.”
I Corinthians 29-32 (msg)