A-Z of Paul: Koinonia
This sacred fellowship of all the baptised who are united in the Spirit is called the Church. We become the Mystical Body of Christ because, having been baptised into Christ, we receive his Body and Blood in the Eucharist. Holy Communion is thus a sign of the holy koinonia we share; it is a mark of our unity and love for one another, precisely because we have been called together as God’s people and continue to be transformed by the Eucharist into the Body of Christ, the Church.
Moreover, as Pope Benedict has said: “The Eucharist is the sacrament of communion between brothers and sisters who allow themselves to be reconciled in Christ, who made of Jews and pagans one people, tearing down the wall of hostility which divided them (see Eph 2:14). Only this constant impulse towards reconciliation enables us to partake worthily of the Body and Blood of Christ” (Sacramentum Caritatis 89).
Furthermore, since Holy Communion is an expression of the unity of the entire Church, we should not make the Eucharist into a celebration of private groups and cliques thus dividing the Church into various parties. Rather, as the Pope, when he was Joseph Ratzinger, reminded us, Holy Communion calls us out of ourselves into the Body of Christ, “beyond all boundaries and divisions [so that the Mass] becomes a point from which a universal love is bound to shine forth”, drawing others into the unity of the Church and communion with God.
Finally because of the essential communion that exists among Christians, St Paul also speaks of koinonia as a sharing of finances, of helping to further the preaching mission, and of sharing in the sufferings of Christ and of the members of the Church. Thus, ideas of Christian charitable aid, prayers for one another, and solidarity with poor and persecuted Christians around the world, are all expressions of our sacred communion in Christ that is rooted in the sacrament of Holy Communion.