The Catechism in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz) - Day 192: Unity in the Eucharist (2024)

Episode Date: July 10, 2024

The sacrament of Holy Communion unites the faithful together in a most profound, visible way. It also makes disunity in the Church all the more painful and apparent. The Catechism reveals the Church�...�s teachings regarding the Eucharist and Christian churches who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church. Fr. Mike addresses a most common and difficult question: “If a non-Catholic believes that the Eucharist is truly Jesus, why can they not receive him in the sacrament?” Today’s readings are Catechism paragraphs 1396-1401. This episode has been found to be in conformity with the Catechism by the Institute on the Catechism, under the Subcommittee on the Catechism, USCCB. For the complete reading plan, visit Please note: The Catechism of the Catholic Church contains adult themes that may not be suitable for children - parental discretion is advised.

Discussion (0)
Starting point is 00:00:00 Hi, my name is Father Mike Schmitz and you're listening to the Catechism in a Year podcast where we encounter God's plan of sheer goodness for us, revealed in scripture and passed down through the tradition of the Catholic faith. The Catechism in a Year is brought to you by Ascension. In 365 days, we'll read through the Catechism of the Catholic Church, discovering our identity in God's family as we journey together toward our heavenly home. This is day 192. We're reading paragraphs 1396 to 1401.
Starting point is 00:00:30 As always, I am using the Ascension edition of the Catechism, which is awesome and also includes the Foundations of Faith approach, but you can follow along with any recent version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. You can also download your own Catechism in your reading plan by visiting slash C II-Y and little known fact, just today, this is you know, day 192, I want to make it special, special announcement. Today and today only. Can you click follow or subscribe on your podcast app for daily updates and daily notifications? If you missed today, who knows? Who knows what tomorrow
Starting point is 00:00:58 will hold? I sure don't. Anyways, but today is day 192, reading paragraphs 1396 to 1401. Yesterday we started talking about the fruits of Holy Communion today we're going to continue on what are some of those fruits of receiving Holy Communion as well as What about the Eucharist and the unity of Christians? What about the Eucharist and those who aren't? Roman Catholic, what do we do with that? What does it mean for them? And what does it mean for all of us? We're talking about those things today, continuant fruits of receiving Holy Communion,
Starting point is 00:01:31 as well as the Eucharist and the unity of Christians. And so, tackling big topics, we need God's help. Well, we need God's help always. And so we approach him now, just opening our hearts to receive his voice, to hear his word and to respond to it with faith. So we pray, Father in heaven, we give you praise. We thank you, thank you for this day.
Starting point is 00:01:52 Thank you for once again coming to meet us by the power of your Holy Spirit and the person of your son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for speaking your word to us, your word made flesh, giving your word to us, your word made flesh, your only begotten Son, so that all those who believe in you might not perish, but might have eternal life. Lord God, this day, we pray for the unity of all Christians. We pray that one day once again, all those who follow after Jesus may one day be united around the table. One day be united around the altar of the Lord.
Starting point is 00:02:33 Lord God, we pray right now that what divides us as Christians may be overcome by what unites us as Christians. We pray that in your mercy and in your great will and your great providence and your the miracle that only you can render That you bring unity once again to all those who profess faith in your son, Jesus Christ Make us one As you are one We make this prayer in the mighty name of Jesus Christ our lord Amen in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit. Amen. It is day 192 We are reading paragraph 1396 to 1401.
Starting point is 00:03:09 The Unity of the Mystical Body The Eucharist Makes the Church Those who receive the Eucharist are united more closely to Christ. Through it, Christ unites them to all the faithful in one body, the Church. Communion renews, strengthens, and deepens this incorporation into the Church already achieved by baptism. In baptism, we have been called to form but one body. The Eucharist fulfills this call. As St. Paul wrote, The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one
Starting point is 00:03:53 bread. St. Augustine further stated, If you are the body and members of Christ, then it is your sacrament that is placed on the table of the Lord. It is your sacrament that you receive. To that which you are, you respond, amen. Yes, it is true. And by responding to it, you assent to it. For you hear the words, the body of Christ, and respond, amen.
