Skip to comments.The Blessed Sacrament: It's either All or nothing
Posted on 06/01/2013 1:36:03 PM PDT by NYer
Scriptural Reflection on the Readings for June 2, 2013, The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ | Carl E. Olson
Ps 110:1, 2, 3, 4
1 Cor 11:23-26
Shortly after my wife and I entered the Catholic Church in 1997, I had a conversation with an Evangelical friend that was as disconcerting as it was friendly. A.J., who I met in Bible college several years earlier, was curious about the Catholic doctrine that the Eucharist is the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. I say curious because A.J., unlike some of my other Protestant friends, was not really bothered or offended by this belief, merely puzzled. After much discussion, he said, I dont see what the big deal is. I believe that Communion is symbolic, and you believe it is more than a symbol. But, either way, were both Christians.
His comment surprised me because it was readily evident to meas it is to many Protestantsthat the Catholic belief in the Eucharist (shared by Eastern Orthodox and Ancient Oriental Christians) is an all or nothing proposition. If the Eucharist is Jesus, it calls for a response of humble acceptance; if the Eucharist is not really Jesus, it is an idolatrous offense against Godworshipping bread and wine as though they are somehow divine.
On this feast day celebrating the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, the readings reveal, in different ways, the truthfulness of the ancient and consistent belief in the Eucharist. It is fitting that this great mystery has ancient roots in one of most mysterious of all biblical figures: the priest Melchizedek, who makes just one historical appearance in the Scriptures (Gen. 14:18-20), is mentioned once more in the Old Testament (Ps. 110:4), and then reappears in the seventh chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews.
Having just left the battlefield, Abram encountered the king of Salem, who was also a priest of God Most High. Melchizedek brought bread and wine to Abram and blessed the patriarch, and Abram responded with a tithe. Both actions indicated Melchizedeks superior position, as noted in the letter to the Hebrews (Heb 7:1-7). It is the first time a priest is mentioned in the Scriptures, several centuries before the Hebrews had a priesthood.
The Christian tradition, the Catechism states, considers Melchizedek, priest of God Most High, as a prefiguration of the priesthood of Christ, the unique high priest after the order of Melchizedek (CCC 1544, 1333). Christs priesthood is superior to the Aaronic priesthood. Because He is the Son of God and is God Himself (the argument of Hebrews 1), His priesthood is validated by His eternal nature and His infinite being (Heb. 7:16, 24ff). Melchizedeks importance lies in his loyalty to God Most High, the purity of his intentions, and his sacrifice of bread and wine. He represents a time when the priesthood was part of the natural order of family structure. By establishing the New and universal covenant through His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ formed a new and everlasting family of God, bound not by ethnicity, but by grace and the Holy Spirit.
And because Jesus is God, He is able to give the household of God His Body and Blood for the nourishment of soul and body, and for the forgiveness of sins. By providing this Eucharistic banquet, a foretaste of the Kingdom of God, He fulfills the promise of a worldwide family of God foreshadowed in the person of the king-priest Melchizedek. The feeding of the five thousand, described in todays reading from Lukes Gospel, anticipates and represents the sacrament of the Eucharist, as Christ miraculously feedswith the assisting hands and efforts of His priests, the Apostlesthose who hunger to hear His words.
If the bread and wine remained unchanged, Christ would be, at best, equal to Melchizedek. But the King of Kings said, This is my body that is for you, and the High Priest declared, This cup is the new covenant in my blood. The Eucharist is Jesus Christ. That is the great truth we humbly celebrate todayand every day we receive the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
Just a simple point to ponder:
If the bread were really the flesh of Christ, and a person with a severe gluten intolerance could not consume it without harmful effects, does that mean that the “flesh”-based access to the divine is forbidden to him?
Assume that this person lived in the 1400s when modern technology didn’t exist to allow for gluten-free bread.
another simple point to ponder....God routinely communicates with figures of speech - I’ve heard it said that there are over 200 specific types of figures of speech used by God in the scripture - thus the idea of accepting the Bible literally versus seriously runs into problems when you don’t allow for figures of speech. I take the Bible very seriously. I seriously think that God uses figures of speech, types and shadows, analogy, double entendres, symbols, metaphors, simlies, etc for a reason. I think He expects us to do the same. I would suggest that if one’s heart is in the right place on this issue, its’ not as dogmatic as some suggest.
“They shall mount up with wings like eagles....” - does not mean those who trust in the Lord have feathers and can fly.......
The full body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ is available in communion of both types.
I’m not sure what the Church rule is but our priest has a small container with gluten free hosts. And since we believe that the full presence of the body and blood exists in both the bread and the wine, that person can take the wine which is gluten free.
In the second Mass reading for tomorrow, from 1st Corinthians, Paul goes to great lengths to repeat what had been given to him in oral tradition. This is the oldest known written description of the Last Supper possibly written as early as 56 AD. He reports it’s authority has nothing to do with him but with that of the Risen Lord who guarantees it’s authenticity. This is about as close to dogmatic as one can get. In fact, Paul’s language is reminiscent of the type used in statements of infallibility.
