Father, do you think Jesus fed His apostles on the tongue when he instituted the Eucharist?
I think it is very likely.
You may try to respond that He didn’t. Gratis asseritur.
But, I’ll play along….
I respond saying, I hope He did give Himself to them, directly on the tongue, as they knelt, one by one. And I hope it looked just like Tissot’s painting! Or maybe like van Wassenhove’s version!
Better yet, I hope they even set up a communion rail, with cloths draped over it and used patens. Yah, that’s right! I hope the Last Supper looked just like a Traditional Latin Pontifical Mass of Ordination. Yah! I’ll bet they had bells too, and burses and maniples and, of course, birettas! And when it was over, all the women got to do was scrape beeswax off the gold candlesticks.
“But Father! But Father!”, some of you will by now be barking, flecks of saliva sullying your monitor, “You hate Vatican II! You think the Last Supper was a ‘Tridentine Mass’! Did they ring bells? Did they have ‘fiddle-backs’? PAH! Vatican II was the beginning of a new era of us being church together! EVERYBODY SING NOW!
♫ Not in the dark of buildings confining, not in some heaven, light years away – ♪
Here in this place the new light is shining, now is the kingdom, and now is the day.
Gather us in …. ♫”
Okay, That’s enough.
We don’t know how the Last Supper unfolded. However, it was common in ancient world all around the Mediterranean that people would recline to eat, and do so not so much facing each other as being angled out toward the open room, with the host of the meal in the chief place.
In any event, we are not biblical positivists. We don’t have to, and should not, force Mass to be like a mid-1st century Jewish meal. That would be an impossible task of inappropriate liturgical archaeology. Holy Church’s understanding of what the Lord gave us in the Eucharist deepened over time brought us to a reverence that needed appropriate physical gestures of humility. Now that much of the reverence for the Eucharist has been undermined, over decades, people also don’t know why they should adopt positions of humility in the presence of the Eucharistic Lord. As the practice of standing and receiving in the hand spread, a vicious circle was created which further eroded reverence in congregations.
I hope people will on their own choose to receive Holy Communion only on the tongue.
We need more kneeling, more Holy Communions in the state of grace, received directly on the tongue, from the consecrated hands of priests.