Occasionally I will post here some Q&A from the ASK FATHER Question Box, which I moderate. Here is an interesting question which I have handled in the past and have actually used as a support. But that’s not the end of the story…
Jewish Tradition & Receiving on the Tongue
AFQB – The ASK FATHER Question Box: Liturgy, Music & The Seven Sacraments: Jewish Tradition & Receiving on the Tongue
By Anonymous on Saturday, January 13, 2007 – 6:11 pm
I read somewhere that a Jewish tradition existed which required the host of a meal to feed his honored guests the first bite of food. Following this, it would actually be the norm for Jesus to have placed His Body on the tongues of the Apostles at the Last Supper. Is this true? Is it still a Jewish practice?
Many. many thanks!
By Fr. J.T. Zuhlsdorf (father_z) on Monday, January 15, 2007 – 9:53 am:
I have mentioned this myself in other answers, having heard the same thing. However, I did try once to confirm this and was unable to find anyone to back it up reliably. I even submitted a question about this to a couple "Ask the Rabbi" Question Boxes. They knew nothing of this. So… while this is asserted, it seems to be asserted without proof. We shall have to keep digging.
Here’s the deal. Some people want to shore up their arguments against Communion in the hand and for Communion on the tongue by citing an alleged ancient Jewish practice of a host placing a morsel of food directly into the mouth of a guest. I admit that I have actually cited that in my own answers to questions in the dim past. However, I cannot find any support for this claim.
Moreover, it does really matter one way or another if this was an ancient practice or not: over the centuries our understanding of the Eucharist has deepened so as to include the reverent and prudent practice of receiving directly on the tongue. This is not to say that even in the Apostolic Church people did not believe they were receiving the Lord when they participated in the Eucharistic meals. In any event, reception on the tongue is, to my mind, far more in keeping with our now deeper understanding of the Real Presence. We have had many centuries to contemplate the Eucharist, after all.
Therefore, I am giving you all some homework, much as I did in the matter of the claim that St. Teresa said that souls were falling into hell like snowflakes. See if you can find something concrete about this question.
Mind you… it is not enough of a confirmation of this alleged practice merely to state that Fr. Pio Übertrad, KIA1, of the SDEOW2, wrote it in his pamphlet entitled They Are All Wrong And I Know Better. What we need is sturdier stuff.
And so… I am tossing this out onto the floor for you all to research.
Don’t even think of posting comments not relevant to this topic or my entry. I will delete them.
1Know It All… a special, self-conferred degree, granting omniscence to certain types of people.
2Society for Doing Everything The Old Way