Why did Christ give us two species of Holy Communion?


#1

I realize that when we receive either the Host or from the Cup, we are receiving the complete Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus. It is only necessary to receive under one species.

But I often am curious WHY Jesus gave us both. Our God is not someone who does things mindlessly, or casually. He acts with purpose in everything He does, even if we don't understand at the time. If we don't receive anything extra from receiving both, why is there both species?


#2

Bread is available in almost every culture and to all people, is cheap, and already readily available throughout the vast majority of the world. Wine could be much harder to come by and/or much more expensive.

Certain people can not eat any sort of solids due to medical conditions etc. Perhaps in the medieval period the crops for the bread are destroyed and the grapes are preserved. So the wine is necessary in these cases.

That's my best guess anyway.


#3

The blood is the life of the body. But, there's a scriptural basis: Melchizedek. Go way back to Genesis 14. There, we see that an associateion of kings warred against several other kings and took hostages, one of which was Abraham's nephew, Lot. Abraham fought against them and freed the hostages and recovered the booty that had been taken. In celebrartion of this, Melchizedek, King of Salem (think JeruSalem) and Priest of God Most High, brought out bread and wine. Now, >> to Hebrtews 6:13 through 7:22. There, we have a recap of this history and the revelation that Jesus is a Priest in the order of Melchizedek. Thus, just as Melchizedek brought out bread and wind, so also did our Lord consecrate bread and wine. Yet, we receive the fulness of Christ in partaking of either specie.


#4

I believe it goes back to the nature of a sacrifice for atonement; that blood needed to be shed and the flesh of the sacrificed animal consumed.


#5

[quote="Pablopedro, post:2, topic:331145"]
Bread is available in almost every culture and to all people, is cheap, and already readily available throughout the vast majority of the world. Wine could be much harder to come by and/or much more expensive.

[/quote]

Wine was actually very common in a Mediterranean context; in fact, in a time when you couldn't even drink safe water, alcohol was pretty much one of the available alternatives. The ancient Sumerians and Egyptians did drink beer, but the ancient Israelites by comparison apparently weren't very avid beer-drinkers; wine was their favorite beverage of choice, partly helped by the fact that the hill country was well-suited for growing grapevines and the fact that Syria (the original center of viticulture) was nearby. (The Egyptians imported grapes from Canaan, as a matter of fact.) Wine was actually an important component in all important Jewish rituals - of which Passover was one.

On a historical level, Jesus used bread and wine because (1) they were both common foodstuffs in His time and culture, and (2) they were part of the Passover meal. On a typological level, there's the whole thing about Melchizedek and so on.


#6

As the previous poster touched on (and this is just one of the possibilities/layers to it)

The Passover meal already involved blessing bread and wine. Considering that the apostles, at least previously (John 6), considered the idea of consuming Jesus' body and blood at all to be incomprehensible, it was probably best to leave it at taking the bread and saying "this is my body" and the wine, saying "this is my blood"; instead of taking the bread, "this is my body AND my blood" and the wine "and this is my body AND my blood, too!"


#7

Another thought is that while obviously each species contains body, blood, soul, and divinity, having the two different exterior species allows us and extra external symbol, not only of Christ's death (by the separation of the symbol of body and symbol of blood) but also of Christ's resurrection and triumph over death by the comingling of the two species again after consecration (symbolizing the reunion of the lifegiving blood to the body). If there was only one species it would be impossible to have the same kind of exterior sign of the great mystery of Christ's redemptive sacrifice.


#8

[quote="hannajomar, post:1, topic:331145"]
I realize that when we receive either the Host or from the Cup, we are receiving the complete Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus. It is only necessary to receive under one species.

But I often am curious WHY Jesus gave us both. Our God is not someone who does things mindlessly, or casually. He acts with purpose in everything He does, even if we don't understand at the time. If we don't receive anything extra from receiving both, why is there both species?

[/quote]

That is an excellent question for you to be asking, and I don't see that it has been answered yet.


#9

To comment on the previous replies:

I think that the link between the OT sacrifices and the Holy Mass is spot on-

Manna in the desert

The sacrifice of Melchizadek

The Passover Meal

But it still leaves the question of why: as the OT sacrifices pre-figured the sacrifice of Christ.

I suppose you can look at it from two ends (one, the other, or both)
One, it was so pre-ordained as God was to provide the Israelites with bread and wine, and so Christ would give those.
Two, these signs were ordained in anticipation of the Sacrifices of Christ being granted in bread and wine, in the Last Supper.

My thought is that the symbols were chosen to specifically point to His body on the Cross and His Precious Blood Spilt- a living blood, poured forth from His dead body, which is the blood of atonement.


#10

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