Starting point is 00:04:17 Be then a member of the body of Christ, that your amen may be true. The Eucharist commits us to the poor. To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the poorest, His Brethren. As St. John Chrysostom stated, You have tasted the blood of the Lord, yet you do not recognize your brother. You dishonor this table when you do not judge worthy of sharing your food someone judged
Starting point is 00:04:44 worthy to take part in this meal. God freed you from all your sins and invited you here, but you have not become more merciful." The Eucharist and the Unity of Christians Before the greatness of this mystery, St. Augustine exclaims, O sacrament of devotion! O sign of unity! O bond of charity! The more painful the experience of the divisions in the Church which break the common participation in the Table of the Lord, the more urgent are our prayers to the Lord, that the time
Starting point is 00:05:13 of complete unity among all who believe in Him may return. The Eastern Churches that are not in full communion with the Catholic Church celebrate the Eucharist with great love. These churches, although separated from us, yet possess true sacraments, above all by apostolic succession, the priesthood, and the Eucharist, whereby they are still joined to us in closest intimacy. A certain communion in sacres and so in the Eucharist, given suitable circumstances and the approval of Church authority, is not merely possible but is encouraged. Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the Catholic Church have
Starting point is 00:05:52 not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders. It is for this reason that, for the Catholic Church, Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible. However, these Ecclesial communities, when they commemorate the Lord's death and resurrection in the Holy Supper, profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and await His coming and glory. When in the ordinary's judgment a grave necessity arises. Catholic ministers may give the sacraments of Eucharist, penance, and anointing of the
Starting point is 00:06:27 sick to other Christians not in full communion with the Catholic Church, who ask for them of their own will, provided they give evidence of holding the Catholic faith regarding these sacraments and possess the required dispositions. Right, there we are in paragraphs 1396 to 1401. Man, okay, so kind of here's some big topics and they all circle around the unity of the mystical body that the Eucharist makes the church. I love this phrase in 1396. It says, those who receive the Eucharist are united more closely to Christ, which of course is kind of one of the things we established yesterday and even even before this whole time we've been talking about the Eucharist, we've been talking about this, that when it comes to Holy Communion, it unites us in love. It is meant to be a sign of unity. As we
Starting point is 00:07:18 noted, St. Paul is saying, the cup of blessing we bless is not a participation of blood of Christ because there's one bread We who are many are one body for we all partake of the one bread And that quote from st. Augustine being so powerful because what happens we come forward and and the minister Whether the priest deacon the bishop or an extraordinary minister of holy communion holds that Body of christ aloft and says those words the body of Christ and we respond. Amen. Yes, it is true You know, we're gonna talk about in a second inter communion or the idea Is it possible that those who are not Catholic could receive Holy Communion and it seems in so so many ways
Starting point is 00:07:56 it seems like one of those things where Why not? You know in some ways like, you know, if they believe that Jesus is truly Jesus, you know we couple days ago we read about st. Justin Martyr and he had some conditions for receiving Holy Communion. And among those conditions where they are baptized, they believe that Jesus is Lord, but also among those conditions are a level of unity that we recognize that Ignatius of Antioch and other of those early Church F fathers had specified that it's not merely professing faith in Jesus but it's also being united with one's
Starting point is 00:08:30 bishop. That it's not just Jesus and me, it's right. It's about there's a certain sense of union that if I'm in full communion with the church then I may receive Holy Communion and if I'm not in full communion with the church then I may not. And this goes for Catholics as well. If I'm not in full communion meaning maybe I stepped out and I'm not living the life of a Catholic, maybe I'm in mortal sin, maybe there's some other irregularity in my life and if I'm not in full communion as even as a Catholic I may not partake of the Eucharist, but there's something even at the heart of this where we say, but isn't it inhospitable, right? Isn't it just kind of mean
Starting point is 00:09:04 to say someone can't receive Holy Communion? I remember talking with, there was a man, he's a Deacon and he was raised by his mom as a Lutheran and his mom at the time was still Lutheran and she was heartbroken and really torn up because she said, you know, my son's ordination to the diaconate, she said, I won't be able to receive Holy Communion. And I really want that sign of unity. I really want that and I completely understand. We had a long conversation about it. At one point, I asked her, I said, well, do you believe that the Eucharist really is Jesus, body, blood, soul and divinity? She said, well, no, at the time.
