Much comment on this focusses around the question of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, which I reserve to the second of these posts. However, the other aspect is that of the Liturgical meaning of Holy Communion received under both kinds, and that is what I would like to discuss in this post.
Two preliminaries should perhaps be recognised. The first is that the priest celebrant always has received Communion under both kinds, so one can see a restricted sense in which receiving under both kinds is always "intrinsic" to the celebration of Mass, even when the people only receive under one kind. The second is the teaching of the Council of Trent, referred to by the General Instruction on the Roman Missal n.282, that Christ, whole and entire, is received under one kind only, so that a person who receives only under the form of the Sacred Host does not "lose out" in terms of the grace of Holy Communion. The General Instruction is explicit in identifying the value of Communion received under both kinds as lying in its sign value, receiving under both kinds being "a fuller form as a sign" (n.281); and in encouraging the practice of receiving under both kinds (n.282):
...the faithful should be encouraged to seek to participate more eagerly in this sacred rite, by which the sign of the Eucharistic banquet is made more fully evident.So what are the different parts that make up this value of Communion under both kinds as a "fuller form as a sign"?
It is the blood of the Passover lamb, painted on the door of their houses, that saves the people of Israel from the destruction of the first born in Egypt (Exodus 12:1-14): "Some of the blood must then be taken and put on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten".
St Paul teaches the reconciliation of the Jews and the pagans in terms of the blood of Christ: "... you that used to be so far apart from us have been brought very close by the blood of Christ .." (Ephesians 2:11-18); and St John, in his account of the Passion, lays great emphasis on the blood and water that flow from the side of Christ: "..This is the evidence of one who saw it - trustworthy evidence .." (John 19:33-37).
And the book of Revelation offers us the image of the saints in heaven, worshipping he Lamb in the Eucharistic banquet of heaven: "... because they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb, they now stand in front of God's throne and serve him day and night in his sanctuary..." (Rev.:7:9-17).
If these ecclesial reflections are taken seriously, they bring to the fore the profoundly sacral, indeed heavenly, nature of Holy Communion.