The second reading this coming Sunday from I Corinthians 11 is in the middle of a passage wherein Paul is criticizing the Corinthians community for their practices when they gather for the Lord’s Supper, which is the earliest title of this event, τον του κυριου δειπνον. He takes on their divisions (we are still filled with divisions), the lack of attention to the hungry (there are still the poor among us not adequately fed), and that everyone eats worthily (we’re still gawking to see who goes and who doesn’t). .

This last note is pointed. The approval comes from the individual, not the community. In other words conscience here holds first place for worthiness to receive. There’s horror stories out there of priests who deny communion right there in front of everyone!

Secondly to eat the bread, properly recognizing both the reality of Jesus present precisely in his dying, his self-emptying, and his sharing. The actual reading is quite matter of fact for what is called the institution of the Eucharist itself. Here it is the context that is worth exploring. The eating and drinking is a proclamation of the death of the Lord. Here the Eucharist is given as a core part of the whole kergyma, which is the evangelizing mission of the Church. We proclaim dying, so that we can profess resurrection.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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