11/20/2015

Q: How many times can you receive the Eucharist in a day?

A: We recognize that the Eucharist is the central sacrament of the Church, for when we receive the Eucharist, we receive Jesus’ Body and Blood. Communion strengthens us and fortifies our resolve to become just like him. 

    That being said, some may argue, why can’t they receive the Eucharist numerous times each day. Receiving Jesus in the Eucharist once a day is sufficient. To pursue receiving the Eucharist more than once a day may border on the abuse of the sacrament; namely, undermining the eternal and immeasurable gifts we receive at Communion. The gifts resulting from receiving the Eucharist do not dissipate over the course of a day, unlike when you and I eat a meal we are hungry again hours later.

    The short answer to your question is, of course, only once may the Eucharist be received. Now, I provide my, “however,” for there may be extenuating circumstances that a person has not been prepared for in which the opportunity to receive the Eucharist a second time in one day, such as at a funeral, may be a possibility. Ask your parish priest, if such occasions arise, in order that you know in your heart you are following the teaching of the Church on reception of the Eucharist. Obviously, priests receive the Eucharist more than once in a day, such as on Sunday, but the priest is the exception to this particular rule in that he may be obligated to celebrate multiple Masses on Sunday for he is both representing Jesus Christ and the people of God at the Altar of Sacrifice.

 

Q: Why wasn’t Joseph mentioned for much of the New Testament? Did something happen to him?

A: We are aware the angel visited Joseph in a dream informing him of the conception of Jesus by his mother, Mary, and that Joseph was instructed to take Mary as his wife and to receive Jesus as his foster child.  We know, of course, that Joseph was an upright and holy man and that he was a carpenter. However, following Jesus’ being found in the Temple over a decade later, we hear of no other accounts of Joseph other than his relationship to Jesus.

    The Bible is the revealed Word of God and the Lord gives us all we need to know in order for us to follow him. This being said, so many would love to speculate examples of Joseph’s fidelity to God in the Holy Family through particular instances, not to mention, of course, what was Jesus’ life like for those nearly 20 years after being found in the Temple, prior to his public ministry. We can pray over each of these questions, recognizing first and foremost God’s divine plan for each and every one of us.

    Perhaps one of many things you and I can take away from the brief stories of Joseph is his unwavering fidelity to God and to his vocation as foster dad of Jesus and loving husband of Mary. Most certainly Joseph is fittingly the patron saint of all husbands and fathers.

 

Q: Why was Peter the one to start the Church?

A: And Jesus said: “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18). How fittingly Jesus established his Church upon rock, for by changing Simon’s name to Peter (Petros), Jesus has established the truth that where Peter is so, too, is the Church. 

    The reason why we recognize that the Church was started with St. Peter is that the true source of the Church, namely, Jesus, made it so.

    One may ask why Jesus did not hold a Holy Land version of “America’s Got Talent” to determine the appropriate leader of the Christian church, but God’s ways are not always our ways of determining strength and leadership. Jesus works through the successors of St. Peter up to our present day Holy Father, Pope Francis, as a unifying leader bringing together all peoples. Through untrained eyes one may wonder why Jesus chose Peter and not someone else to lead his Church, but we fellow Catholics constantly recognize that Jesus in his Divine Wisdom established his church upon the shoulders of St. Peter.

 


 

    As we quickly bring to a close our extraordinary Ordinary Time of 2015 and prepare to express our gratitude to God this Thanksgiving, may our Lord shower his blessings upon you and your family.


 

    To “Ask the Bishop,” address questions to Joseph M. Taylor, catechetical consultant, Diocese of Steubenville Office of Christian Formation and Schools – P.O. Box 969, Steubenville, OH 43952; jtaylor@diosteub.org; or (740) 282-3631.