Fr. Jon's Weekly Column
From this week's Bulletin (emphasis mine):
One of the ways the Church understands herself is in the term "communion." We often associate communion with the act of receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus. This is true, but communion has a much broader meaning as well.Though the whole thing was quite good, I was especially happy with the highlighted part. It's as close as anyone is going to get to denying Communion, at least in this diocese. I don't know that any Rainbow Sash-wearers are going to stop and read our bulletin before Mass, but at least it has been said.
There is always a vertical and horizontal dimension to this communion. The vertical is our entering into relationship with God, and the horizontal is our entering into relationship with one another. However, they are not equal; there is a hierarchy involved. The vertical comes first and foremost. God initiates communion. We enter into a relationship with Him and He forms us. He reaches out to us and gives us His gifts. It is because of our relationship with God that we are able to enter into relationship with one another. Those relationships with others in the Body of Christ are rooted in our relationship with God.
At Mass we receive Communion, and we enter into the life of God. When we receive the Eucharist, all levels of communion are impacted. When we hear the words, "The Body of Christ and respond, "Amen" we are saying, "I believe" to a number of things. We are saying, "I believe this is the Body and Blood of Christ." We are also saying, I am in communion with the Catholic Church, I believe what she teaches and proclaims. This is one reason that non-Catholics are not permitted to receive Communion in the Catholic Church. The Eucharist is the center of our faith life, and we are saying that we believe and attempt to live what the Catholic Church teaches. Our songbooks have a good instruction on receiving Holy Communion that explains this reality very well.
The more deeply we are in relationship with God, the more profound our relationships with one another will be. God always brings more healing, peace, depth, and meaning to our lives.