Part Three: Liturgy of the Eucharist: Table of The Lord
Communion is the word, we use, when we participate at the table of The Lord. This word is derived from two Latin words: com (which means “with, together”) + unus (which means “oneness, union”). The Latin root of Communion is communionem, meaning “fellowship, mutual participation or sharing”.
Meaning of Communion:
Literally, it means “sharing”. The Lord is sharing himself with us and we all share our fellowship with one another at the table of The Lord. As St. Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians, when speaking of sharing the bread as the body of Christ, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1Corinthians 10:16 17).
Thanks to St. Paul, the word “Communion” has been in use from 57 A.D., when he wrote his first letter to the Corinthians. He calls each member of the community at Corinth to self-examine before partaking of The Lord’s Supper: “Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1Corinthians 11:28). What remains absolutely central is the concept of Communion in the coming together as one body to share in the one bread, overcoming all distinctions and barriers.
Communion is not merely coming together in unity. Jesus gathers his people together at his table and then he sends us out to feed and clothe and comfort others: “I was hungry and you gave me food… as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:35-40).
To be continued
Fr. Arul Joseph V.