No wine for communion? – Swine flu

The Catholic church is being particularly careful about Swine Flu.

Specifically, the bishops have requested that receiving Communion on the tongue, Communion wine from the chalice and shaking hands at the sign of peace at Masses in New Zealand cease.

Now that sounds reasonable. However the television news has been giving the impression that the communion wine is being withdrawn completely (it is generally served from a single cup in Catholic churches).

Holy Communion is the only ritual the Christian Church has. It is how Christ himself commanded we were to remember His death, and is not something anyone has a right to remove either element from. It is celebrated by all denominations, with some variations in style, but the essential elements (the body and the blood) are always there.

I don’t trust the news to report such issues accurately, so could a Catholic reader please confirm whether the wine is actually being withdrawn, or being offered in individual cups (as many Protestant churches already do)?

Offering in individual cups would be a sensible precaution. But no church has the right to entirely remove what Christ has established.I hope no church will put convenience and fear before remembering Christ.

UPDATE: According to ZenTiger and Lucyna Maria (see the comments here), the wine is being withdrawn, at least in their churches. Utterly disgraceful.

You may be interested in:
Swine Flu Myths (by MacDoctor – keep an eye on MacDoctor for good info on swine flu from a medical perspective).
Swine flu – false alarm? (New Zealand Conservative)

About these ads

36 Responses to “No wine for communion? – Swine flu”

  1. Lucyna Maria Says:

    Hi Samuel,

    Just to clarify, the communion wine is not totally withdrawn. The Mass would be totally invalid without it. It’s just not being given out to the communicants, but the priest is required to drink it.

    I’m guessing you know that Catholics don’t consider the bread and wine to be bread and wine after consecration, but actually and truly the Body and Blood of Christ. For that reason, there is no way we’d be pouring His Blood into little paper cups – what would end up happening is that the Holy Blood of Our Lord would be profaned through being either spilt (and then trampled on) and also thrown away with the cups.

    It’s also not necessary for anyone but the priest to consume both species, as each crumb of the Host is Our Lord’s whole and entire, body and blood, soul and Divinity. So, the people aren’t really missing out here.

    My real beef is with the ban on communion on the tongue. Hence, the biting the tongue comment.

  2. darthpotterbob Says:

    Hello Samuel,

    Just thought I’d give you the international perspective, shall I say. As Lucyna Maria has mentioned, the the Blood (or wine) is not completely absent, and will never be. The wine and the bread go hand-in-hand – Jesus gave them to us at the same time, and told us to “do it in memory of Him.” Obviously we will not disobey.
    However, in Canada (or at least in many churches of my home province, British Columbia) the Blood (wine) isn’t normally served to the communicants anyway, we are just given the Body. So nothing has changed over here, since the Blood was not normally served anyway.

    Have a great day!

  3. ZenTiger Says:

    I’m not sure if I’d call it “disgraceful”, certainly “fearful” and some would argue “healthy paranoia”.

    One can take communion with just the host on occasion, so there may be canon law to support the denial of communion wine (blessed blood).

    There are some interesting sub themes though at the moment, and I’m simply going to wait and see how long this continues and what the next steps are, before I make any further comments.

    Also somewhat related, a review of transubstantiation would be useful.

  4. Mr Dennis Says:

    The Catholic church does have its own ideas about whether the commandment to “do this in rememberence of me” means to actually drink it yourself or whether watching someone drink it on your behalf is sufficient. This is a theological issue we won’t come to an agreement on in one blog discussion, if ever, but I personally feel that all Christians should take both species, as Christ never suggested otherwise.

    I could understand someone choosing not to take the wine. But if they were prevented from taking it by the priest, that would be an entirely different issue, in my opinion.

    Lucyna:
    “I’m guessing you know that Catholics don’t consider the bread and wine to be bread and wine after consecration, but actually and truly the Body and Blood of Christ. For that reason, there is no way we’d be pouring His Blood into little paper cups – what would end up happening is that the Holy Blood of Our Lord would be profaned through being either spilt (and then trampled on) and also thrown away with the cups.”
    I know that very well. Have you ever been to a Protestant service where little glass cups are used? Only enough for a sip is placed in each cup, all is consumed from each cup, and the few unused cups left could easily be finished by the priest if this was adopted as a temporary health measure by the Catholic church. None of the Blood would be profaned or wasted.

