Reception of holy Communion

I got a message on my Facebook page from Mr. Chuks Vincent Chuks; he read one of my articles titled: THE HOLY EUCHARIST (THE MASS) and he wish to know why at Mass only the Priests consumes the blood of Jesus (the consecrated wine) and distribute only the body to the lay faithful. I am sure there are many others out there that wants to know the answer to this question.Euch1

I want to begin by letting you know that there is no Divine law binding the laity from partaking or sharing in the cup (the blood of Jesus), no, there is no such law. The Church may for some very serious reasons withhold the cup from the laity, not because they are not worthy, neither are they denied of their reception of Jesus. The issue of worthiness is out of it because the Priest himself also stands in need of the mercy of God. So, before I tell you some of the reasons that may make the Church to withhold the cup from the laity, I wish to explain something very important.

Jesus Christ cannot be divided; we cannot claim that part of him is in the blood (the consecrated wine) why the other part is in the body (the consecrated bread). The Church believes and teaches that Jesus Christ is present, Body, Soul and divinity in both forms (Bread and Wine). Whether you receive the holy Communion under the appearance of bread or wine, you received Christ in total (Body, Soul and Divinity).

I want you to note that at some point during the consecration, the Priest breaks the breadbread 2 and cuts a portion of the large host (consecrated bread) and puts it into the Chalice (the cup containing the blood). This is a very important thing to note, he is not doing that for nothing but to pass a message. That mingling rite he performs signifies the union of the body and blood of Jesus Christ; be warned, the union did not take place at the mingling but as the words of consecration were spoken over the bread and wine by the Priest. This is a mysterious gift to the Church we may not be able to explain satisfactorily to every one, it demands a lot of faith. Jesus is present in both forms.

Let’s go back to the question why the laity are sometimes not given the chance to receive Christ in the form of wine. AS I said earlier on, there is no Divine law that binds them from receiving in this form, but the Church may stop the laity to control abuses. You and I know how difficult it would be to let every parishioner partake of the cup especially on Sundays when we have very big congregations; receiving communion under the form of wine may take the whole day. But in a situation where the congregation is very small and controllable, they can be given the chance. I do that during wedding ceremonies, the couples at least receive Christ in both forms.bread 3

The Church may also consider the health challenges connected to this form of reception of communion. You can imagine a congregation of over Ten Thousand parishioners as the case may be, sharing from one or two cups. Its dangerous.

The laity are not segregated or discriminated against; we are one body (the church) with one head (Jesus Christ).

Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA

Joel Okojie is an ordained Catholic Priest in the Order of St. Augustine. He has been a Priest for over a decade. He served as pastor in two different parishes, he was one time Novice Master and a member of the Provincial Council of the province of St. Augustine of Nigeria, and he is currently on a mission in response to the needs of the Church in Canada.

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