Paul recognizes that the “many” who share in the one loaf (perhaps indicating that the community shared a special single loaf at their eucharistic meal) at the supper are “one body” in virtue of doing so (1 Cor 10:16–17). Communion with the body and blood of Christ creates both a union with the risen Christ and a union between the members where the usual social distinctions cannot be allowed to exist. Thus Paul emphasizes that sharing in the eucharistic meal and taking part in idolatrous meals are incompatible. One cannot be joined to Christ and to what is sinful.
People who eat unworthily are not recognizing that the food symbolizes the body and blood of Jesus nor acting as befits the recipients of his salvation. They are also failing to recognize that the people gathered together for the meal are present as the one body of Christ and must be treated in Christian love.
From Paul and the Eucharist: The Heart of Christian Community
By Steve Mueller
©2011 Steve Mueller
Paul and the Eucharist will be available as an e-book in the summer of 2011.