  5. Andy Moore Says:

    It’s not Jesus’ literal body and blood. I was at an Anglican church a while ago, and they were having Holy Mass. My mate who was helping organise things let me drink all the wine that was left in the ornate goblet as we were clearing stuff up in the kitchen afterwards. It was very rich… more like Sherry or something…
    At our church, the “wine” is poured out of the 1L McCoy’s Grape Juice box into the little glasses. If there are any left over, sometimes they just empty the little glasses back into the box… it’s still grape juice.

  6. Mr Dennis Says:

    I agree Andy, but aren’t getting into that for the purposes of this discussion. Even accepting the Catholic view that the wine is His literal blood, there is no reason they couldn’t use little glasses if they wanted to take precautions against flu, rather than refusing to offer the wine at all.

  7. Lucyna Maria Says:

    Samuel,

    using little glasses wouldn’t work, because then the Blood of the Lord would have to be poured into them from some central pouring vessel, and pouring the Precious Blood is not permitted because of the risk of profanation. And consecrating the wine in several hundred glass cups on the altar before distribution wouldn’t really work either.

    When dealing with wine and such, of course all of the above would be fine, but we are not dealing with wine. It only looks and tastes like wine, but in reality it is not wine.

    I know we could get into a theological discussion on this – I’m game if you are. :)

  8. Mr Dennis Says:

    Lucyna:
    “And consecrating the wine in several hundred glass cups on the altar before distribution wouldn’t really work either.”
    Why not? The priest could pray over a tray of small cups just as easily as a chalice.

    I won’t get into a theological debate about transubstantiation here, we’ll save that for another day – I’m assuming the Catholic position on that for the purpose of this discussion, one issue at a time! :)

    My point is that it is wrong to put our own personal fears (in this case, paranoia about flu) ahead of what Christ has commanded we do to remember Him. We must continue to celebrate Holy Communion as He taught us to.

    Whether we keep drinking from one cup and just pray He will protect us from infection, or whether we use individual cups, is entirely a matter of preference. But what we cannot do is stop taking part of His commandment for material reasons. God is far more important than that.

  9. Paul from Canterbury Atheists Blog Says:

    Fair call Sammy.

    Doesn’t anyone in The Catholic Church of Aotearoa, follow the teachings of The Holy Bible anymore?

    The Bible is very specific.

    Diseases like this are a condition of sin or demonic possession, fixable by ordering the person to be well, forgiving sin, casting-out demons, and among other methods – the creative use of spit.

    What a sad-day it is for religion in this country, when bastions of Christianity like this, turn their backs on Gods-word, to follow that secular hocus-pocus called modern medicine.

    The Bishops that approved this rejection of Gods-word & still lucid enough to know what day-of-the-week it is – should be de-frocked.

    It’s a disgrace!

    Paul.

  10. David Says:

    In Diocese of Oakland (not Aukland =)), California, they’re asking people who feel ill not to drink, but they’re not withdrawing it from the faithful. They asked that we nod for the sign of peace.

    Peace be with you.

  11. Mr Dennis Says:

    That sounds far more reasonable David.

  12. Lucyna Maria Says:

    Hi Samuel,

    Praying over cups (never mind that it is just not allowed) would mean enough cups for each person. Many Catholic Sunday masses involve hundreds of people. Not just 100-200, but up to 500. Even if half of those were eligible for Holy Communion and wanted to receive the Precious Blood, we’re talking 250 cups on the altar. It would turn the consecration into a farce, making the whole thing look more like a giant tea party than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    Obviously, Protestant churches do this somehow. But, to put it bluntly, they (even the Anglicans) are not dealing with real blood – it’s just wine. It’s just a remembrance. Not a window into Heaven that links back to the original Sacrifice on the Cross.

    In a sense, appreciating that transubstantiation is at the heart of this argument means that you need to get your head around the idea that because the Body of Christ cannot be divided, He is present in each speck of bread and in each drop of wine. Therefore, only the priest needs to eat and drink both species, but the congregation does not.

  13. Mr Dennis Says:

    Lucyna, I am not saying the Catholic church must use little cups, and whether it is practical is obviously up to the individual church. I am just saying that that is one option that could be considered alongside trusting God to protect you from disease when you are following His commandments.

    “because the Body of Christ cannot be divided, He is present in each speck of bread and in each drop of wine.”

