Catholic Tradition Newsletter A14: Passion Sunday, Holy Eucharist, Saint Hegesippus, Family

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Vol 12 Issue 14  ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
April 6, 2019 ~ Lenten Feria

1.      What is the Holy Eucharist
2.      Passion Sunday
3.      Saint Hegesippus
4.      Family and Marriage
5.      Articles and notices

Dear Reader:

When one speaks of the devil it is not surprising that he is there. But while one speaks of the devil no one believes he is there. It is a defect of our nature, not by God, but from ourselves as we dwell solely upon the senses and what is perceived by the senses rather than on the mind and what reason informs us of the reality one lives in. Because the senses are gratified, they become stronger. Because the insights of the mind are neglected, they become weaker. Let’s take a moment to think. We know smoking is a leading cause of lung and throat cancer and there is no one who smokes so they can get cancer because no one wants cancer—but because the body craves the cigarette, despite the stink, despite the smoke, despite the stained teeth and tongue, and despite knowing it causes cancer, we give into the vice of smoking. What folly! What insanity! But we justify it with all kinds of excuses. Another example: We know the pillar of society is an intact family and that children born outside an intact family are more likely to being delinquents and less likely to form an intact family themselves. Yet, the state promotes the destruction of the family; we also refuse to support and retain intact families by not marrying in the Church, separating because of personal failure to love the other, living with another while still married—or, supporting those who do by justifying their actions, thereby participating in their sin.   Our claim that our own happiness is to be first because our senses desire sensuality and cannot be controlled is desiring our own self-destruction by falling into lust.

Here is the devil, who convinces us that God doesn’t know what He is talking about, or that we should be the god of our own lives, knowing good and evil. We bring evil into a good world through calling this evil good and the good God wills in the world evil because it denies us our sinful pleasure. What nonsense we create because we follow our sensuality and become slaves to the devil, chained to vice. Does any good come out of our choices? Can we say what we did improved the world we live in? Therefore, speaking of the devil, he is there even if we want to deny it.

As children of God our Father, as Catholics, we should be using this season of Lent –the last two weeks left—to free ourselves from our vices. If this Lent passes and there has been no progress of at least stopping one vice, one fault, then the acceptable time, the time of salvation will pass (cf. Isa. 49:8; 2 Cor. 6:2). Our Lord came to take sin out of the world and He gave us the Sacraments to assist us in taking them out of our lives. We need to make use of the Sacraments as frequently as possible. The devil tempts us to bring sin into the world, into our lives for by such he secures our perdition. The expression, the devil made me do it, rings true because behind evil is the devil and doing evil is doing the work of the devil. Let us not do his work, but God’s work in all goodness, and justice, and truth (cf. Eph. 5:9).

As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit. —The Editor

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WHAT IS THE HOLY EUCHARIST

By Rev. Courtney Edward Krier

Eucharistic Controversies

First Controversy

Corinthians and Saint Paul

Since the Eucharist is the central point of Christian living, where the visibility of the Mystical Body of Christ is most apparent and the participation in the Mystical Body of Christ is expressly realized in being the Church, the Apostles, the pillars of faith, one should recognize abuses that would defile the Bride of Christ in her fidelity to the Bridegroom. Saint Paul, in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, brings up the first error in the various controversies that would rise up concerning the Holy Eucharist.

The Corinthians adapted a common course in the early Church to hold the Agape before the Eucharistic Sacrifice. This led to greater emphasis on the Agape and afterwards approaching the Eucharistic Sacrifice unworthily and irreverently and not distinguishing one was common food, the other the Body and Blood of Christ. The result was the introduction of a proper preparation for Holy Mass and clarity on the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist (cf. Orchard, 1093).

Now this I ordain: not praising you, that you come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all I hear that when you come together in the church, there are schisms among you; and in part I believe it. For there must be also heresies: that they also, who are approved, may be made manifest among you. When you come therefore together into one place, it is not now to eat the Lord’s supper.

For every one taketh before his own supper to eat. And one indeed is hungry and another is drunk. What, have you not houses to eat and to drink in? Or despise ye the church of God; and put them to shame that have not? What shall I say to you? Do I praise you? In this I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread. And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me.

For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come. Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. (1 Cor. 11:17-29)

The AgapeThe Lord’s supper, as the apostle here calls the meal before the Eucharistic Sacrifice (cf. note for verse 20 in Challoner’s commentary), was supposed to imitate the Last Supper, where Christ ate the Passover meal before instituting the Holy Eucharist. Because the Greeks were accustomed to have dinners when someone died, the Agape was presented as a funerary dinner and, perhaps, not drawing too much attention for the Christian gatherings under such a label by engaging in a custom used even by the pagans. Generally, it appears that after the Agape, as Saint Paul points out, the faithful were no longer disposed to participate reverently and worthily in the Holy Eucharist, being they were envious, miserly, drunk: And one indeed is hungry and another is drunk. (verse 21) The Agape and its proximity to the Eucharistic Sacrifice introduced abuses that had to be corrected, and Saint Paul is the instrument the Holy Ghost used to instruct the Church on the Holy Eucharist.