The Church in Corinth was doing something wrong in their Eucharistic observance and Paul corrected it knowing the central importance of this rite to the early Church.
Concerning your other comments on Scripture, I agree completely.
I think that the point of the article and of the thread is not to debate transubstantiation but to simply say that the Catholic Church doesn’t give us a choice. Protestants who do not believe in transubstantiation should consider us to be idolators. It’s that simple. It really is the true body and blood of Christ or all of us Catholics are evil, corrupted, demonic, idolators. It’s sort of like the analysis of Jesus. He’s either crazy, evil, or He really is the Son of God. Not a lot of wiggle room. Anyone interested in further study, I highly recommend that they read Rome Sweet H by Kimberley and Scott Hahn. Scott was well known Presbyterian minister and teacher who converted (swam the Tiber). His analysis is amazing. His wife fought it all along but eventually also converted.
Sorry, should be Rome Sweet Home.
No Church is infallible, and no Church has 100% agreement on anything - thus the notion that you have no choice is wrong - and the comparison of this to the most fundamental truth of all of recorded history is a straw and false comparison.
I find nothing in verses 10 or 11 to support what you say....
Funny how no one thinks that scripture should be taken literally but others should.
So I’m guessing you vote evil, demonic, idolator. LOL
Can’t help but recall Flannery O’Connor here—
“I was once, five or six years ago, taken by some friends to have dinner with Mary McCarthy and her husband, Mr. Broadwater. . . . She departed the Church at the age of 15 and is a Big Intellectual. We went at eight and at one, I hadn’t opened my mouth once, there being nothing for me in such company to say. The people who took me were Robert Lowell and his now wife, Elizabeth Hardwick. Having me there was like having a dog present who had been trained to say a few words but overcome with inadequacy had forgotten them.
Well, toward morning the conversation turned on the Eucharist, which I, being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend. [Mary McCarthy] said when she was a child and received the Host, she thought of it as the Holy Ghost, He being the ‘most portable’ person of the Trinity; now she thought of it as a symbol and implied that it was a pretty good one. I then said, in a very shaky voice, ‘Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it.’ That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of a story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable.”
Rather than adopting this (some might say TOO) succinct approach, the American Catholic Church shortly after Vatican II started floating the idea of “anamnesis,” a really, really, REALLY meaningful symbol, so meaningful that it almost became other than symbolic. It didn’t fly. And it never will.
It's either truly the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ ... or it is not. There is nothing in between. There is no "symbolism".
John 6:30 begins a colloquy that took place in the synagogue at Capernaum. The Jews asked Jesus what sign he could perform so that they might believe in him. As a challenge, they noted that "our ancestors ate manna in the desert." Could Jesus top that? He told them the real bread from heaven comes from the Father. "Give us this bread always," they said. Jesus replied, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst." At this point the Jews understood him to be speaking metaphorically.
Jesus first repeated what he said, then summarized: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh. The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" (John 6:5152).
His listeners were stupefied because now they understood Jesus literallyand correctly. He again repeated his words, but with even greater emphasis, and introduced the statement about drinking his blood: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him" (John 6:5356).
Notice that Jesus made no attempt to soften what he said, no attempt to correct "misunderstandings," for there were none. Our Lords listeners understood him perfectly well. They no longer thought he was speaking metaphorically. If they had, if they mistook what he said, why no correction?
On other occasions when there was confusion, Christ explained just what he meant (cf. Matt. 16:512). Here, where any misunderstanding would be fatal, there was no effort by Jesus to correct. Instead, he repeated himself for greater emphasis.
In John 6:60 we read: "Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" These were his disciples, people used to his remarkable ways. He warned them not to think carnally, but spiritually: "It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life" (John 6:63; cf. 1 Cor. 2:1214).
This is the only record we have of any of Christs followers forsaking him for purely doctrinal reasons. If it had all been a misunderstanding, if they erred in taking a metaphor in a literal sense, why didnt he call them back and straighten things out? Both the Jews, who were suspicious of him, and his disciples, who had accepted everything up to this point, would have remained with him had he said he was speaking only symbolically.
But he did not correct these protesters. Twelve times he said he was the bread that came down from heaven; four times he said they would have "to eat my flesh and drink my blood." John 6 was an extended promise of what would be instituted at the Last Supperand it was a promise that could not be more explicit.
not quite....maybe just think some folks are majoring in minors.....and conflating a few ideas.....but sounds like all’s heart is in the right place, and we are under grace in the NT.....
When it comes to scripture, once we all agree on John 3:16, the rest is just good conversation....
At best? At best?
Jesus is being compared 'at best' to a man referenced nearly a handful of times in the book that lives and breathes testimony to His life - IF Jesus didn't actually share His body and blood BEFORE He made the actual sacrifice?
He also gave the first “Last Supper” while He was alive, and His physical body was in tact and His literal blood still coursing through His veins....