    Holy Communion is not just to remember the Body of Christ, so whether or not that can be divided is immaterial. Holy Communion remembers His bodily sacrifice (through the bread), and His blood that cleanses us from all sin (through the wine). The blood, although coming from the body, can be separated from the body and in fact flowed from His side at His death. The two are clearly separate:
    The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? (1 Corinthians 10:16)

    The heart of the Christian message is forgiveness of sins through Christ’s blood.

    [Christ] entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, … sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
    … Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
    (Hebrews 9:12-14,18-22)

    The blood is important not as part of the body, but in its own right. To neglect Christ’s blood that cleanses us from all sin in Holy Communion is to neglect the heart of Christianity.

  14. Mr Dennis Says:

    On further reflection:
    Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:26-28)

    Note that Christ gives both the bread and the wine to the disciples, but to the wine only he gives the extra instruction, that ALL of them must drink it.

    If you then say that not all must drink the wine, you are breaking the direct commandment of God for the sake of your tradition. This behaviour has a strong precedent, and was roundly condemned by Christ:

    He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:
    “‘This people honors me with their lips,
    but their heart is far from me;
    in vain do they worship me,
    teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
    (Matthew 15:3-9)

  15. Kiwi Polemicist Says:

    Respectfully, communion isn’t the only ritual mandated by the NT: there’s also baptism.

  16. Lucyna Maria Says:

    The blood is important not as part of the body, but in its own right. To neglect Christ’s blood that cleanses us from all sin in Holy Communion is to neglect the heart of Christianity.

    So, you believe the wine turns into Our Lord’s actual blood?

  17. Leanne Says:

    I was appalled to find that there was no wine, only wafers, at communion on the weekend at my church (St Pauls Cathedral, Dunedin).

    As one of the posters said, this is real hocus-pocus nonsense. Wine is *alcohol*, for Goodness sake! You know, the stuff – in more concentrated form – that is used to clean and sanitise!

    *sigh*

    We are far more likely to contract flu (swine version or otherwise) from the touching door handles on the way in.

    We were also told that we could choose not to shake hands in the Peace. I’m glad to say everyone laughed and shook hands anyway, as far as I could see :-)

    If we, as a community, are serious about transmission of swine flu, or any other flu, we should be inspecting restaurant premises more regularly, cleaning public transport more often, and encouraging people to stay home when they are sick, instead of sharing their germs around!

  18. Mr Dennis Says:

    Lucyna, as I have said I am assuming the wine is His actual blood for the purposes of this discussion. However all churches believe the wine is to “remember” His blood (the wording I actually used), whether they believe it becomes or represents the Blood. That is not the issue here.

    Which is more important, Christ’s explicit commandment to take the wine or a tradition which may state otherwise?

  19. Mr Dennis Says:

    KP: Good point. Oops!

  20. Mr Dennis Says:

    Leanne: Thanks for sharing, it’s sad to see that churches are actually listening to such a ridiculous and theologically questionable recommendation.

  21. Lucyna Maria Says:

    Samuel,

    Which is more important, Christ’s explicit commandment to take the wine or a tradition which may state otherwise?

    Christ’s explicit commands as to what we are supposed to do were given to the Apostles, from whom our Tradition comes. Yes, He told them to remember, but He’s not telling us just to think of Him in our minds (and use bread and wine for props), He’s commanding us to make Him present.

    The successors to the Apostles (priests) follow this command faithfully with every Mass they say, everytime they consume both species as part of that Mass. Otherwise the Mass would not be valid and Our Lord would not be made present.

  22. Mr Dennis Says:

    Lucyna:
    “He’s not telling us just to think of Him in our minds (and use bread and wine for props), He’s commanding us to make Him present.”
    I am not arguing about transubstantiation here. That is an entirely separate issue that you keep trying to debate, even though I repeatedly say I am assuming you are correct on it for the purposes of this discussion.

    “The successors to the Apostles (priests) follow this command faithfully with every Mass they say, everytime they consume both species as part of that Mass.”
    I agree that a priest is fulfilling Christs commandment to partake of both species, if they do so. As is any Christian that does so. My argument is that the priests are not allowing the rest of the congregation to likewise follow Christ’s commandment if they withold His blood from them.

    If you believe that Holy Communion only applies to the priests, then why do you take the bread at all yourself and why are you concerned that you may no longer be offered it on the tongue? Why not just leave the whole thing up to the priests? Or do you believe that all Christians are to take Holy Communion?

