We, the faithful, are likewise symbolically represented in the water. We are united with Christ as the water is united with the wine. St. Cyprian says: “For as Christ has borne us all, because He bore our sins, we perceive that by the water we are to understand the Christian people, but that by the wine the Blood of Christ is shown. But when in the chalice water is mingled with the wine, the people are united with Christ; the multitude of the believing is joined to and made one with Him in Whom they believe. And this joining together and union of water and wine is so blended in the Lord’s chalice, that what has been mingled can never be separated again. Because of this there is nothing that can separate the Church from Christ, so that Her undivided love shall endure and hold to Him forever; and by the Church I mean the people in the Church, who faithfully and firmly persevere in that in which they believe.”
When we therefore receive Holy Communion, we receive Jesus Christ. As He unites Himself with us in this manner we are cleansed and united with Him in the water that issued from His side and is mixed with the wine that is turned into His Blood. Christ Who is present upon our altars is the same Christ Who reigns in Heaven. St. John Chrysostom says: “whoever among us shall partake of this Body and drink of this Blood, let them bear in mind that in nothing does it differ from that Body which sits on high, which is adored by the angels; seated close to the unclouded Glory: it is of This we taste.”
St. John likewise reminds us that there are many who say: “Would that I could see Him in human form; see the print of His feet, His garments? But, you do see Him, you do touch Him, you eat of Him. You long to see even His garments; but He gives Himself to you, and not merely to see, but to be touched by you, to eat, to be received within you.”
Keeping all this in mind, believing and knowing what we are doing and Who we are receiving we gain an understanding of the evil of receiving Holy Communion unworthily. St. John Chrysostom tells us: “He who has sinned and comes to Holy Communion is lower than one possessed by a demon. For those who are afflicted by an evil spirit are not on that account punished. But, these others, should they come, unworthily, to the altar, they are handed over to everlasting punishment.”
Let us recall the Blood and water from Christ’s side and the wine and water in the chalice and remind ourselves to cleanse ourselves in the water of Baptism and in the sacrament of Penance. As we are also symbolized in the water we are likewise united forever with Christ in the Holy Eucharist. We know that this is the same Christ worshiped and adored in Heaven by the angels and saints. As we fear nothing as much as the demons from Hell, may we always remember that it is worse to receive Holy Communion unworthily than it is to be possessed by devils.