Starting point is 00:09:40 And I said, okay, well, here's the thing is when we come forward to receive Holy Communion, that minister holds again the body of Christ aloft and says the body of Christ, meaning what the church means, which is this is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus. When we say respond with amen, what we're saying is, as it says here in paragraph 1396, amen, yes, it is true. Yes, I believe that essentially we're saying, I stake my life on that. Like that, yes, I, not that I'm perfect,
Starting point is 00:10:09 but they're saying the body of Christ, when we say amen, what we're saying is, again, essentially, at the very heart of this, I stake my life on that. That is true. When the chalice is handed to us, the blood of Christ, we say amen, yes, it is is true I stake my life on this and I said essentially if you don't believe that the church doesn't want you to lie just for the sake of what looks like
Starting point is 00:10:38 unity it would only be you guys we know this it would only be unity on the surface it would only be a cosmetic unity. The body of Christ is divided and it's divided in a painful and horrible way. I don't know if you ever thought about this. At the Last Supper when Jesus gave us the Eucharist, in John's Gospel he also prays, he begs his father that we would be one. He begs his father, he says, Father, may they be one as you and I are one. And what's happened here? We're not one. We have Christians who are divided, right?
Starting point is 00:11:16 We have, we have a number of ecclesial communities, thousands and thousands of Christians, Christian denominations, and we're all divided. Thousands of Christians Christian denominations and we're all divided And yet Jesus's prayer at the Last Supper was that we wouldn't be divided his his prayer at the Last Supper was that we would Be one and here's the crazy thing is that for the most part? We don't care for the most part when it comes to the division among Christians is really yeah Whatever, you know varieties of spice of life, you know more options out there. No big deal Until when until we get to the mass. And in the mass, we have friends who are there
Starting point is 00:11:47 who are not Catholic, we have family members who are there who are not Catholic. And then we experience the pain of division. And rather than saying, let's heal then, let's work towards unity again, we say, oh no, no, let's just extend the offer of Holy Communion to anyone. Again, that would simply be a cosmetic unity
Starting point is 00:12:06 and it wouldn't get to the heart of our divisions. But I believe, I truly believe that what we experience now with different denominations is not God's will. I am 100% convinced that this is not God's will, especially I just pay attention, pay attention to Christ's prayer at the Last Supper. May they be one. And so yes, it's painful when we have friends or family members who are not Catholic who come to
Starting point is 00:12:34 Mass with us and they have to either sit in the pew or sometimes people go up for a blessing or something like that, you know, there's different opinions on that. But we can't receive Holy Communion, it's painful. I think those are the times we transform our pain into prayer. And those are the times when we say, yes, I'm experiencing a slight fraction of the pain that in some mysterious way God must experience looking at the division of his church that we're meant to be united and we're not united and so painfully we're not able to offer communion to all those who are not Catholic or not practicing Catholics and yet and yet there's
Starting point is 00:13:20 something really powerful about this something really powerful about the fact that you know at talking with that mom the man who's gonna be ordained a deacon There's something really powerful about this. Something really powerful about the fact that, you know, talking with that mom, the man who's gonna be ordained a deacon, and talking further with her about what the church believes about the Eucharist, how this is rooted in scripture, how this is rooted in Christ's teaching, his promises, and God's love for us.
