Friday, February 15, 2019

Podcast 23 : The Beginning of Holy Communion & Marriage Laws

Jesus washed the feet of his Apostles before he gave them communion.  

This is lesson 22: The 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th commandments of the Church.

Hello, welcome back to another lesson: All About My Catholic Faith. If this is your first time here, thank you very much and I truly hope that you’ll find that these lessons will teach you something new, strengthen what you already know, and help you to share your faith with others.

Things are really starting to get exciting now as we move into the next few commandments that the Church gives us. Then we’ll be able to start moving into the sacraments of the Church. The sacraments, among other things, are what makes the Catholic Church so special. Remember the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Jesus Christ 2000 years ago and it has continued unbroken for all that time until today. Jesus gave the authority to the Catholic Church to be the stewards of all of the seven sacraments.

I am very happy to have my son join me again today for this podcast lesson. How are things with you today, Christopher?

They’re pretty darn good, and I want to say that I’m glad you're making me a part of this podcast series. So, thank you.

You’re welcome, and thank you! I hope you get to feeling better. We’ve certainly had a lot of rainy and cool weather for the last few weeks, so maybe that explains it.

If I can, I would like to read a little bit from an email that we received on our website this past week.

Sure, go right ahead. That’ll be a great way to get things started this week.

We received this email through our website, from a listener named Shawn. He wrote: “Your podcast has been a breath of fresh air during this time when many Catholic young adults stray from the Church. I almost left the Church but found out the truth through prayer and research. Thank you and keep up the great work with your podcast.”

Wow, thanks for reading that. You know I been telling you that If I can just help at least one person either find their way into the Catholic Church or come back home to the Catholic Church, then perhaps I would have done something really worthy with my life. Well, I helped bring you into this world with my love and the help of your mom and thanks be to God, you are my wonderful son. So I guess that was pretty darn worthy.

Thanks, I’m glad you did!

Me too!

Student: Can I throw out a few questions for you to talk about?

Sure, what do you got?

When and how did the Apostles make their First Communion?
What did Jesus say about the need for communion?
And, why is it good for us to go to confession often?

Those are some good questions to get us going, so let's find out what the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th commandments of the Church are. Remember from our last lesson that these commandments are not the Ten Commandments that God gave us, but are commandments that the Church has given to us to help us stay on the right path towards happiness and ultimately, joining Jesus in Heaven.

The third commandment of the Church is that we are to confess our sins to the Church at least once a year. The fourth commandment of the Church is that we are also to receive Holy Communion at least once per year. The fifth commandment of the Church is that we are to contribute to the support of the Church. And the sixth commandment is that we are to observe the laws of the Church concerning marriage.

Let's have our first reading from the Bible. This will give us a boost into this lesson. This is from the Gospel of St. John chapter 13, verses 1 through 14.

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Master, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Master, then not only my feet but my hands and head as well.” Jesus said to him, “Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all.” For he knew who would betray him; for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.” So when he had washed their feet [and] put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.”

I really love that reading and what it's about, Jesus washing the Apostles feet. It's not just about Jesus washing their feet though, it's also about Jesus teaching the Apostles and each one of us that we need to have our souls perfectly clean in order to be pleasing to God. When we bathe ourselves or take a shower, we’ll normally wash our hair and our face, our hands, and our arms and legs but me may not always reach down all the way to clean our feet. Jesus was telling the Apostles unless you actually wash your feet you are not completely clean.

The same goes for your soul. You must be completely clean and free of sin if you want to be fully pleasing to God. None of us actually chose to come into this world. God gave us our life and I am certain that he must feel pretty darn good when we do things that he asks from us. I know how happy I am when you follow my suggestions about things we talk about, even if it may not sound great at first.

Student: Does this tie into the Apostle’s first communion?

The same day when Jesus washed the Apostles feet was indeed the time they had their First Holy Communion. This was at what we call the Last Supper. We'll talk more about communion and the Last Supper as we go into other lessons. Basically, however, the Lord gave the Apostles their first communion at the Last Supper and this was also the first Mass. Also at this time, he gave the twelve Apostles the power and the authority to do the same thing, so that all people in the future would be able to share in his body and blood.