As it was local Churches only, and was not the practice universally, the words of Saint Paul must be seen in that light, yet bringing in traditions that would in time become almost universal. Thus he speaks of the covering of the woman’s head starting in verse 6. And, he concludes in verse 16:  But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor the church of God. And, taking strife as the next theme, he again emphasizes the unity of the Church which is broken by schism: For first of all I hear that when you come together in the church, there are schisms among you. And in part I believe it. For there must be also heresies: that they also, who are approved may be made manifest among you. (1 Cor. 11:18-19) He then proceeds to the abuses of the Agape. This abuse accords with that encountered in Jerusalem in the very beginning:

And the multitude of believers had but one heart and one soul: neither did any one say that aught of the things which he possessed, was his own; but all things were common unto them. Acts . . .  But a certain man named Ananias, with Saphira his wife, sold a piece of land, and by fraud kept back part of the price of the land, his wife being privy thereunto: and bringing a certain part of it, laid it at the feet of the apostles. But Peter said: Ananias, why hath Satan tempted thy heart, that thou shouldst lie to the Holy Ghost, and by fraud keep part of the price of the land? Whilst it remained, did it not remain to thee? and after it was sold, was it not in thy power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thy heart? Thou hast not lied to men, but to God. And Ananias hearing these words, fell down, and gave up the ghost. And there came great fear upon all that heard it. (Acts 4:32, 5:1-5).

It also had an effect upon the Eucharistic Sacrifice that followed the Agape. Saint Paul, here, then opposes the custom of the Agape (Lord’s Supper) before the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Just as the covering eventually became universally practiced, so fasting before the Eucharistic Sacrifice also became universally practiced. Saint Thomas provides this commentary:

He says, therefore, first: the reason I say that it is not lawful for you to eat the Lord’s supper is that every one takes before his own supper to eat, namely, of common food. For each one carried to the church a tray of food already prepared, and each one ate by himself, before he took the sacred mysteries: they banquet separately; now they shall perish (Hos 9:9); and in the person of the frugal, it is said: I have found rest, and I ate of my own goods alone (Sir 11:19).

For the wealthy ate lavishly in church and imbibed until they were drunk; they gave nothing to the poor, who remained hungry. And this is what he says, and one indeed is hungry, namely, the poor man, who did not have the means to prepare anything, and another is drunk, namely, the rich, who overate and over-drank, which is contrary to what is said: go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared (Neh 8:10); and: I have eaten my morsel alone, and the fatherless has not eaten of it (Job 31:17).

Then when he says, what, have you no houses, he looks into the cause of this sin.

First, he excludes a reason, by which they could be excused. For it is not lawful to apply to profane uses the house of God, which is set aside for sacred uses. Hence the Lord, when driving the buyers and sellers from the temple, said: my house is a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves (Matt 21:13). And Augustine says in his Rule: in the oratory let no one do anything except for what it was built and from which it gets its name. Yet in case of necessity, namely, when one can find no other house, he may lawfully use the church for eating, or for other such lawful uses.

But the Apostle rejects this excuse, saying, what, have you no houses, namely, your own, to eat and to drink in? Then you would have an excuse, if you celebrated banquets in the church, which you ought to do in your own homes. Hence it is said that Levi made Christ a great feast in his house (Luke 5:29). (Commentary on First Corinthians, 11, 4, 634-635)

The Agape became early on a source of scandal and irreverence for the Eucharistic Sacrifice that followed, not fulfilling its original intent or establishing a justification for its introduction and tolerance: Now this I ordain: not praising you, that you come together not for the better, but for the worse (1 Cor 11:17). Saint Paul sets the tone that where the Eucharistic Sacrifice was offered the meeting place was to be considered the house of God (church) from which should be excluded all profane uses, including eating: What, have you no houses to eat and to drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and put them to shame that have not? (1 Cor. 11:22). It would be centuries before the church universally would be used only for the Liturgy. It may be noted some early sects that separated would continue to use the house as a meeting hall having lost the Eucharistic Sacrifice but retaining the Agape or Lord’s Supper.

After expressing his opposition to the Agape, Saint Paul then goes into a theological dissertation on the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist which he introduces as divine revelation:

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayedtook bread, and giving thanks, broke and said: take, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you. Do this for the commemoration of me. (1 Cor. 11:23-24)

From the profane partaking of a meal that seemed to have more significance than the Eucharistic Sacrifice itself amongst many Corinthians, Saint Paul expresses that the Eucharistic Sacrifice was instituted by Christ Himself, and takes the words of Christ imposing the continuation of what Christ had done the night of His betrayal: took bread, and giving thanks, broke and said: take, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you. This was followed by Christ’s command: Do this for the commemoration of me. There is no divine command for the Agape; there is one for the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

Inferred by the words of Saint Paul, the same night in which he was betrayed . . .  which shall be delivered for you, is the offering of Christ’s Body: For this sacrament represents the Lord’s passion, through which his body was delivered over to death for us: I gave my back to the smiters (Isa 1:6), and: he gave himself for us (Eph 5:2). (Thomas Aquinas, op. cit. 11, 5, 671) It was not bread that was offered for deliverance, but Christ. Christ is saying this which he is holding is His Body being delivered for you. Saint Paul is reminding the Corinthians that they are eating the same Body that was delivered because Christ commanded them to do so.

