September 10, 2022 –
Saturday of the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time
My beloved ones, avoid idolatry.
In today’s First Reading Saint Paul poses a juxtaposition that might at first seem odd. He bids his beloved to “avoid idolatry”. That certainly seems like a command to be found in Scripture. But then he begins speaking about the Eucharist. He rhetorically asks whether the Eucharist is indeed “a participation in the Blood of Christ” and the “Body of Christ”. Why is he setting the offering of idolatry directly against the Eucharist? What, practically, is St. Paul trying to get across to us?
Both idolatry and the Eucharist, of course, are offerings. On the one hand, idolatrous offerings are made to “false gods”, some of whom do not exist, and some of whom are no more than created demons. Such sacrifice is in vain inasmuch as religious offering are meant to pay honor or ask pardon from one to whom such offerings are due.
On the other hand, the Eucharist is offered to the Lord, the only and true God. But that’s not the only difference. The one true God became man, so as to be able to share in the act of sacrifice: to offer His own Body and Blood, soul and divinity. Demons only accept sacrifice from others; they will not descend to sacrifice of themselves. In the Eucharist, the God-man gives us the very strength needed to share in the sacrifice of self.