  23. Lucyna Maria Says:

    But transubstantiation is at the heart of why no one, except the presiding priest, needs to consume both species. It is the answer to the question. You say you take the answer as given, but then won’t admit the answer as being valid.

    It’s very frustrating.

    But that’s ok. I guess that’s why you’re not Catholic.

    I’ll get back to the rest of your comments after dinner.

  24. Mr Dennis Says:

    Why would the bread and wine being Christ’s actual body and blood mean at the same time that:
    1) Everyone must take the bread,
    2) But only the priest needs to take the wine,
    in direct contrast to Christ’s actual commandment:

    Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:26-28)

    And if it did make it ok for just the priest to take the wine, why would it make it ok for the priest to REFUSE to offer the wine to the congregation – which is a far more serious matter.

  25. Lucyna Maria Says:

    Samuel,

    Everyone does not take the bread. Or, everyone should not take the bread. Holy Communion is reserved only for those in a state of grace who have made their first confession (normally age 8). However, many Catholics do take the bread when not in a state of grace and think nothing of it. Chances are that they do not actually know what they are doing. But that’s another story.

    A Catholic Mass can be completely and totally valid if the presiding priest drinks the wine and eats the bread, once that happens Christ is completely present. If the priest does not eat the bread and drink the wine, it doesn’t matter what any other person does – Christ is not present, and we just get to share out bread and wine, not His Body and Blood.

    The congregation does not need to participate at all, however, the congregation is invited to participate; and the normal means of participation is eating the bread.

    Having the Precious Blood available to everyone at every Mass did not used to happen when I was a child. It’s only very recently that Catholic churches in NZ have been doing this.

    The reason why the congregation does not need to have both species is because once the requirements of having Christ present under both kinds is fulfilled, He is totally and fully present in both species. Nothing is missing if a person eats the bread and doesn’t drink the wine, or vice-versa.

    A person who eats Our Lord’s body under the form of bread, also drinks His Precious Blood, even though that person only thinks he’s eaten bread. And vice-versa, a person who only drinks the Precious Blood also at the same time eats the Body – that person doesn’t need to physically eat the bread to get the Body.

    This is the crucial point. Transubstantiation, once it has occurred, makes Holy Communion under both kinds unnecessary, because in one kind, we get all of Him.

  26. Mr Dennis Says:

    Thanks for explaining that further Lucyna.
    “Or, everyone should not take the bread. Holy Communion is reserved only for those in a state of grace who have made their first confession”
    Fair enough, the issue is whether those eligible for Communion (as per 1 Cor 11:27-29) should take it.

    “The reason why the congregation does not need to have both species is because once the requirements of having Christ present under both kinds is fulfilled, He is totally and fully present in both species.”
    Holy Communion is not to bring Christ present, as He states “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:20).

    Holy Communion is to remember Christ’s sacrifice for our sins: “And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”” (Luke 22:19).

    He is already present when two or three are gathered in His name. Therefore even if the elements are His actual body and blood, the transubstantiation did not bring Him there, as He was already present. The transubstantiation (and consumption by one person) would not in any way void His instruction to consume the elements, as that is an entirely separate issue.

    “A person who eats Our Lord’s body under the form of bread, also drinks His Precious Blood, even though that person only thinks he’s eaten bread. And vice-versa, a person who only drinks the Precious Blood also at the same time eats the Body – that person doesn’t need to physically eat the bread to get the Body.
    This is the crucial point. Transubstantiation, once it has occurred, makes Holy Communion under both kinds unnecessary, because in one kind, we get all of Him.”

    And thus you break the explicit commandment of God for the sake of your tradition (see Matthew 15:3-9).

    Then, even assuming it were ok to choose to just take one element, is it ok for the priest to force you to take just one?

    Furthermore, if Holy Communion is simply to bring Christ present, and that is fulfilled once transubstantiation has taken place and the priest has partaken, why would anyone else bother to take Holy Communion at all? Why would you be concerned about no longer being given the bread on your tongue?

  27. Lucyna Maria Says:

    Samuel,

    While Christ is present when two or three are gathered in His name, He is also physically present via transubstantiation. Just like He was standing in the room next to the two or three gathered in His name. The Eucharist is a total presence, not just a spiritual presence.

    And thus you break the explicit commandment of God for the sake of your tradition (see Matthew 15:3-9).

    Except, I have already explained how we are not breaking an explicit command from God. So, this is just a matter of opinion.

