14. Wherefore, my beloved, flee from the worship of idols.
15. I speak as to the wise; judge yourselves what I say.
16. The chalice of benediction which we bless, is it not the communication of the blood of Christ ? and the bread which we break, is it not the participation of the body of the Lord?
(Verse 14) Wherefore. For all these reasons, and on the strength of all these examples, avoid idolatry (see verses 1-13). And the participation in pagan sacrifices is a kind of idolatry (see 1 Cor 10:20). (Verse 15) You are wise and sensible, able to judge for yourselves; is not that true, which I have said? (Verse 16) The chalice of benediction, which Christ blessed at the last supper, which the priest blesses in the Mass, by drinking of which blessing is poured into the believer (Saint Anselm) is it not the communication of the blood of Christ? do we not, drinking of the blest and consecrated chalice of the Lord, communicate with
the Lord, are united with the Lord? (Saint Thomas). Because, Saint Chrysostom says, that which is in the chalice is that which flowed from the side of Christ, and
by receiving it, we are united with Christ. Understand, that the chalice of devils, drunk in idol worship, in the same manner unites us with evil spirits, as he explains presently.
The bread which we break—consecrate, offer to God, break when offered, and distribute to the faithful—makes us one with Christ, quia sub specie panis sumitur Corpus Christi. St. Thomas, Father Cornelius states, on the authority of a Protestant writer, that the bread used by Orientals is never cut with a knife, but always broken.
17. Inasmuch as all we who are partakers of the one bread, being many, are one bread, one body.
We are one bread, one body. The Syriac has: As therefore that bread is one, so we also are one body, inasmuch as we as all receive of that one bread. The body of the Lord being one, the participation of it makes us one body, not many, and that one, the body of Christ.
The Greek text, in verse 16, has the same word for the communicatio and participatio. Saint Chrysostom paraphrases verse 17 thus: Why did I say communication? We are that very body itself; for what is the bread? the body of Christ. And what do they become, who take it? The body of Christ. Not many bodies, but the one body of Christ.
And by receiving the pagan sacrifice you communicate with the demons to whom it is offered.