As you might remember in a previous lesson, Jesus said, as he broke the bread, “take this and eat this and do this in memory of me.” Also when he gave them the wine he said, “do this in remembrance of me.” Jesus commanded the Apostles to do this, it wasn't just a friendly suggestion. This is what the Catholic priests still do today. They’ve been given that same power and authority, through their ordination to the priesthood, to carry out that same commandment that Jesus gave his Apostles at the Last Supper.

We need to and we should want to be perfectly clean, both physically and within our soul. Our soul must be in a state of grace before we go to Holy Communion and we should have no mortal sin on our soul when we go to Holy Communion.

As I read the commandments of the Church, at the beginning of the lesson, one of the commandments is that we are to take Holy Communion at least once a year. If we only take Holy Communion once a year, that should be during Easter time or Easter season. Remember though, we must be in a state of grace when we do that. Even though we must take Holy Communion at least once a year, we are able to and we certainly can receive communion every day. If you can't go to Mass every day and receive communion, you still need to go to Mass each and every week. This doesn't mean that you have to receive communion every time you go to Mass, though. However, if you are in a state of grace when you go to Mass, then you should receive communion because that’s the same as cleaning your feet. Receiving Holy Communion is cleaning your soul, getting rid of all your smaller sins that may still be on your mind and in your soul.

Student: I’m a little confused, I guess. You say that we should go to Mass every week, but If we’re not in a state of grace we shouldn’t receive communion. I thought the main point of going to Mass was to receive the Eucharist at communion.

A lot of people, I suppose, may think that if they are not in a state of grace, and can’t receive communion, then why should they bother to go to Mass. There are two main things that we benefit from by going to Mass. Remember that we are commanded in the Ten Commandments to Keep Holy the Lord’s Day. Even if you’re not in a state of grace, and actually especially if you are not in a state of grace, you should go to Mass every week. The action of fulfilling a commandment of God, who loves you, will benefit you greatly, and make God very happy with you. If you are not in a state of grace, though, you should not go up to receive the Eucharist.

Jesus told us that unless we eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood we shall not have life within us. That’s from the Gospel of St. John, chapter 6 verse 54. We are taught and we truly believe that when we’re at Mass and when we receive communion, the bread and the wine have been transformed. They have been changed into the body and blood of Jesus our Savior. This is so very awesome. It’s the most special time of the Mass and it’s a culmination of our faith, the peak of our faith, the pinnacle of our faith. This is what Jesus wants us to do, so go to Mass regardless of the state of you're soul, but only receive communion if you're in the state of grace.

We do sin, everyone sins, that’s why we need Jesus and his Church. Venial sins, or the not so serious sins, do not keep us from receiving Holy Communion, however, mortal sins do keep us from receiving Holy Communion. If you are in a state of mortal sin and you receive Holy Communion then you’re actually committing another mortal sin on top of the mortal sins that you may already have. This is one of the reasons why we must go to confession at least once a year. We want to make sure that we don’t have mortal sins on our soul, and we need the help of confession, or reconciliation to give us the grace we need to stay away from all sin.

If we only go to confession once a year, then this should be around Easter time. I don't know about you but I really want to go to Mass and receive Holy Communion every week. I want to do my best to stay in a state of grace. To stay in a state of grace, I go to confession. You don't have to just go to confession once a year, you can go to confession every month or even every week, whatever it takes to keep yourself in a state of grace. Even if you don't have any mortal sins it’s still a great idea to go to confession very often because we do commit little sins which don't amount to a lot, but if we go to confession we can have our soul purified of even these smaller venial sins. It is also great to have the priests tell us that we have been forgiven by God of all of our sins, our small sins, and our great sins.

Another one of the commandments of the Church, that I mentioned, is that we should contribute to the support of the Church. What does that mean exactly? This means that if we are able to, then we should give money to the Church. The Church is just like any other operation, it needs money to pay for the electricity, and the heating, the materials and books, and the upkeep and cleaning of the grounds and buildings. The power company and the phone company sure don’t give your church that stuff for free and the book companies don't give your church the books for free, so your church has to pay for that. The only way your church will be able to pay for those things is if you give money during the collection. This is not all that the church uses your money for. They also use it to feed the hungry and help the needy and do other things for the community. It is a very special sign that when we give to the church and to the needy that we are really showing a true sign that we love God and our fellow humans.

