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October 24, 1997     The Message
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October 24, 1997

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1997 9 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana to the beginning By FATHER LAWRENCE E. MICK liturgy of the church in the Greek city of Catholic News Service i/]I enjoy offering adult education talks &apos;;d COUrses on the liturgy Usually my rretations include some history of the t. gy. This helps people understand the .... . ges experienced since Vatican Coun- II, any things that seemed new to us llll were actually ancient practices of the i ly What we assume in look- ac< to the beginning is that those o Were close to the time of Christ had hgu d Sense Of what he intended the tl rch to be. :el A similar impulse leads the church to el.y on the Scriptures as a touchstone of Idn ur faith. a00ongva.o us writings of those early furies; only certain texts were includ- inthe canon of the New Testament. ese writings were re " ._ co,razed by the -*ulttlnlh, o t 1_ .... i : 'ODe,- .: ! oeuevers as containin the _, -'muerstandin, v ea ' o of Jesus and his o. nmg for us. Omce that time these writings have rved as a COnstant reference point for S tians, and they offer useful insi hts uur OWn time. g C=C.tsli.daerr St. Paul's first letter to the M-- as. In Chapter 11:17-34, he reSSes a'problern that arose in the 00]00Pgstl00 : :ii ntinued frorn pa e :: : :: i Sometimes we g 8 exitv ,,t , . puzzle over the com- l]'tho; :} ';Ul's letters, but so did the ne second E mtle of Peter ho Wrote th .... , p" tar, ,at rn Paul s wntm "there i(3:  SOme thins ha g ,, 14-17) g rd to understand he asto,,-,,_, in these letters most of all 4. ttho- ",mng person who w t: a m - as their ,,. an ot wisdom and passi n, "r, ness and stre o ii, th the H,,, , n.gth, a spirit on fire  aWers-u 'Y oplrit, a teacher who i eStions we still ask. Corinth. The liturgy in Paul's time still includ- ed a full meal, and Paul notes that the Christians were not sharing their food with each other, even though such shar- ing would represent a mark of their unity in Christ. Some people were eat- ing well, even getting drunk, while oth- ers had nothing to eat. Should this concern us? Paul goes on to remind the Corinthi- ans of the meaning of the eucharistic meal, and his teaching applies to our liturgy as much as to the first-century liturgy in Corinth. Paul first recalls the origin of the Eucharist in the action of Jesus himself at the Last Supper. He reminds the Corinthi- ans that this meal is linked to the death of Christ: "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes" (vs. 26). Next he warns the Corinthians that receiving the body and blood of the Lord unworthily is a serious matter. He urges them to examine themselves before shar- ing in this sacred meal. "For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks a judgment on himself" (vs. 29). Scholars tell us that the concern here is that the people were not recognizing that the worshiping community was the body of Christ. Since Christ died to rec- oncile all people to the Father and to each other, celebrating the meal that pro- claims his death should unite us with God, yes, but also with each other. To celebrate the meal while ignoring our brothers and sisters violates the Eucharist's fundamental meaning. In our era we have relearned the ancient truth that the Eucharist unites us not only with Jesus but also with all our brothers and sisters. This crucial insight has been central to the reform of the order of the Mass and continues to chal- lenge us. Schidt sf r" is the di nnel ,,,.,,_ _ rector of priest er of the Archdiocese J-, me Diocese of Oakland, Calif. Father Mick is a priest of Cincinnati, Ohio, and a free-lance writer. I:aith in the Marketplace ThiSTell Wk's_Discussion Point: =t of a lettery u o KfOrgettable? o nee recewed that remains wwd m your memory. What made ke oLtr Le.t frna my dad that I received when I was lOot 11 years old. At the -,,._ ttse it's, : _Y, as living apart because of a health crisis. I treasure that letter ',ne "  to rn d .... 20 Yea.-. - ., y ad. It s the only letter I still have from him  and he s been " now.- ---Ka thy Henry, Madmon, WIS. i eva tter Out of the blue once from someone Ionly talked with occa-  -" "- ,nqree] oo-= ,, F one. That she took the time to write reallv touched me and made ,,M,.; u, ._. Laurie Boyle, Andover, N.J. ! .el;rsete .me long letters when I went away to college. I loved to get his q ue tilled me ha on " k He was an ba ,herman - all the events of the prevtous wee ....  the e and hunter and often wrote of his experiences. Those letters brought 1 'O i : unes Ot our time together."  James Harmon, Richmond Heights, I'I'Y Yg er brother ' le [ ,. are You? r4.. was away at summer camp m 1970. He wrote. Dear Caro , "" of few .-,u .w s your cat? Send money. Love, Ernest.' He's in his 30s now, still words, and still asking for money!" -- Carole Greene:Baltimore, Md. nd Us Your Voice: edison as , . M u "': : t is the 'hard pa p y y l ks Wha rt of ra error ou? ' . . 20017-1100. St. Paui was concerned that some early Christians were not giving the unity of the Christian community its proper due, writes Father Lawrence E. Mick. To celebrate the Eucharist "while ignoring our brothers and sisters violates the Eucharist's fundamental meaning.," Father Mick writes. CNS illustration 0 St. Paul spoke eloquently, but pointedly. Paul told it like it is, for example, in cautioning that even if we speak in "angelic tongues," we are nothing but "a resounding gong or a Clashing cym- bal" if we do not love (1 Corinthians 13:1). He went on to present what may be our most familiar definition of "love," which is patient, kind, not jealous, not pompous and "does not rejoice over wrongdoing" (Cf.:l Corinthians 13:4-5). Paul, our counselor, advised: "If you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another" (Galatians 5:15). "Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6.'9). Paul urged Christians to "rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15), and to "welcome one another" (Romans 15:7). For we ought to remember that we need each other, Paul thought. He said: "The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I do not need you'. Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary." But this was .... n't an anatomy lesson. Underscoring his point, Paul condudecl: "You are Christ's body, and individually parts of it" (1 Corinthians. 21-22" 27). David Gibson Editor, Faith Mlvel