His Truth Will Set You Free

Listen to what Jesus says; “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

Are You Good Enough for Communion?

3 Comments

“New York Cardinal Edward Egan says Rudy Giuliani should not have received Holy Communion during the pope’s visit because he supports abortion rights.” So said the three paragraph blurb in the national section of my local newspaper. Apparently the cardinal and Giuliani had “an understanding”, that Giuliani was no longer to receive communion because of his views. What would Jesus say to this?

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul quotes Jesus as saying, “This is the cup of the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:25) I see no conditions, except for the condition to remember Jesus as we take communion.

Look at what else Paul said to the Corinthians, who perhaps had personal problems far surpassing those of Mr. Giuliani: “Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.” (1 Corinthians 11:27-28 ) Did Paul say we need approval from the church before partaking in communion? “A man ought to examine himself…” Whether or not an individual is worthy of taking communion is strictly something between themselves and God, or so it seems to me.

Yet maybe I’m misunderstanding the motives of the Catholic Church. Maybe the issue for them is that Mr. Giuliani has in effect sinned against them, by having views different from the views of the church. Immediately following Jesus’ instructions on how to pray to God, where He told us to ask for forgiveness, “…as we forgive our debtors”, He added: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

Or, if the church contests that supporting abortion rights is a sin in God’s eyes, and if those who sin should not take Holy Communion within the Catholic church, then the line up to the alter would be short indeed. “As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one'” (Romans 3:10) Again in Galatians 3:22, “But the scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin.” If none are without sin, who can take communion?

Yet thanks to the love and grace of Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven. But are the actions of the Catholic Church implying that Jesus’ atoning death on the cross did not provide for the forgiveness of our sins? Was Jesus’ death for nothing? I don’t believe it. Yet the important thing is: what do you believe?

We are forgiven and there is nothing between us and communion, except maybe the Catholic Church. It’s not your sin Rudy that comes between you and communion with Jesus Christ; it’s the church. Step around the church and embrace your Lord. If he had “examined himself” and found himself worthy, then I applaud Mr. Giuliani for doing what was right, in Gods eyes.

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Author: C.J. Penn

Reflections on a double life... I'm just a wanna-be writer. What's it like trying to do serious writing while also being consumed with a full-time engineering job? Between the two, I sometimes don't get much sleep. But I love writing - it gets me out of bed when it's way too dark, just so I can do some work on my book before heading off to work. I'm also passionate about the truth of God and Jesus, a truth that is not always visible in the outward view of the Christian religion. It's this passion that has pulled me out of bed to write for over 6 years now, still working on the same book, a book about truth. Will it ever be finished? God knows.

3 thoughts on “Are You Good Enough for Communion?

  1. Great point!!! I speak as an ex-catholic and I think you hit the nail on the head. The Catholic church has conveniently confused Christ’s forgiveness of sins with the willingness of the human institution in Rome to take forgive a public relations offense.

    Something you also bring up and which is very important when considering the RC church is the question as to whether the RC church doubts the ability of Christ’s once-for-all atonement for sin is true or not. I can tell you that in fact, they do not really believe this is true. That is why Luther rightly criticized the church for its emphasis on works vs. faith.

    The other thing that struck me about this whole affair is that even under its own rules and misguided interpretation of Christ’s message, the RC church believes that if a person asks God to forgive a sin in their heart it is forgiven (so long as it is not mortal). How does the Cardinal know what Mr. Guliani does or does not say to God in his heart?

    I believe the red dye in the Cardinal’s cap has begun to seep into his head.

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  2. Good thoughts E.D.

    Where are church leaders ever given the authority to decide who is given the Lord’s Supper? Again, it is just a man-made tradition that ruins the purity of scripture.

    What you pointed out, that a man must “examine himself”, is the key to the whole issue. If a wicked person partakes of the Lord’s Supper then the consequences are between that person and God alone.

    The whole issue that Paul was addressing was the way people were behaving when they should be focused on Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Some members of the Corinthian church were worried about eating and drinking as if it were a common meal instead of a memorial to Christ. He asked them, “don’t you have homes in which to eat?” Some were eating up the bread and drinking the fruit of the vine without considering that their gluttony caused some to not be able to partake.

    Today, many people are distracted when they take the Lord’s Supper. I have been guilty of the same. We just go through the motions and don’t consider what we’re doing. I preached recently about this and said this – imagine you were at a memorial service for your child who had died and you heard someone say, “where do you want to go eat after this?” What if you saw someone dozing off, or clearly not paying attention. You would be incensed! And rightly so. It is our time to commemorate the death of our Savior.

    Our attitudes and the state of our minds during the Lord’s Supper is an issue between us and God. No man has the right to withhold communion from another.

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  3. E.D.

    Excellent points all. And my sentiments exactly! Thanks for steering me to it.

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