1 CORINTHIANS 11:17-26, 33
Brothers and sisters:
In giving this instruction, I do not praise the fact
that your meetings are doing more harm than good.
First of all, I hear that when you meet as a Church
there are divisions among you,
and to a degree I believe it;
there have to be factions among you
in order that also those who are approved among you
may become known.
When you meet in one place, then,
it is not to eat the Lord’s supper,
for in eating, each one goes ahead with his own supper,
and one goes hungry while another gets drunk.
Do you not have houses in which you can eat and drink?
Or do you show contempt for the Church of God
and make those who have nothing feel ashamed?
What can I say to you? Shall I praise you?
In this matter I do not praise you.
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my Body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my Blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters,
when you come together to eat, wait for one another.
Human nature does not change much through the centuries. St. Paul is responding to word he has received about the gatherings of Christians in Corinth. “Your meetings are doing more harm than good”. There are “factions” among the Church members and it is causing divisions. Some members are going “hungry while another gets drunk.” And they make some feel “ashamed”.
It can be surprising when we see divisions and politics in our churches today. However, this is something that has been going on for 2000+ years. Where two or more people are gathered, there is the Lord, but the evil one also is constantly trying to cause divisions as well. Be aware of this dynamic in your lives, in your families and in your churches. Are there divisions and factions? What can you personally do to bring about unity in the situation?
Then St. Paul goes on to reaffirm the Eucharist, the teaching he had received from the Lord Jesus. Besides the accounts of the Last Supper in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, and the Bread of Life Discourse in John chapter 6, this is the other New Testament account of the institution of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the greatest sign of unity among Christians and should be what draws us together. It should not be a place where division occurs.
We have decisions every day that will lead to unity or division, virtue or sin, joy or misery. If we take time to think before we speak or act, we can make better choices. It is easy to sin, to choose misery and to cause division. It is challenging to choose virtue, unity and joy. Try making good decisions today and see how it changes everything.
Am I an agent of unity or division?
Do I see the connection between my virtuous decisions and joy and my sinful actions and misery?
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