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  • Writer's pictureFr. Paul A. F. Castellano

Holy Communion

I posted this a year ago and thought it would be an excellent way to lay the foundational thought process of our work. If you remember this I hope you are refreshed by its appearance, if it is new, I pray you are blessed by it.

“Do this in remembrance of me.” A phrase that reverberates throughout our souls and echoes down the corridors of history.

The phrase, no matter what one’s particular denomination or view of Holy Communion, is recited by every Christian “minister” when celebrating this sacred moment.

The depth of meaning contained in this short phrase, while recognized by most, can in some cases, be limited in scope.

Allow me to elucidate further.

Though there has been scholarly debate over the years, the Eucharist has historically been linked to Passover. This understanding becomes especially robust when we consider what is contained in the Passover celebration. Of those elements, the following is especially significant for our purposes - the context that was to be remembered.

We often focus exclusively upon the Passover Act itself, however, a careful examination of the instructions Yahweh commanded Moses in Exodus 12 (particularly vs’ 11-12, 14, 24-27), reveals the "remembrance" is to include the entire divine involvement of this Passover remembrance; in other words, the entire drama of redemption is to be remembered. So significant to the Nation of Israel was this event, that it structured their lives as its celebration occurred in the first month of their religious year (vs’ 2 and 18) and was to continue in perpetuity (vs 17).

Those who study liturgy or the pattern and structure of how we are to approach and worship God, use the term, “anamnesis” from the Attic Greek word meaning "reminiscence" or "memorial." It is used in multiple disciplines such as philosophy, medicine, psychology, etc. in Christianity, however, it is a liturgical statement in which the Church refers to the “memorial” character of the Eucharist or to the Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. It is critical to understand this, the memorial is the “entire redemptive work of Christ.”

Therefore, it includes not only his final Passover celebration but HIS ENTIRE LIFE. The full “remembrance” of the drama of His redemptive life.

For the Christian then, to completely understand the full-orbed meaning of Jesus’ command to “remember,” is to not isolate the “remembrance” solely to the participation in the eating and drinking of the bread and wine, but to “remember,” to recollect, to “participate” if you will, in the full and profound redemptive work of Christ - the full drama of redemption, from His incarnation to His consummation, of which, the Holy Eucharist is the center.

Our worship services then should be a complete, full, rich, profound, robust, experience of God's complete redemptive work in Christ -from the pattern of Heaven's worship on Earth, through the redemptive work of Jesus' life, as we receive His grace in His Body and Blood through the means of the Bread and Wine, anticipating THAT GREAT DAY when, in the consummation, we will experience His grace directly at His Hand!

Soli Deo Gloria.

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