Friday of the Third Week of Easter
(Acts 9:1-20; John 6:52-59)
Fifty years ago Catholics were strictly forbidden to participate in Protestant services. Today they may enthusiastically sing Protestant hymns, listen to Protestant preaching, and join hands with Protestants for prayer. But Catholics should never receive Communion from Protestants. The reason for this strict prohibition is inferred in the gospel today.
Jesus tells the synagogue assembly that his Flesh is real food and his Blood, real drink. He is referring to the Eucharist which he will leave for his disciples. The Flesh is real food because it is made from bread. The Blood is real drink because it is produced from wine. Yet it is not bread and wine that his followers consume but, again, his Flesh and his Blood. Protestants generally do not accept the new substances that the bread and wine become. But even if they do, there has been a breach in the line of their ministers receiving ordination from Jesus’ apostles.
In some ways relations between Catholics and Protestants have never been better. Still serious differences exist, and at times the rivalry between us and them is intense. Because we all claim Jesus as Lord, we should cooperate as much as possible. We should also pray for the day in which we can partake with integrity and together of Jesus’ Flesh and Blood.