Why do we not give non-believers the Eucharist?

What is the basis for the Eucharist not being shared with non-believers? If the Eucharist is Christ (whether physical and/or spiritual), then that is Christ with us, and ‘supping’ with us. “Us” in this case is often restricted to believers or church members, yet Jesus regularly had supper with sinners that were not yet believers or followers - and was criticized for that.

Since the elements are Jesus Himself, why wouldn’t we want non-believers to be filled with Him? Wouldn’t this “make” a person filled with God?

Dear w,

True, Jesus ate with sinners. But He only ate with sinners who wanted to eat with Him and who repented of their sins. We are sinners who believe and want to receive Him in the Eucharist. But even we must be in the state of grace, i.e., free of mortal sin. So not even all believers may receive Him in the Eucharist.

Receiving Jesus in the Eucharist is MORE than simply “supping” with Him. He is God and so we owe Him adoration, acknowledging Him to be who He is and thanking Him for His love. A person who does not share this faith can do none of the above. To enter into such Holy Communion without acknowledging Him to be who He is, would be sacrilegious—especially if the person is in the state of mortal sin.

The only way a person can be “filled with God” is to WANT to be filled with God.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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