    I get that you have a different understanding of what remember means, and what the explicit commands are in the NT. So, how do you interpret the chapter of John 6, then, when Our Lord basically says that if we don’t eat His Body and drink His Blood, we have no life within us? He’s very insistent that we do this, and He doesn’t give the form at that point either. How does a Protestant follow that command, especially if they don’t believe in transubstantiation?

  28. Lucyna Maria Says:

    Darn, I just noticed the final paragraph. I will answer that too, very soon.

  29. Mr Dennis Says:

    “Except, I have already explained how we are not breaking an explicit command from God. So, this is just a matter of opinion.”
    No, Christ did explicitly command to take the bread, and to take the wine. Although you may postulate that He is present in both and it may be possible to take just one, we can theorise all we like but we cannot change the actual wording of Scripture, which specifies both elements every time Holy Communion is mentioned.

    “So, how do you interpret the chapter of John 6, then, when Our Lord basically says that if we don’t eat His Body and drink His Blood, we have no life within us?”
    I follow Christ’s commandment to remember Him through taking Holy Communion. I believe that John 6 is symbolic, as that makes the most sense to me, but am acutely aware that alternative interpretations are possible. I know I could be wrong – and that you could be too.
    “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

    We can never understand the complexities of God, He is beyond our comprehension. But we do not need to understand fully or even agree with each other to obey the commandment of Christ, which is very simple – to remember Him through taking the bread and the wine.

    And if anyone tries to prevent another Christian from taking either the bread or the wine, they are preventing them from following Christ’s commandment, regardless of whether that bread and wine are His body and blood or simply symbols.

  30. Lucyna Maria Says:

    Then, even assuming it were ok to choose to just take one element, is it ok for the priest to force you to take just one?

    Well, most of the time now, I only take Holy Communion in the form of the bread anyway. The more I meditate on Christ’s presence in the bread, the less the desire for the wine.

    There’s also no actual force involved in removing the ability to drink the wine, so I would say that it is ok.

    Furthermore, if Holy Communion is simply to bring Christ present, and that is fulfilled once transubstantiation has taken place and the priest has partaken, why would anyone else bother to take Holy Communion at all?

    That’s back to John 6.

    Why would you be concerned about no longer being given the bread on your tongue?

    Because I have no other way of receiving communion any more. I cannot touch Him, and out of love for Him, I will not touch Him out of convenience.

    Last Sunday I did a Spiritual Communion (a prayer) instead, and was given a consolation. I am learning, slowly, the difference between doing things for form’s sake and for a motive more pleasing to God.

    I’ve put a post up on NZConservative on receiving Holy Communion on the tongue for more of an explanation.

  31. bain wellington Says:

    This is horribly late in the day, and Lucyna Maria took good care of the theological positions under-pinning the Catholic understanding of Holy Communion, but maybe I can add this:

    At the consecration at Holy Mass, as soon as the priest has spoken the words of institution over the bread (beginning “This is my body”), Jesus Christ becomes corporeally present on the altar under the appearance of bread. Fully present, immediately, in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

    Strictly speaking, from a theological and even a materialistic point of view with regard to Holy Communion, the transubstantiation of the wine is unnecessary. It is performed because it is part of the mandate given at the Last Supper (see below), and because it re-presents the final separation of Our Lord’s Precious Blood from His Body at the moment of His supreme sacrifice of Himself (Jn.19:34).

    This is not some grotesque pantomime, as if the priest first confects the bloodless corpse and then has to confect the blood to go with it. As Lucyna Maria explained, the injunction at Jn.6:51-58 (proclaiming salvation through the physical consumption of Our Lord’s flesh and blood) is fully satisfied by participation at Holy Communion under either or both species.

    The Dominical instruction with regard to the cup which Mr. Dennis extracts from St. Matthew’s Gospel (Mt.26:27) is entirely beside the point, even assuming that it signifies (as I do not concede) some concrete distinction between reception of the Precious Blood and reception of the Body at the Last Supper. Compare, for example, the version in Mark (Mk.14:22-24) which seems precisely to invert Mt.26:27 and implies that reception of the latter was mandatory for the Apostles whereas reception of the former was discretionary. But Sacred Scripture must be read integrally and as a whole, and not scrap by scrap.

    The important point, however, is that the mandate was [A] to repeat the action of the Last Supper, and [B] was given to the Twelve and not to the entire Christian community (the mandate only appears at Lk.22:19 and 1Co.11:24-25, of course).

