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Tomorrow at 8:30am

When We Consume the Body of Christ, do We Consume the Members of the Body too?

Recently an active Catholic Theologian told some of our parishioners: "When we receive the Body of Christ during Holy Communion we receive Christ who is the Head and also receive all of the members of the Body ofChrist.  We consume the Head (Christ), and we consume the Body (The members)."  That is incorrect.

Although I am not certain of the intention of such a statement, I suppose the intention was to emphasize that when we receive Holy Communion we are called to recognize one another as members of the Body of Christand function accordingly.   Furthermore, the Holy Spirit initiates that call, and the prayers during the Mass invoke the Holy Spirit to change the bread and the wine into the Body and Blood of Christ and draw us together as one body, one spirit in Christ.  However, there is a major distinction between the Eucharistic Body of
Christ and the Members of the Body of Christ.  The Eucharistic Body of Christ is Christ Himself.  The Members of the Body of Christ are often referred to as the Mystical Body of Christ.  To confuse the two is wrong.  It is the Eucharistic Body of Christ which makes the Church, no one else and nothing else.  Through the Eucharistic Body of Christ the people are strengthened and built up into the Mystical Body of Christ.  Hence, the Eucharist makes the Church, not us.

These are very important distinctions.

I attached a document from the United States Bishops to help clarify the distinction between the Eucharistic Bodyand the Mystical Body. it is brief and to the point.  --Fr Doug Halsema

There is also an interesting article here which uses a different approach with some further clarification.  If you have difficulty getting through the theological terms in the article, just read the answers to the questions at the bottom.

You can read the the United States Bishops' entire document, The Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist: Basic Questions and Answers," here: