The other matter I would like to discuss is one that is not easy and might be received as “bad news” by some. It has to do with the reception of Eucharist. I realize that intinction (‘the dipping of the host into the precious blood’) has been a custom for some at Nativity. I don’t how it started or the reason for it starting here at Nativity. It has been done in some of the Orthodox and Eastern Churches, but has not been part of the common practice of the Roman Church. I suspect this may have begun because people saw it as a way to protect against germs. It may have helped that person, but then germs were spread to the next person by dipping their fingers in the cup. It also puts in danger those who are gluten free among us as we place the wheat host in the precious blood. My thought is that if you’re worried about germs, you should just reverence the cup and not receive from it. How we receive communion is an important symbol of how we believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and how we believe in each other as brother and sister. The theology of receive Eucharist I learned in the Seminary still makes sense to me now. When we receive the host and are told “Body of Christ,” we are reminded we are receiving the Body of Christ and we are called to be Christ in the world. We say “AMEN” meaning so be it…yes…I agree. Then we go to the cup and hear the words, “Blood of Christ,” and we are being asked the question Jesus asked the disciples. “Will you drink the cup that I will drink?” Will you be the Body of Christ in the world, even to the point of shedding your own blood? When we share the cup, we are not only saying yes to Jesus, but by drinking from the same cup, we are saying that all who drink from this cup are my brothers and sisters and their tears are my tears, their joys are my joys, their struggles are my struggles...we are together in this! That is why “dipping” seems so foreign to my theology. It seems more like a person act than a communal act. When we come to Mass, we come to be a part of a community. We unite our own personal prayers to the prayer of the community.
Please know that I say this not to be petty or to pick on anyone but, to me, it is a profound gesture of trust in Jesus and in one another. If you don’t know by now, I am not looking to follow every ritual move even though the Archdiocese has instructed all parishes to stop the practice of intinction. However when thins have a deep meaning, I feel a responsibility as the Pastor to let you know. I would ask those who cannot drink from the cup for whatever reason would receive the host and reverence the cup by holding it for a moment, but no longer dip the host in the chalice. If this makes no sense to you or you would like to talk to me, I would be glad to talk to anyone about it. I would also ask you to meditate on this truth of drinking from the same cup as you watch other people receive and to think about what profound meaning lies in the action of drinking from the same cup. May God continue to bless us at Nativity!