By: Admin Pastor Manny (Code Name)
Maundy Thursday is a Christian holy day that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with His apostles. The Last Supper is important to us, Catholics, given that we interpret the words of Jesus Christ such as “Do this in memory of me” to be referring to the Mass. However, anti-Catholics and non-Catholics object to our Mass, and one of their questions is “why is the wine not offered to everyone in the Mass?”. One of the passages that they brought up is Matthew 26:27.
27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you;
They often ask that if Jesus gave His apostles the wine to drink, how come that the priest does not follow the commands of Jesus Christ. There are practical reasons why the wine is not offered to everyone in the Mass, but I will delve to two biblical reasons why this is biblically acceptable.
1 Corinthians 11:27
27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread OR drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body AND blood of the Lord.
This verse is important because it teaches a fundamental fact by understanding the functions of the conjunctions “or” and “and”. Given that this verse uses the word “or”, it gives us two options and the word “and” joins the words “body” and “blood” together. In this case, if disrespecting the Bread is done, it is equivalent to disrespecting the BODY and the BLOOD of the LORD. If disrespecting the CUP is done, it is equivalent to disrespecting the BODY and the BLOOD of the LORD. Now, the opposite of that is if we receive the consecrated bread, we already received the BODY and BLOOD of the LORD and if we receive the consecrated wine, we then received both the BODY and BLOOD of the LORD.
2. Emphasis on the Bread:
Now, other than the fact that we receive both the body and blood of Jesus Christ in either specie, there were actually other times in the Bible where the people celebrate the Eucharistic Meal without offering wine to other people.
7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break BREAD, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and he prolonged his speech until midnight.
This Eucharistic supper is also known as the breaking of the bread, and if you will observe Acts 20:7, all it says is that when they gathered, they broke the BREAD, and Paul talked with them. There were no explicit references that they received a consecrated wine, just the consecrated bread.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took BREAD, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.
In the passage in Luke 24, we actually had an example from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself that gave a reference back to the Last Supper. He performed the four actions that He did back then. He took the bread (1), gave thanks (2), broke it (3), and gave it to them (4). However, one difference that one sees from the passage in Luke is the fact that Jesus Christ stopped from there. He did not take the wine, give thanks, and offer it to the people. Rather, they still celebrated the Eucharistic meal without receiving the consecrated wine, and nothing is unbiblical about that.