    This mandate was not merely to eat and drink, but to repeat all the essential actions of the Last Supper – as, indeed, we find them encapsulated in the sacrifice of the Mass: “take bread . . take the cup” (the presentation of the gifts at the offertory, which the priest places on the altar); “bless” (the Eucharistic Prayer, spoken only by the priest); “break” (the fraction of the host, performed only by the priest); “give” (the administration of Holy Communion which the priest receives himself and then directly or indirectly administers to all the faithful).

    As Lucyna Maria observed, it is all very well for Mr. Dennis to assert that transubstantiation is assumed for the purposes of the argument, but the concession is meaningless if the doctrine is radically misunderstood.

  32. bain wellington Says:

    A short clarification.. at Holy Mass, the priest administers Holy Communion to those of the faithful who present themselves for its reception.

    Although it is absolutely necessary for the priest to communicate in order to obey the Dominical mandate discussed above, it is not obligatory for the faithful to receive Holy Communion at every Holy Mass at which they participate (although it is most salutary and, therefore, most desirable for them to do so, if they are in a state of grace).

    Nor is Holy Mass defective or insufficient if no faithful present themselves as communicants. The faithful communicate because of the injunction in Jn.6.51-58, and not because of any commandment given by Our Lord at the Last Supper.

  33. bain wellington Says:

    A third post may not be out of place, for the Sacred Scriptures give numerous indications justifying a bias (if we may term it such) to the species of bread at Holy Communion.

    We have the testimony of Acts as to the fellowship of the believers (“They devoted themselves . . to the breaking of bread and to prayer”, Ac.2:42). This immediately recalls elements of the eucharistic quadrilateral mentioned in my first post (took, blessed, broke, and gave) fully foreshadowed by Our Lord in the feeding of the 4,000 and the 5,000 (Mt.14:19, 15:36; Mk.6:41; Lk.9:16).

    This style of referring to Holy Communion in Acts under the species of bread is justified by the testimony of Our Lord who said:-

    “The bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world . . I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty” (Jn.6:32-35);

    “Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But there is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (Jn.6:49-51)

    Even after the passage where Our Lord speaks explicitly of His flesh and blood as food and drink (scandalising Jewish sensibilities), He reverts to the typology of bread:-

    “Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever” (Jn.6:57-58 referencing Ex.16:4, and cf. Ps.78:25 – “men ate the bread of angels”, alluding to the angelic feeding of Elijah, 1K.19:6).

    Then there are the post-resurrection events of feasting with the Lord, where the focus is on the breaking of bread (Jn.21:13 and, even more compellingly, the supper at Emmaus – Lk.24:30, with v. 35: “Then the two told what had happened on the way [to Emmaus], and how Jesus was recognised by them when He broke the bread”). This takes us back to the terminology in Acts, quoted above.

    Nor are the words in the Lord’s Prayer irrelevant (“give us today our daily bread”, Mt.6:11; Lk.11:3). While not exclusively directed to Holy Communion, they further demonstrate that “bread” can stand for all human nourishment – indeed, for all the material and spiritual necessities of life.

    Finally, for present purposes, there is the miraculous feeding of Elijah (a) at brook Kerith by ravens who brought him bread and meat (1Kings 17:6, followed immediately by the miracle of the widow’s flour and the oil at ibid. vv.7-16), and (b) in the wilderness beyond Beersheba by the angel who provided him with bread (1K.19.3-6).

    Because Elijah’s significance in the Gospels is both explicit (the Transfiguration, e.g. at Mt.17:3; and as a necessary forerunner of the Messiah, e.g. at ibid., vv. 11, 12) and implicit (Jesus’ 40 days in the desert recalling Elijah’s 40 days journey to Mt. Horeb, 1K.19:8), the miraculous feedings of which we read are not mere coincidences or adventitious reminiscences.

  34. George Mc Petrie Says:

    we mould a quality communion glass at a competitive price boxes of 50 and boes of 1000 Acriylic ( perspex ) not your standerd plastic Cup

  35. George Mc Petrie Says:

    we mould a quality communion glass at a competitive price boxes of 50 and box of 1000 Acriylic ( perspex ) not your standerd plastic Cup

  36. single cup Says:

    Thank you for moving me to go look up my own research.

    Yours was way more comprehensive than mine.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: