There’s a song by Jim Cowan titled “This is Jesus”. It goes a little like this:
This is Jesus, Emmanuel,
God is with us in this sacrament;
Come receive him, adore him,
this is Jesus our Lord!
In our parish, the old controversy of the reception of Holy Communion while kneeling has been resurrected. I've blogged about this before. Denial of Holy Communion because of one's posture has also occurred in the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. The abusee's account can be found here.
Anyway, here's what happened. Several of our new servers have decided, after receiving some formation and as a development of their understanding of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, to receive Jesus in the traditional fashion, that is, on the tongue while kneeling. Our assistant parish priest, Fr. Mark Michael has told off the leader of our parish altar servers that such a practice will not be tolerated in our
schismatic inculturated counterfeit local Malaysian manifestation of the Catholic Church and is symptomatic of a faulty theology. Because, as we all know, kneeling before Jesus depending on whether He is placed in a monstrance of held up by the priest or Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion is an indication faulty theology as you can only do the former but not the latter. Furthermore, he is a priest and not complying with his demand not to kneel while receiving Holy Communion is tantamount of disobedience to one’s religious superior quoth our intrepid assistant priest.
Knowing that quoting the law of the Church and various ecclesiastical documents would be useless. Mark had earlier written to the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) on whether a person with the proper disposition can be refused Holy Communion just because he is kneeling. A reply came from the CDW saying, of course, no, a person may not be denied Holy Communion just because he chooses to receive kneeling. Fr. Mark however, thinks that
Not in the Holey Malaysian Patriotic Inculturated Catholic Church© (HoMaPICaC™), a superior local alternative to the One Holy Catholic Church founded by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and governed by the Pope and the Bishops in communion with him.
Moving on, the point I’m trying to make is pretty simple. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus asks the disciples “Who do you say I am”. Pretty straightforward. Similarly, the question I want to ask those who, while physically capable, do not kneel or, to stretch the point, do not treat the Sacrament as Jesus, is this.
Who or what do you say the Blessed Sacrament is. Is it Jesus? Yes or no. That’s it.
Is it Jesus, truly, really and substantially present, the same Jesus who came to a world in darkness 2 thousand years ago, who died on the Cross for us and who rose from the dead and is ascended into Heaven and is seated on the right hand of God the Father and who will come again to judge the world by fire. Is this Jesus, the same yesterday, today and forever, the Son of God and God the Son, the 2nd Person of the Blessed Trinity? Yes or no.
If yes, then we owe Him the latria owed to God alone, the worship of His creatures.
We owe Him the homage paid when this same Jesus is placed in a monstrance for our adoration.
We owe this Jesus the same homage paid when we come to Him in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel to pray.
We owe Him the same homage paid by the magi from the East when they knelt before Him and offered gifts acknowledging His Kingship and His Deity.
We owe Him the acknowledgement of the centurion who recognized the glory of Jesus though masked by His bruised and bloodied body at the Cross, that truly this was the Son of God.
We owe Him the adoration of Doubting Thomas after seeing and touching the wounds of Christ.
We owe Him the homage that is being paid Him is Heaven now by the angels and the saints, by the Living Creatures and the elders who fall prostrate at the feet of the Lamb that was slain. To Him the Cherubim and Seraphim cry out Holy Holy Holy is the Lord of Hosts.
To this same Jesus, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords who has triumphed and conquered, the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Heavens shout "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!"
The Scriptures tell us that " " If even at the Most Holy Name of Jesus, every knee, every knee in Heaven, on earth or under the earth shall bow, then what about when it is Jesus Himself before us? Should every knee not bow?
The Scriptures tell us that "Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
" If even at the Most Holy Name of Jesus, every knee, every knee in Heaven, on earth or under the earth shall bow, then what about when it is Jesus Himself before us? Should every knee not bow?
So, the question is pretty simple really. Is the Blessed Sacrament Jesus, the same yesterday, today and forever? If yes, the we should do Him homage and not be jealous when others bow and kneel before their Lord and God. If not, then be courageous enough to admit so and declare it publicly. One has to be consistent in one’s beliefs. We can’t do Jesus homage and kneel when He is in a monstrance and then stretch out our hands to Him while standing when this same Jesus is presented to us by the priest in Holy Communion. That’s inconsistent and illogical.
Who do you say I am? Jesus asked this question to His disciples 2000 years ago. Simon Peter, the first Pope and holder of the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, the Rock on whom Christ built His Church, whose Successor, Benedict XVI now reigns gloriously in Rome answered “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”.
So, when we are standing in line and finally come before Blessed Sacrament, we hear the words "The Body of Christ" and we are asked the same question. What is our answer and how do we live out this truth.
For me and my house, our answer is and will always be:
This is Jesus, Emmanuel,
God is with us in this sacrament;
Come receive him, adore him, this is Jesus our Lord!
Blessed is he who has not seen and yet believe. Lord, I believe.