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....
Don't put limits on what God can do.
Let's assume, for sake of argument, that Christ wanted us to eat his flesh. When he said 'This is my body" he meant it to mean, This is my body. When he said "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man you have no live in you" he meant you must eat the flesh of the son of man. When he said, "Do this in remberance of me" he wanted this crazy notion of eating his flesh to continue for generations. So lets assume, for whatever reason, That Christ wanted us to eat his flesh. Christ would have had to create a mechanism for that to happen. His physical body had a limited amount of flesh. His physical body would not have lasted for generations, so he would have had to institute a mechanism for giving us his flesh. Since we know now He was not planning a second coming in a few days, and if he wanted us to eat his flesh, he would have had to create a process to give us his flesh to eat. This is why he created the Eucharist.
Turning bread into his flesh is the way His words make sense.
From Matthew 26
27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, Drink of it, all of you; 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Fathers kingdom.
Jesus clearly referred to the contents of the cup as 'fruit of the vine'. Grapes grow on a vine...sounds like wine.
There it is. Simple - 3 verses. No assumptions, laid out by Jesus Himself. Jesus gave His disciples wine in the cup that He described as 'His blood'.
Are we ready to move on to 'the body' yet?
"For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily like those high priests to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for the sins of the people. Because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak but the word of the oath which came after the Law appoints a Son made perfect forever."(emphasis mine, TBP)
Jesus also said "It is finished." So why do the priests offer Him up again and again to be sacrificed? Do they think that Jesus didn't do a good enough job the first time?
I don’t put limits on what God can do, including the rich use of metaphor. I also know that the “body” means the church, or at least all believers, in some usages too. I know that “in Christ” does not mean literally inside. You’re picking and choosing and thinking in English.....the Bible was spoken in Hebrew and Greek....
Exactly. Bread turned into his flesh, wine turned into his blood so future generations can follow his commands.
Simple, when you don't underestimate the power of God.
Jesus said to them again, Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.
Jesus said they were drinking ‘fruit of the vine’. FatherOfFive says it was blood.
I know who I am going with.
So you just ignore my simple questions and make statements.
You neglected to read this comment.
No, I didn’t neglect to read your comment. In fact, I read it a couple times.
I do choose to not give it the weight of Jesus’ own words, which I included above. His words were simple and straight-forward.
I am going with Jesus over the words of FatherOfFive and the comments of NYer.
Why should the gluten-containing ‘host’ trouble the gluten-sensitive consumer if he or she were gluten-intolerant? What is the symbolic implication of a person’s body rejecting what is claimed to be Jesus’ actual flesh?
What a wonderful response
“If the bread and wine remained unchanged, Christ would be, at best, equal to Melchizedek. ..”
Not so. Christ gave his life as a sacrifice. Melchizedech did not.
Sorry, when I originally read this post, I didn’t understand that you were telling me that your comments were the only possible interpretation of the passage and that once you had spoken, it was a done deal.
I don’t understand the passage as that unique. Jesus had followers that stopped following often, and I don’t agree that this was the ‘only record...doctrinal reasons’. The Jesus that I read often left the listener confused. Jesus said he spoke in parables so that not everyone would understand the secrets of the kingdom (Matthew 13:10-11).
This is the reason that I didn’t take your comments as the final authority. It seems to me that Jesus made a habit of speaking words that were hard to hear, and very seldom did he try to sooth the ears of the listeners.
You will never hear this more beautifully set to music.
The Catholic Church was established by Jesus (God).
That thou art Peter [Kipha, a rock], and upon this rock [Kipha] I will build my church [ekklesian], and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven”. Then he commanded his disciples, that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ (Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-21).
By the word “rock” the Saviour cannot have meant Himself, but only Peter, as is so much more apparent in Aramaic in which the same word (Kipha) is used for “Peter” and “rock”. His statement then admits of but one explanation, namely, that He wishes to make Peter the head of the whole community of those who believed in Him as the true Messias; that through this foundation (Peter) the Kingdom of Christ would be unconquerable; that the spiritual guidance of the faithful was placed in the hands of Peter, as the special representative of Christ. This meaning becomes so much the clearer when we remember that the words “bind” and “loose” are not metaphorical, but Jewish juridical terms. It is also clear that the position of Peter among the other Apostles and in the Christian community was the basis for the Kingdom of God on earth, that is, the Church of Christ. Peter was personally installed as Head of the Apostles by Christ Himself. This foundation created for the Church by its Founder could not disappear with the person of Peter, but was intended to continue and did continue (as actual history shows) in the primacy of the Roman Church and its bishops.
From Catholic Encyclopedia http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11744a.htm
You either have Faith and believe in the teachings of the Catholic Church or you don’t have that faith.
Let's rephrase the entire discussion. If the Creator of the Universe says to you, "I am the Bread of Life", you might challenge him for a better explanation. Again, he says to you "I am the Bread of Life. Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you will not have life within you". You will probably be taken aback at such a statement and, again, ask him for clarification. He gives it to you and again, you can't grasp this, so you ask again. He spells it out a fourth time. So he rephrases the same words "he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day". You are thinking 'this can't be right, I need to ask again'. A fifth time, you ask him for an explanation. He tells you "my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed". You wonder how this can be; surely you are misunderstanding Jesus, so you ask again. He responds, "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him" This is still not registering so you ask a 7th time, then an 8th time ... a 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th time. How many times does our Lord have to tell you something for you to understand it? No interpretation is necessary; these are the words of Jesus Christ.
you are guilty of hyper extrapilation....
