Christmas is upon us and our Churches will once again be filled with the practicing and not-so practicing faithful. As a priest, the thought that so many of the not-so practicing attendees will come forward to receive the Real Presence of the Lord makes me shutter. Short of making them wear a red letter, I do not know what can be done to avoid the abuse.
So many people today who claim their faith as Catholic do not have the seriousness of mind to even consider that they are sinning when they fail to meet the obligations of faith (i.e. Sunday Mass) or are living in a state absent of grace (i.e. divorced and remarried outside of the Church) and then receive the Body of Christ. It is hard for the priest to connect with those who do not attend regularly and that is why the faithful in general need to confront the situation when they see the abuses.
I would like to address today the reception of this Most Sacred Sacrament. During these times when the Churches are crowded, the patience of the priest (including myself) is tried. When people attempt to grab the Host out of his hand, do not even have the decency to remove sweater sleeves, keys, purses and various other things that cover their palms so that their hands can’t actually receive the Lord, or have a child in the arms or walk with a cane and think that they can manage with one hand hurts the priest and what he devotes his life to each day. It just means that the people are not clued into what they are doing or Whom they are receiving. And sometimes they treat the Eucharistic Lord like a piece of popcorn that they toss in their mouth so disgracefully.
The faithful were poorly instructed about receiving Holy Communion in the hand when the practice arose in the seventies and in most cases were never instructed again let alone corrected in their sloppy habits. The changes, while true, hearken back to the early days in the Church and tried to connect the faithful with their roots have become a scandalous and sacrilegious action. It seems that either the Bishops of the United States need to impose more stringent guidelines or discontinue the reception in the hand altogether.