Tag Archives: Eucharist

Eucharist : Communion or Discrimination??

Eucharist has been a controversial topic, specially in a multicultural and multi-religious continent like Asia. I wanted to bring out this topic because of a question raised by my non-catholic cousin and something that I learned from the theologate. This post is basically an anthropological view of the Eucharist.

The word “Eucharist” is derived from Greek, Eucharistia which means Thanksgiving. According to the explanation of the Church it is,

Following are some of the biblical quotations where Jesus refers to His Body and Blood and invites everyone to participate in the mystery of Eucharist to attain eternal salvation.

  • 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.” (Mtt 26, 26 – 28)
  • I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”” (Jn 6, 51)

The FABC (Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference) gives a vision of a Renewed Church (FABC Papers No. 106) of 8 movements within the context of Asia, where we can help people encounter Christ. Like I said Asia is coloured with many religions and cultures. Therefore, Is preaching the Gospel and living a good Christian Life (being a self example) alone are enough for Evangelization?? In the Eucharist, we become one with Christ when we receive Him into our inner being. Christ invited everyone to partake of this great banquet. Did He specify that ONLY Catholics/ Christians are allowed??

I go to the Hindu and Buddhist temples in my country. In the Hindu temple they offer the devotees Prasad a food offering made to a god and then shared among the people, to both Hindus and non-Hindus. I’m not saying that the Eucharist is similar to the Prasad!

EucharistThe Eucharist IS the very Body of Christ, it IS Christ Himself! My cousin who’s a Hindu but is more inclined towards Christianity participates in the Sunday Mass. One day, out of the blue he asked me, “Why can’t I receive Communion?” So I told him that he doesn’t know the full mystery behind the Eucharist, it is the Body of Christ and you have to be baptized  and also should be in a worthy state to receive Christ. And I’m sure that it sounded like some kind of a Criminal offense for him. But realistically speaking, we preach of a Universal Salvation and when it comes to the Eucharist where we symbolize Fellowship, we limit it to the privileged baptized!

I’m not going against the Church’s view of the Sacramentality and preserving the sacredness of the Eucharist from profanity. But there are people of simple faith like my cousin who understand the meaning of the Eucharist and would like to experience the same oneness with Christ that we experience. At the end of the day we’re all human beings, no matter how much we know that God is with us all the time, we prefer to Touch Him, See Him and Taste Him. Imagine what would happen if the Church decided suddenly to stop giving Communion?? Or God rejected you for being dark or differently abled or even highly judgmental about everything??

On a personal anthropological level, I think we can Evangelize better if we understood the real concept of the Eucharist that Christ explained to us. This is something that has to be considered instead of arguing whether we should receive communion directly on hand or tongue. It would be more meaningful if we call everyone for a fellowship, a real communion without discriminating others with the sentence announced during the mass “Non-Christians are not allowed to receive Communion!” And I hope that they will dawn someday 🙂 Till then, Eucharist is only for the Baptized Christians!….

I think we hit the REPLAY button…. :O

Yesterday I participated in the weekly Praise and Worship of the Community of the Risen Lord and the lay minister was preaching about the readings scheduled for the Second Sunday of Advent. Well as he went on about the biblical interpretations and linking the first reading with the Gospel, something interesting caught my ear…

Sunday Gospel is taken from Mk 1, 1 – 8. It quotes Isiah’s prophecy about a messenger and shows how John the Baptist is preparing the way for the Messiah. So what’s so special about this?? Try and read between the lines of the Gospel and if you really Read and Listen, you might not need to read the rest of this post 😉

Well, if you still cannot figure it out, let me explain. Mark says, John the Baptist was inviting everyone for a baptism of Repentance. Many had Faith in what he said and followed him, because John practiced what he was preaching. It was both words accompanied with deeds. Getting back to my point, these are the words which Mark uses,

John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins“. (Mk 1, 4)

Now getting down to business, Note well… These are the words which John the Baptist used before the arrival of Jesus Christ. The very call for Repentance, Change of Heart, Forgiveness. So people repented and the Messiah redeemed them from their sins. And once the persecutions began, people came forward to sacrifice their lives to keep the faith alive. Hence, Tertullian says,

the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church“.

Okay, leaping from past to present, now what are we doing?

RECYCLING! REPLAYING History!

The irony is, the very same words uttered by John are mentioned umpteen times in Liturgy, prayer services and everywhere we turn… So instead of moving forward, I think we are going back to the Pre-Messianic times, where there are many Johns preaching the same thing. True, that we await the second coming of Jesus (Parousia) but that doesn’t give us the edge to go back in time and repeat the same mistakes right?

I’m sure if Jesus was given the chance to ask the question, He asked from Peter “Do you Love me?“, He’ll probably rephrase it and ask us,

Do YOU KNOW that I’m ALREADY HERE?

Every Sunday and in Daily Liturgy we receive Christ, in the form of His Body and Blood. How much of an impact should it create when we receive Him into our Body. He becomes one with our Flesh and Blood. But are we limiting the Eucharist to a mere ritual, where we extend our tongues or hands and receive the Body and Blood… Oh yes, we believe that Jesus is in it! But then how come, when we return back we fall in the same pit. Same mistakes… True, we’re human and we have the inclination to sin, but come on… Today we have Jesus who brought us redemption, an added advantage which the Old Covenant People did not have.

But still, we’re engulfed in the quicksand :|. High time we pulled ourselves up!

Redemption

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