With all due respect, you did not ask a single question - and did not use a single question mark - in your diatribe. You made some statements. I put them into perspective.
Conversely, an alcoholic priest can consecrate a type of wine called must, unpasturized natural grape juice which has been only briefly exposed to air, i.e. to the action of natural yeast, with virtually zero alcohol content.
When my mother was in her dying days in the hospital, she could not swallow solids, but the priest broke off a tiny piece of the Blessed Host and softened or dissolved it somewhat in a little water, and gave her just a drop, which was all she could receive.
It is my very firm belief that the scripture, taken as a whole, conveys the fact that the symbols of bread and wine are just that - symbols. You must take what Jesus said in John 6, what Matthew/Mark/Luke recorded about the ‘last supper’, and then further writings like Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul all spoke of this as a ‘remembrance’. In my church we take this time to remember what He did. We often take the elements with family and friends, to give thanks for our great high priest and encourage one another...forgive if need be.
I admit I don’t understand the catholic teaching. John says you must eat/drink flesh/blood. The wine/bread become the flesh/blood, and are thus eaten/drank. But I don’t get why it is an ongoing thing - like the other places in scripture direct. And it is obviously much more than just a ‘remembrance’ at that point. Seems inconsistent to me.
And, honestly, a bit scary. The cross of Christ is declared to be a stumbling block. Jesus came, obeyed His Father, and laid His life down on the cross. As the Son of God, He was the perfect sinless sacrifice - one time, for all mankind. Still a stumbling block...
He turns to His disciples and says, "Do you want to go, too?"
There's a good explanation of that LINK_John_6
If Jesus' words strike you a being really, really outrageous --- I think you're beginning to get it. Most of us take it way too casually. We've forgotten just how radical it is.
I disagree the text strongly indicates that. Also, the Bible never says the words are metaphors when they are metaphors, so that argument is useless.
And to be clear, I have not said I do or do not think he is talking figuratlively necessarily - I have only said Ireject the dogmatic insistence that He is speaking literally and that none of the arguments for that interpretation have been compelling.
Other Eicharistic miracles are cited. (There are hundreds of them. Believe -- don't settle for unbelief.
Bleeding Eucharist at Primary School in Moruga [Trinidad]
The Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano, Italy (The Body and Blood of Christ) [Catholic Caucus]
Do You Believe in Eucharistic Miracles?
Eucharistic Miracle at St. Stephen's in New Boston MI.(Catholic Caucas)
[CATHOLIC CAUCUS] EUCHARISTIC MIRACLES
[CATHOLIC CAUCUS]'Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity': The Miracle and Gift of the Most Holy Eucharist
Looking After a Eucharistic Miracle (Franciscan Recounts His Special Mission in Siena)
Eucharistic Miracle: 2009?
Possible Eucharistic Miracle in Poland
The Eucharistic Miracles(Catholic Caucus)
Vatican display exhibits eucharistic miracles
Eucharistic Miracle - Bolsena-Orvieto, Italy
Physician Tells of Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano -Verifies Authenticity of the Phenomenon
BLOOD TYPE FOUND IN ICONS IS SAME AS IN SHROUD OF TURIN AND 'LANCIANO MIRACLE'
Eucharistic Miracle: Lanciano,Italy-8th Century A.D.
Jesus never explained his parables in front of unbelievers...
This is the only record we have of any of Christs followers forsaking him for purely doctrinal reasons.
No one left Jesus for 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.
This is patently untrue...Why do you guys continue year after year to present this question when it has been pointed out to you time after time that Jesus answers this question right in the very scripture you are discussing???
Joh 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
Jesus knew these people wouldn't follow him no matter what he said or what miracle he provided...Those disciples were not following Jesus because they believed he was the Son of God...Besides, no one left at that time...
Joh 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
This is where those disciples left...They knew they weren't there because they believed in Jesus...They knew that God wasn't the reason they were following Jesus...They liked the free meals...
Joh 6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
Those disciples didn't feel a calling from God...
Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Joh 6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
Jesus was in fact addressing only those who responded to the calling of the Father (spiritual)...Only those could be a true disciple of Jesus...Those who were only interested in what Jesus could do for then, he had no use for...
While the call to eat Jesus was in fact literal, it was not physical...It was spiritual...
Joh 6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
Joh 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
Joh 6:69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
And how did these disciples know that Jesus had the words of eternal life??? And why did many of the disciples NOT believe??? Anybody???
Mat 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
Mat 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
It's all spiritual...Believing is spiritual...Eating the flesh of Jesus is spiritual...The Kingdom of God is spiritual...
Sounds feasable...So where in the scriptures is the process??? Who did Jesus give the process to??? And where is the record to show to whom it was given???
Can't answer those questions??? Then there isn't any process...It's just a fairy tale...
It's all spiritual...There's nothing physical about eating the flesh of Jesus...
Just the way it is...Some folks are alergic to Jesus...
There, fixed that for ya...