Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Good Gift

Holy Communion, the Eucharist, the Good Gift, is extremely important. For example, Christ says of it 'this is my body - this is my blood' and in John 6 Jesus says:
"Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink."
As well, I read this passage the other day and was astonished again, it's St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 11 discussing the abuses of the Eucharist (to Protestants, no this does not mean the Corinthians weren't using Welch's Grape Juice and Goldfish crackers, and to the Catholics no this does not mean they were using a priest from SSPX)

"For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, 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 Lord’s death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgement against
themselves. For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some
have died

To me the most amazing thing is that St. Paul or any other NT epistle rarely ever quotes Christ, there is probably only a handful of phrases St. Paul even knew from Jesus, he most likely did not ever read the gospels (maybe mark - which I don't think includes these phrases). This means that the early church had such a high view of the Eucharist that it passed on the exact or near exact words of Jesus. St. Paul says he received it from the Lord (does this mean in his vision? maybe). All in all, it goes to show me that the early christians were very reverent when it came to communion - or rather were not, and thus invoked the wrath of St. Paul.

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