1 Corinthians 11:26-29
Examination Before the Eucharist…
Before we partake in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, we must examine ourselves first:
“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes. 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. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.” -1 Corinthians 11:26-29, NAB
First, we must make ourselves worthy to take the Eucharist. We must come with the right mind and spirit before we dare to approach the Lord’s table. Are we in full communion with the Church? In other words, have we been baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith. Have we been to confession? We should not approach His table with the stain of sins on our heart. Are we living according to the Tradition of the Catholic Church? This includes a number of different facets. In general, while we are all sinners and unworthy of receiving God’s grace, we should be members of His Church and actively participating.
Second, this verse speaks of how we must truly understand what we are engaging in before participating in the Eucharist. From the Catholic point-of-view, this means understanding transubstantiation. For this reason, the Catholic position is that those who are not members of the Catholic Church should not participate for they do not understand the Eucharist in the same way that we do. Many find offense to this, but they should honor our Tradition out of respect. They may feel that there is no harm in participating anyway, but today’s verse says otherwise. By taking the Eucharist without a full understanding of its meaning, they are bringing judgment upon themselves.
Outside of the Catholic Church, the Lord’s Supper is often seen as simply a ritual done as a representation of the body and blood, but, as Catholics, we see things very differently. We believe the Eucharist is the real body and real blood of our Lord, and we must come to the Lord’s table with a true understanding of that. Wrongly accepting the Eucharist will lead us to judgment; correctly accepting us will bring God’s love and mercy into our lives in a very real way.