Little Things Mean a Lot #2
If the ancient Roman immixtio/commixtio/mixing was a privileged expression of ONE Eucharist across time; a second purpose of the rite was to unite all the celebrations of the Eucharist in one place (city) on one day.
At the fraction rite during the papal Mass ministers at the table of the Lord would take large pieces of the consecrated bread to all the parish churches of the city so that the priests presiding at those services could drop the consecrated bread into the ONE large cup (we’ll come back to that “ONE cup” next week) of consecrated wine at their own celebrations of Mass. Thus, on any Sunday and/or great feast there was a physical connection among all the celebration of the Eucharist. Why was that important?
In the second century, St. Ignatius of Antioch spelled out an ideal: on one day (Sunday) there should be but one celebration of one Eucharist around one altar for each local church, the early geographic forerunner of today’s diocese, parish or monastic community. This ideal of one celebration is still maintained during the Sacred Triduum: one Mass of the Lord’ Supper (Holy Thursday), one Solemn Service of the Passion (Good Friday), one Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday). The Eastern churches still maintain that ideal in that the need for a second celebration of the Divine Liturgy on a Sunday indicates the need to start a new parish (easier said and done in churches with married clergy.)
Bottom line. There is but ONE Eucharist across time and across space. The mixing is a reminder of that truth.
But there’s more to it. Next Sunday we’ll explore further.
-Rev. Andrew D. Ciferni, O. Praem.