Starting point is 00:13:39 It took a couple years. But a couple years later at the Easter Vigil, she made a profession of faith in the Catholic Church, was received into full communion with the church, was confirmed in the Catholic Church and received her first Holy Communion in the Catholic Church. That came about not because it was painful, it was uncomfortable, it was difficult and so she just we just gave her Holy Communion to avoid the difficulty and the distress.
Starting point is 00:14:09 But by loving her and revealing the truth of Jesus Christ and the truth of the church and the truth of the Eucharist to her as she was willing to receive it, something changed. Where there was disunity, there became real unity. Which is incredible. The last two notes, maybe the last three notes, because they're all important to note. One is St. John Chrysostom says that how important it is the Eucharist commits us to the poor. That God feeds us and frees us. Therefore, we're called to go and free others and feed others.
Starting point is 00:14:46 Huge, huge. The last two pieces are the Eastern churches. So the Eastern churches, like the Orthodox churches and the like, they are not in full communion with the Catholic church, and yet, because they have apostolic succession, meaning they have the priesthood, they have the Eucharist. So in the Orthodox churches and the Eastern churches,
Starting point is 00:15:08 their Eucharist is what we call valid. That truly is Jesus, body, blood, soul, and divinity because they have apostolic succession, because they have true holy orders, they truly have the Eucharist. And so as it mentions in 1399, there's a certain communion in sacres. And so this is, you know, it's a challenging thing here, but it's also a good thing.
Starting point is 00:15:31 In the Eucharist, given suitable circumstances and the approval of Church authority, their receiving Holy Communion in the Catholic Church is not merely possible, but is encouraged. And there's a whole history behind that that's pretty remarkable because once again the church wants there to be unity church wants Everyone who longs for Jesus to receive Jesus in fact, that's why here's the last thing in paragraph 1401 if there's ever grave necessity and In the ordinary like the vocal bishops judgment Catholic ministers may give the sacraments of Eucharist penance and anointing of the sick to Christians not in full communion with the church But who desire that. So here's someone and they've been discerning, you know, over the course of their lives, they've been discerning
Starting point is 00:16:11 should I become Catholic or even on their deathbed they hear about Jesus Christ and they hear about the gift of the truth of the Catholic Church and then even outside of RCIA under again the ordinary's judgment they may receive the sacraments of Eucharist penance and anointing of the sick when in danger of death when grave necessity arises one of the reasons again for this is because the church does not want to withhold grace for anyone who is asking for it in a time of need and so anyways that's what we got for today I don't
Starting point is 00:16:43 want to end on like a down a. Um, but it's actually, I think it's an up note. I think that in so many ways, this is a powerful truth and it is a powerful thing that we just need to hold onto. The Eucharist is the sacrament of sacraments. It is a sign of unity and maybe even it brings about a certain degree of unity, but at the same time, just like yesterday when we talked about how the sacrament is not of Eucharist is is not a reward for the perfect but is medicine for the sick we
Starting point is 00:17:13 recognize it's not medicine for the dead we don't give medicine to the dead in the same way that if we experience division we want to heal that division before we can receive Holy Communion as one body. We need to become one body in order to receive Holy Communion as one body, if that makes any sense. And if this day has been a challenge, if this day has been difficult to you, please join me. Almost every Mass, almost every single Mass that I offer, take a moment and pray for the unity of all Christians. Virtually every Sunday Mass, there's always a moment where we just pray for the unity
Starting point is 00:17:44 of all Christians. That one day, what divides us as Christians may be overcome by what unites us as Christians. That one day, maybe even in our lifetime, you guys. Once again, every disciple of Jesus be gathered around one altar, in one table, with one shepherd. That's what we pray for. And I'm praying for you. Please pray for me. My name is Father Mike. I cannot wait to see you tomorrow. God bless.

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