Dear Father Angelo,
I am a young man in his thirties. Although I did not study theology, I have tried to acquire the basics of the Christian Faith by consulting trustworthy publications (among other things, I always read with pleasure your website).
Well, today (Corpus Domini Sunday) I went to Mass and the priest, during the sermon, said something that sounded odd to me.
For example, he said that “ the families are the Eucharistic Body and as a matter of fact they are as fragile as bread” “the Eucharistic Body are families, which are, as a matter of fact, as fragile as bread”. Then he spoke about this sentence of St. Paul: “For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1Co,11). He explained it by saying that anyone who does not welcome his brother is condemned. Then he added that the Eucharistic body is the Church and at the end he literally said: “Go and bring the Eucharist to everyone”.
After the Celebration I went to him to express my doubts. I said that the Eucharistic Body is the Body of Christ under the Eucharistic Species and the Church is also the Body of Christ because She is united with Christ and is in Christ through the Holy Spirit, but She is not the Eucharistic Body. Indeed, the presence of the Eucharist in us lasts until the Species dissolve, while the Holy Spirit continues to dwell in us, making us His temple.
The priest scolded me. He told me to stop saying things that I had read somewhere online. He stated that he only affirms what has always been the faith of the Church. Then he asked me: do you know who Christ is? And without letting me answer he said (literally): “Christ is a human person marked by the Holy Spirit”. I replied that in the person of Christ there are two natures, one human and the other divine, but he told me to study!
Now I am a bit confused: was I wrong in anything? What is the Eucharistic Body?
Thank you for your attention and for your answer.
1. You ask me if you did something wrong.
In my opinion you were only wrong in timing the remark to the priest.
But everything you said is right.
It would have been more appropriate if you had gone to the priest in a more relaxed circumstance. You should have talked to him face to face and, more importantly, in absence of other faithful.
With your straight talking you hurt his susceptibility. So, he reacted with a scolding and mistreatment against you and mistreated you.
2..On the other hand, he is the only one who made mistakes, some even closed to proper heresies.
Firstly, the statement about Jesus Christ, defined as a “human person marked by the Holy Spirit”.
A human person marked by the Holy Spirit is any person who lives his Christian life with true commitment.
With the Sacrament of Confirmation, we, as human persons, have received the seal of the Holy Spirit.
3. According to that priest, Jesus was not God who became flesh, contrary to what the Prologue of John’s Gospel says: “Et Verbum caro factum est” (The Word became flesh, Jn 1:14).
By saying this he denies many other truths of faith. The Virgin Mary would no longer be the Mother of God and no one could speak anymore of the divine institution of the Church and its sacraments.
I think that that priest said such a blunder because he was irritated by your remarks.
Perhaps, when he saw you arriving at the sacristy, he thought that you had gone there to compliment him on his homily and his originality, as sometimes happens.
4. But even if he was confused and blinded by his wounded self-love, he could not say such a thing.
Jesus is not a human person, but a divine person. Jesus is God who assumed a human nature.
Yet, that priest in every Mass strongly repeats the following affirmation: “Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who is God, and lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit one God for ever and ever”.
He does not say: “Through our Lord Jesus Christ, who is man marked by the Holy Spirit , and lives and reigns with you …”.
If he were really certain that Jesus is only a human being marked by the Holy Spirit, for consistency he should change the final words of the prayer and say loudly: “Through our Lord Jesus Christ who is a man marked by the Holy Spirit”.
If he did so, he knows well that those in charge would ask him to retract under the penalty of suspension a divinis.
5. About the other statements, such as: ” families are the Eucharistis Body as they are as a matter of fact as fragile as bread”, ask him if – he is willing to give to a family, which is composed by human beings, the Worship of Latria (Adoration), which is given only to God.
What this priest calls Eucharistic body – if by Eucharist we mean the Breaking of Bread, the Thanksgiving, the memorial of the Lord’s death (we find corresponding expressions in the Sacred Scripture) – is what St. Paul calls “the body of the Lord” (1 Cor 11:29) and” the body and blood of the Lord ” (1 Cor 11,27))
It has been rightly emphasized that the expression body of the Lord stands for the person of the Lord. The Church is not the Eucharistic Body of Christ, nor the family, which has rightly been defined as a “domestic church”, can be called Eucharistic body.
6. The Church is instead the mystical Body of Christ and the family is its vital cell.
Mystical means that it is a hidden reality of a supernatural order. It receives from Christ everything it has.
But it always remains a great difference between Christ and the Church because what Christ is by nature (“in Him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily”, Col 2,9) the Church is by participation, by Grace.
The Church gives the worship of Latria to Christ, as we said, but does not give this worship to the Church itself, not even to the triumphant one.
When, in the city of Lystra, St. Paul performed a miracle and the people said: “«The gods have come down to us in human form». They called Barnabas «Zeus» and Paul «Hermes»” (Acts 14:11-12), these two apostles answered: “«Men, why are you doing this? We are of the same nature as you, human beings»” (Acts 14:15).
Furthermore, you have rightly pointed out that the “Eucharistic presence” is strictly linked to the species of bread. When the bread vanishes, also the presence of the Eucharist vanishes.
7. Finally, regarding St. Paul’s affirmation: “For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself”, it is true that in that case the sentence is referred to a lack of charity: at the same supper, some eat abundantly and others are starving. Then St. Paul carries on and draws the following statement: “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Cor 11:27).
In many ways one can unworthily eat the Bread or drink from the Chalice of the Lord. The case mentioned by St. Paul in 1 Cor 11 is one, but not the only one.
8. There are many others, such as those related to sins contrary to chastity, as still St. Paul says: “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take Christ’s members and make them the members of a prostitute? Of course not! (Or) do you not know that anyone who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For «the two», it says, «will become one flesh». But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Avoid immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”. (1 Cor 6: 15-19).
9. And there are also numerous other circumstances that make us unworthy of the communion with God in eternal life and through the Eucharist in this life, which is the beginning of the former: “Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 6: 9-10).
I will pray for you so that the Lord may comfort you for the mistreatment you have received and give you the strength to be His witness always and everywhere.
I wish all the best and bless you.