Amoris Laetitia 186: The Eucharist And The Family

amoris laetitia memeToday, we read of the connection between scandalous behavior in the Body (AL 185) and previous discussion (181-183) of the family that reaches out to those in need. First, a concern about divisions within:

186. The Eucharist demands that we be members of the one body of the Church. Those who approach the Body and Blood of Christ may not wound that same Body by creating scandalous distinctions and divisions among its members. This is what it means to “discern” the body of the Lord, to acknowledge it with faith and charity both in the sacramental signs and in the community; those who fail to do so eat and drink judgement against themselves (cf. v. 29).

An important connection between an accompaniment of the needy and reception of the Eucharist:

The celebration of the Eucharist thus becomes a constant summons for everyone “to examine himself or herself” (v. 28), to open the doors of the family to greater fellowship with the underprivileged, and in this way to receive the sacrament of that eucharistic love which makes us one body. We must not forget that “the ‘mysticism’ of the sacrament has a social character”.(Deus Caritas Est 14)

Pope Francis concludes not with a rejection of the oft-cited 1 Corinthians 11:29, but rather an interpretation more relevant to its author:

When those who receive it turn a blind eye to the poor and suffering, or consent to various forms of division, contempt and inequality, the Eucharist is received unworthily. On the other hand, families who are properly disposed and receive the Eucharist regularly, reinforce their desire for fraternity, their social consciousness and their commitment to those in need.

Undeniably right. The apostle’s context clearly involves the needy of a community suffering through the indifference of those well off. Rather than a limited interpretation and a lax letting go of Christian standards, this section seems to challenge the Church to even more rigor–only in another sphere. What do you think?

For your reference, remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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