Sunday, May 8, 2011

John 6

Yesterday I went to my niece's First Communion Mass and was delighted with all of the happy girls and boys all dressed up for this big occasion.  Their parents, grandparents and godparents filled the church chairs (no pews in this church) with excited anticipation of this big day for their loved ones.  The priest did a wonderful job at giving a succinct explanation of why Catholics believe the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.

He quoted from John 6:  Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.  For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him."  John 6:53-55

It was beautifully done and then the First Communicants went up with their parents to receive Jesus' body and blood.  The majority of the Communicants and their parents only received Jesus' Body.  They didn't take His blood.  I was very surprised at this because it was their very first time and they should have received both Jesus' body and blood.  The bible verse does not say to take only the body... it clearly says, to drink His blood.

Later that day, I asked my sister why the majority of First Communicants and their parents didn't receive the blood of Jesus and she responded that their Religious Education Teacher (who is a nun) advised them not too since it was their first time.  Or something like that.  A sister of the church who advises against it is mind boggling to me.  I am a Eucharistic Minister at my church and maybe 50% of the parishioners will come to receive Jesus' blood.  I'm guessing they do not because a fear of germs?  A sanitary issue?

Whatever the reason is, I feel it's slighting Jesus.  It's obeying only part of his word... picking and choosing what one will follow and what one won't follow.  Do we know better than Jesus?  Of course not.  We must put our faith in him and follow His word.

God Bless,


  1. Noreen, what you said about receiving both the Blood and the Body was very interesting. I'd never thought about the need to receive both in this way before. I'd assumed that where the Body is, the Blood is too and where the Blood is, the Body is also present. So really we do receive both regardless of whether we actually receive from the chalice or not.

    At a wedding I went to, there were more communicants than hosts and the priest had to keep breaking the hosts into smaller and smaller pieces so everyone could receive. Later I asked another priest if the Blood could have been given alone instead of a host and was told yes.

    Do all your priests offer communion under both kinds? Here, sometimes it is only the priest who is able to receive the Blood.

    I shall have to find out more! God bless!

  2. Congratulations on your niece's First Communion! I'm glad you had a such a blessed day celebrating! So glad the priest gave a meaningful homily also! That is a blessing! The first communion's I've witnessed the children always drank Jesus' Blood also so I'm surprised this was not your experience. I understand that when we take the Host it is both His Body and Blood and sometimes I have been to Sunday Masses (not First Communion Masses) where the chalice was not offered. The chalice also contains His Body and Blood, from what I have understood. I remember during the swine flu season, our bishop did not allow the chalice to be offered for awhile at all Masses, but my thinking is that it is Jesus' Precious Blood and He can wipe out all germs and so much more! We now have the chalice in our church. Thank you for sharing your blessings on NOBH!

  3. Maybe I'm the one who doesn't understand the Eucharist well enough? I always thought we were meant to receive both. Both the host and wine are offered up during the Eucharistic prayer and I understood that to mean both were separate yet equally important.

    Sue- every church mass I've ever attended has offered both the body and blood of Jesus accept perhaps when I was a young child? I recall going up to the kneelers by the altar and receiving only Jesus' body. I don't recall the priest coming around again with His blood. I can't be sure since that was over 30+ years ago.

    Tracy- I agree that receiving Jesus' blood should not be a concern about germs. If He can come to us by His bread and blood, He can make it clean. Even though, if I have a cold I will not receive it.

  4. First Communion is such a special time. I still remember mine!

  5. just wanted to let you know that I brought Shannon to mass yesterday. Father Burke asked for all children who made their first communion the day before to come up to the front of the church to receive a blessing. Shann and another boy stood in front of the church and everyone held their hands out and prayed for them. It was very moving. When I took Shann up for communion she did receive the wine. I never really questioned sister as to why they were not encouraged to receive the wine. So much importance was placed on receiving the host. When the eucharistic minister held out the chalice and said "The blood of Christ" I felt very moved to hear Shannon say, "Amen". I felt it was a blessing for Shann to receive both. It felt as though she completed her first communion then.

  6. Theresa - thank you for visiting my blog!

    Irish3 - I'm glad to hear that but perhaps it isn't necessary? Sue and Tracy have a different view on it so I will check with my parish priest this week. It feels like since the Eucharistic prayer is for both, we should receive both. Maybe I am wrong but I will look into it :)

  7. The Eucharist contains all unto itself. It wasn't until the liturgical experimentation began in the U.S. after Vatican 2 that both the Host and the Precious Blood was offered to Communicants. You don't have to receive from the cup however, as the Host is sufficient in that it contains the Body, BLOOD, Soul, and Divinity of Christ. You don't physically have to drink from the cup of the Precious Blood in order to receive that same Precious Blood already existent in the Host.

  8. And of course I meant to say:

    Congrats to your niece!!!:)

  9. What a special day for your niece! My youngest is making his First Holy Communion in a month. It is such a precious time.

    Thanks for the comment on my blog (via Jen's blog). I left you a comment back on that post if you'd like to read it.