The other Commandment that we are taught is that it is the ordinary law of the Catholic Church that we observe the marriage laws of the Church. We’ll go into more detail about marriage in a future lesson, but in general, in order for the sacrament of matrimony and the marriage to be valid, the marriage must be between one man and one woman. Marriage was raised to a Sacrament by Jesus himself during the Wedding Feast at Cana.

Jesus only made this sacrament valid if it was a marriage between one man and one woman. They must be married in the presence of an authorized Catholic priest and two witnesses in a Catholic Church.

It is frowned upon and discouraged for one Catholic to marry a non-Catholic. Why is that?  It’s not that we are against anyone who is not Catholic, and a marriage when only one person is Catholic can work out, but the odds are stacked against the couple on a few different levels. When a Catholic gets married, the couple must both agree to be open to bring new life into the world and to teach and raise their children they are blessed within the Catholic Faith. Sometimes a wonderful thing does happen and the non-Catholic will become Catholic. That is certainly a great thing for that person, the marriage and their family. However, it is more common that friction will build between the couple regarding how they practice their faith or not practice their faith. This may lead to the Catholic falling away from their faith, which is absolutely terrible for that person’s salvation, for their marriage, and for their family. Sometimes this friction may even lead to divorce. Another promise that a couple makes when they are married is that they promise to stay married until one of them dies. The sacrament of marriage is a lifelong bond between the man, the woman, and God. This marriage bond can never be broken. Jesus has told us that “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”

Student: Can a man and a woman get married in a park or another church or in their beautiful backyard? Normally this is not allowed. The couple must be married in a Catholic Church. In certain circumstances, permission may be given for a couple to be married outside of a Catholic church. Normally, this permission can only be given by the bishop where the couple lives. This special permission is called a dispensation.

Student: I know you said that we’ll talk about the Sacrament of Marriage in a later lesson, but can I ask a few questions about the other parts of this lesson?

Sure, and if you have any questions about marriage, that’s ok too!

Student: Should only those in mortal sin go to confession?
No. It’s very beneficial for you to go to confession often even if you don't have mortal sin on your soul. This could be once a month or even every week. Going to confession often is very pleasing to God as it continues to cleanse your soul and give you the grace to go through life without falling into serious sin.

Student: Do we need to receive communion often? 
We should definitely go to Mass every week and receive the Eucharist at Holy Communion often. The Church says the minimum we should receive the Eucharist is once a year, and that should be during the Easter Season. Think of this though. If you only ate a nourishing meal once a year, you would likely get sick and probably die of malnutrition. The same can be said about only receiving the Eucharist at Holy Communion once a year. Your soul would be severely deprived of the spiritual food and the graces you get each time you receive Jesus in the Eucharist. You would become more and more likely to fall into mortal sin which then could keep you from entering Heaven. If you neglect to receive the Eucharist in a state of grace during the Easter season, this is considered a mortal sin in itself.

Student: Does Holy Communion help us to love God more?
Absolutely! Holy Communion is when we are taking Jesus, body, blood, soul, and Divinity into our body. It's not like we're just praying to Jesus or that we’re in the presence of Jesus at church, which of course are also awesome,  when we go to Holy Communion and take the body and blood of Jesus into our bodies this is a great way that we are able to become closer to God and to love and understand Jesus in a deeper way.

Student: How often are we supposed to confess our sins?
We should confess our sins at least once a year even if we're not in a state of mortal sin. If we are in a state of mortal sin then we should confess our sins to a priest as soon as we possibly can after the time that we do commit a mortal sin. It's a great idea to go to confession often, let's say once every two months, or even once every month will be better. Remember what you tell the priest in confession he is bound never to tell that to anyone else at all. I hope you've had a chance to go to confession recently. If not please do go. You will have a tremendous weight lifted off of your shoulders, believe me.

As we go into the next several weeks we will be talking about the sacraments of the Catholic Church. We’ll talk more about the Holy Eucharist, Confession, Marriage, Holy Orders which is becoming a priest or deacon, Baptism, Confirmation, and Extreme Unction which is anointing of the sick or dying.

I hope you’ll join us again next week and every week and I really hope that you're learning a lot from these lessons. I am so very thankful that I'm able to bring these lessons to you through this podcast.

Remember to go to Mass this Sunday and every Sunday and give to the church so they can help the needy and pay their bills. Also, make sure you go to confession if it’s been a while since your last confession. You can thank me later for that one!

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