1 Corinthians 11:33


What was St. Paul referring to in this verse when he says Therefore my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. If anyone is hungry he should eat at home. This question was asked in RCIA class and some think it means we should wait and take our communion meal (The Eucharist) altogether the way many Protestant churches do, waiting until each person has the host and wine.


Hello Shellee.

Please read the verses before and after.
It is about being a role model of Christ, and to not be judged as one of ill manners.

The first word of verse11:33 is (Therefore), which means that the verse refers to its previous verse(s).


I understand what you are saying but a former Protestant student in the class says that her church taught that he was speaking of partaking in the Eucharistic meal and that we should be receiving it as a congregation at the same time instead of one at a time. My thought was that he was saying that when we come together as the family of God and receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and then don’t treat each other with love that we are not being worthy of this sacrament.


John 8:7 …“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”


In imitation of the Last Supper, where the Eucharist was celebrated after the Passover meal was completed, some think the Corinthians Christians used to eat an ordinary meal together or “love feast” (Jude 1:12) prior to celebrating the Eucharist and that St Paul was referring to abuses that were occurring at these “love feasts” in 1 Corinthians 11:33.


Can you show me and example where Christians use to eat a meal together ‘prior’ to celebrating the Eucharist? I don’t see it in Jude 1 or in 1 Corinthians 11. Thanks.


Yes this is true, it was called the Agape Meal. Read 1 Corinthians 11:17-32, if you have a Catholic Bible it should be labeled as “Abuses at Corinth” or something similar.


When we as Catholics come to Mass, we do not come ‘to eat’. Because we do not receive some food; we receive the Body of Christ. This is a main difference between Catholics and Protestants as how we view the “Eucharist”.

What it does refer to, I guess, is easy to imagine for anyone who celebrated Christmas recently: You could imagine that one of the guests you invited, would come to eat and, hungry as he is, start before everything is on table and the host has ‘opened the banquet’.

Now, in the Early Christian period, it was common to treat special dinners almost liturgically: Meaning, it was an abuse to start eating before everybody was together.
And this again reflects toward Jesus’ Last Supper: Jesus used the liturgical dinner as the stage for the Last Supper. The Eucharist is more than ‘reliving’ the Last Supper: We celebrate the Death at the Cross, where Jesus didn’t give just bread, but gave His Body.


Thank you for the responses. I was not aware of the agape meal. Everyone in our class was stumped as to what this really meant. I did think it had something to do with a meal shared together but just wasn’t sure. Thanks so much! I love learning something new!


Wikipedia has an article on “Agape feast” that cites some early Christian and then-contemporary pagan sources.

Also see Haydock’s commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:20, 21 and the Catholic Biblical Association’s 1942 A Commentary on the New Testament on 1 Corinthians 11:17-22.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.