As we move to the end of our Catechesis articles today we look at "Expressing Our Communion" (Article 24).
Liturgy is faith made visible.
When we celebrate the liturgy, especially the Eucharist, we express what we
believe in word and song and action. Sometimes when the liturgy is reformed, it
requires us to relearn what the Church really teaches about its meaning.
This may be especially true of
our understanding of Holy Communion. For many generations, the liturgy was
celebrated without much active involvement by most of the people present. This
led us to develop habits and ways of thinking about the liturgy that were very
individualistic. We learned to think of Communion as a very private moment
between each of us and Jesus. The problem with that way of
thinking is that it overlooks the central meaning and purpose of the Eucharist.
Jesus gave us the Eucharist to make us one body in him, so Communion is never a
private moment between the individual and the Lord. It is a very personal
moment, but it is also communal, for it involves all those around us who share
the same body and blood.
There are two primary ways that
we express our unity in Christ at the moment of Communion. The first is to join
in the Communion procession. As we move to the table of the Lord, we form one
procession, a pilgrim people on the move together. Thus it makes sense that we
should all stay standing until the procession is completed. A procession is a
communal action, a group movement. It is more than just individuals going to
the table. We go as one people, as one body of Christ. Respect for each member
of the assembly in the procession calls for us to remain standing until all
The second way we express our unity at Communion, as we do throughout the Mass, is with singing. The Communion song is supposed to begin when the priest receives Communion and continue until the last person has received. The singing accompanies the procession in which we are all involved. All of us should be singing throughout, except when we are actually receiving the bread and wine...
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Greg Esty
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