Recently, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco banned Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi from receiving the Eucharist because she supported abortion rights; she joined many other public figures who were previously barred from receiving communion due to their support for abortion rights. However, in his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii GaudiumPope Francis said: “The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect, but a generous medicine and nourishment for the weak.
The Eucharist is the heart of the Catholic faith. Here are the reasons why Catholics receive communion.
The Eucharist is a celebration of the life of Jesus Christ. It is also a celebration of how he freed us from sin through his body and blood. Thus, at each Mass, Catholics come together to celebrate the person and work of Christ.
At every Mass, Catholics are to repent of acts that have caused them to defame the name of Christ, demote his supremacy in their lives, and deviate from his teachings. Thus, Paul says that believers should receive the Eucharist and “examine themselves.” This gives every Catholic the opportunity to be an actor and not just a listener.
In Luke 22:17-19, Jesus gives thanks and his disciples participate in fellowship. Thanksgiving is an important part of the Mass; it gives every believer a chance to thank God for all he has done for him. Psalm 50 and Acts 17 make it clear that God needs nothing from His people; all he wants is for us to need him! It’s like the anthem”Come sinners, poor and needysaid, “Come, you who thirst, come and receive the free goodness of God, glorify it.” True belief and true repentance, any grace that brings you closer. Thus, the grace seen at the cross is a response to thanksgiving, which empowers believers to obey and follow Jesus. The Eucharist helps Catholics see this grace and work of Christ at every Mass.
Saint Paul reminds Catholics that in receiving the Eucharist they proclaim the death of the Lord until he returns. This serves two purposes in the Church. First, it reminds the church of the gospel story, especially that of redemption and restoration. By receiving the Eucharist, Catholics remember Christ’s love on the cross and his return. The other purpose is the proclamation of the Gospel to unbelievers on what Christ has done, not on what people are doing.
The Eucharist expresses the unity of the Church and communion with the Holy Spirit. St. Paul’s primary purpose of the Eucharist (the Lord’s Supper) in 1 Corinthians 11:17-33 is to promote unity, not division. Thus, by receiving the Eucharist as a Church family, Catholics are united around the Gospel and also commune with God.
“Do this in my memory.”
By receiving the Eucharist at Mass, Catholics remember the freedom they received through the shedding of innocent blood. It is a remembrance and a commemoration of the passion of Christ.
One of the joys of receiving the Eucharist at Mass is seeing believers equipped for the work of ministry. The Eucharist gives people the opportunity to use their gifts within the Church. It’s all part of seeing the body of Christ functioning in a healthy and powerful way.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta once said:
“We must not separate our life from the Eucharist. The moment we do, something breaks.