Having returned to the Catholic Church, I want to share my passion about God and all I didn't know that I didn't know about the Catholic Faith the first time around. This is a Catholic centered blog about the faith, music, movies, books (especially fantasy), writing, and Catholic homeschooling in California.
We, as Catholics, believe this about the Eucharist: Jesus
is present -- body, blood, soul, and divinity under the appearance of bread and
Maybe you believe it and maybe you don't. I'm not going
to try to prove it to you. I'm just here to say that the first Christians
believed it to be true. That's a historic fact.
Question: Where is the doctrine of the real presence
found in the Bible?
Answer: Many places, but I'll give you my favorites.
In John 6:32-71 Jesus repeats over and over about how you
will have no life in you unless you eat the Son of Man's flesh. The passage uses
the Greek words "Phago" - to eat meat, and "Trago" -to gnaw. He says, "Whoever eats me will
live because of me." Read the whole section. It's powerful.
Question: Wasn't he speaking metaphorically?
The passage says that a whole mess of followers left
because of this "difficult teaching." The Jewish people would be
shocked at the idea of eating human flesh and drinking blood. They had very
strict food guidelines that sure didn't include cannibalism.
Think about it. They didn't freak when he said he was the
vine and we are the branches. They understood when Jesus was talking literal
and when he was speaking metaphorically.
But how were they to eat His flesh and drink His blood?
Well, he taught them how at the Last Supper. Check out Luke 22:19-21 when Jesus
takes the bread and wine, saying "this is my body" and "this is
my blood." And "Do this in remembrance of me." (Read the whole
passage for all the detail. I'm just highlighting a bit of it.)
So, he says "do this." Do what exactly? Transform
the bread and wine into HIM.
Flip over to 1Corinthians 11 where Paul reminds the
people of Corinth that when they come together, they do so to eat the Lord's
Supper (1Cor.11:20) and he repeats the words Jesus said at the Last Supper
(1Cor.11:24). Then Paul goes on to remind them of the seriousness of partaking
in the Eucharist unworthily. "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks
the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and
blood of the Lord." He says they will "eat and drink judgment against
themselves" if they don't "discern the body" (1Cor.11:27-33).
Wow. That doesn't indicate that they think it's all symbolic. It ain't
Wonderbread and grape juice!
Question: I still say it's symbolic.
Answer: That's not a question. But okay, let's look at
what the Christian's thought in the first century. St. Justin Martyr, in First Aplology, around A.D.151, actually
used the word Eucharist for the bread and wine. And says you must be baptized
before receiving it. "...the food that has been made into the Eucharist by
the eucharistic prayer set down by him and by the change of which our blood and
flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated
Jesus." You can check it out yourself on Wikipedia. I'm not making it up.
So, the dissenters, those who don't believe this idea
that the Eucharist was always believed to be truly Christ, when do they think
the idea got invented? If the idea wasn't there from the beginning, it must
have been invented sometime between the Last Supper and today.
Fact is, it was understood from the start. That is why
the Church has always celebrated the Eucharist and has always believed it to be
the body, soul, and divinity of Christ.
Notice, not once did I try to convince you that it
actually is. That post will be for another day.
Meanwhile, get more info on this topic by reading your
Bible, Jimmy Akin's book, The Fathers
Know Best, and Catholic.com, where you can do keyword searches for Eucharist, the Host, Communion, etc.