(To be continued)

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The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers

M. F. Toal

THE GOSPEL OF THE SUNDAY

JOHN viii. 46

At that time Jesus said to the multitudes of the Jews: Which of you shall convince me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe me? He that is of God, heareth the words of God. Therefore you hear them not.

The Jews therefore answered, and said to him: Do not we say well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered: I have not a devil: but I honour my Father, and you have dishonoured me. But I seek not my own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Amen, amen, I say to you: If any man keep my word, he shall not see death for ever.

The Jews therefore said: Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest: If any man keep my word, he shall not taste death for ever. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead. Whom dost thou make thyself?

Jesus answered: If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father that glorifieth me, of whom you say that he is your God. And you have not known him, but I know him. And if I shall say that I know him not, I shall be like you, a liar. But I do know him, and do keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it and was glad.

The Jews therefore said to him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am.

They took up stones therefore to cast at him. But Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

EXPOSITION FROM THE CATENA AUREA

John viii. 46-59. V. 46. Which of you shall accuse me of sin? etc.

THEOPHYLACTUS: As though saying: If you are the children of God you should hate sinners. If therefore you can accuse Me, Whom you hate, of sin, it is plain that you justly hate Me. But if none among you can accuse Me of sin, it is also evident that it is because of the truth you hate me. Because of what truth? Wholly because He had said that He was the Son of God; which is most true.

ORIGEN, in John: Christ spoke these words with supreme confidence; for none of mankind could confidently declare this save Our Lord, who did no sin. I consider that the saying, which of you, was said, not alone of those who stood by, but of all mankind; as if He had openly said: What man of your race, or who is there, whomsoever he may be, can accuse Me of sin, or convict Me of any fault? For I know that there is no one.

GREGORY, in Hom. 18 in Evang: Consider the mildness of God. He had come to forgive sins, and He said: Which of you etc? He did not disdain to show from reason that He Who had come to justify sinners by the power of His divinity was Himself without sin. Hence follows:

V. 47. He that is of God, heareth the words of God; therefore you etc.

AUGUSTINE, Tract 43 in John: Consider not the nature, but the sin; sinners (isti) are from God, yet not of God. In their nature they are from God, in their evil they are not of God. The nature that God made good sinned; by yielding assent to the persuasion of the devil it became corrupted. This was said to those who were not alone corrupted by sin, for this was common to all, but to those of whom it was known beforehand that they would also refuse to believe in that faith by which they could be freed of the bond of their sins.

GREGORY: Let each one then ask himself whether he hears the word of God with the ear of his heart, and understands whence it comes. For there are some who do not deign to hear the precepts of God, even with the ears of their body. And there are some who do indeed hear them with their ears, but embrace none of them with the desire of their soul. And some there are who freely receive the words of God, so that they are moved even to tears; but when the tears are over they return to their evil-doing. These of a certainty do not hear the words of God; because they depise them in deed.

V. 48. The Jews therefore answered, and said to him etc.

CHRYSOSTOM, Hom. 53 in John: When the Lord spoke some sublime truth, this, to the Jews, who were wholly without understanding, seemed madness; as appears from the answer they here made Him: Do not we say well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?

ORIGEN: But it is fitting to ask how, since the Samaritans deny a future life, and neither did they believe in the survival of the soul, did they dare to call the Saviour a Samaritan: He Who had taught so much and so often concerning the resurrection and the judgement to come? But perhaps they said this meaning only to insult Him; since that which they believed He does not teach.

ALCUIN: For the Samaritans (a people whom the Israelites hated), ten of the Tribes having been taken captive, still occupied their land.

ORIGEN: It pleased some of them to think that He was of the same opinion as the Samaritans; that nothing of man remained after death; and that to please the Jews he spoke mendaciously of the resurrection and of eternal life. For they were wont to say of Him that He had a demon, because of His words, which transcended human understanding, in which He declared that God was His Father, and that He was Himself come down from heaven, and that He was the Bread of life, Which was far more perfect than the manna, and that He who would eat of this Bread would live for ever, and other things of this kind, or, on account of their suspicions; for many of them believed He cast out demons by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of the demons.

THEOPHYLACTUS: Or they called Him a Samaritan as though He were a destroyer of the Hebrew observances; as for example, the Sabbath. For the Samaritans did not live entirely according to the Jewish ritual. From this that he revealed to them what they were thinking they suspected Him of having a devil. When it was they had said He was a Samaritan the Evangelist no where tells us. From which it is plain that the Evangelist omitted many things.

GREGORY: Observe that God, while receiving insults, does not answer the injurious words. For there follows:

V. 49. Jesus answered: I have not a devil: but I honour my father etc.

What is indicated to us by this if not that at the time we are being falsely accused by our neighbour we should be silent with regard to their own undoubted evil doing; lest the office of true correction…

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