09 June, 2009

Did you know these things about the Eucharist?

I would like to clear up some of misunderstandings that non-Catholics have about the Eucharist.

1. One must be aware that the English word remembrance in some English translations is not fully representative of the original Greek word used. The original Greek word was “anamnesis” which means to make the past present. It does not mean, as in the usual definition of remembrance, to recall a past event to memory. Instead, it is to be present at a past event in the same place and time.

2. Jesus is both fully man and fully God; therefore He is God and one person of the Trinity or Godhead coexisting. So the consecrated bread does indeed become the body of God in the person of Jesus. In the miracle of the Eucharist, God both conceals Himself under the appearance of wine and bread and reveals Himself through His Spirit to our spirit through the gift of Spiritual discernment. Here we as the faithful truly receive the knowledge of the corporeal presence through our faith and trust in Him and the Spirit that brought us to belief. Those surrendering to only their carnal senses are deprived of the knowledge of His presence. This is one of the most explicit examples of God’s love for us and His desire that we freely come to Him. As the Scriptures say, “this is hard teaching” but Jesus allows us to reject His presence and even lose faith and follow him no more as He did the disciples in the synagogue in Capernaum, for it is faith that brings us to eternity, which is a faith that trusts in what we see and hear as well as that which is imputed by His grace through the Spirit. The Eucharist is a test of our faith and not of our sight as we suspend our carnal senses through faith.

3. While there may be no verse where the fruit of the vine is fermented, it should be understood by understanding the culture of the time and the practical applications pertaining to scientific advancements of the time. There was no pasteurization at that time and the wine harvest was six months prior to Passover. Grape juice naturally ferments and it is impossible to store it except to allow it to become wine. There is no Scriptural prohibition against wine except to overindulge and become drunk and it is a common drink, especially at Passover, of the culture.

4. Scriptures do not say that Jesus held up the bread and said “that it 'represented' his body” but instead said, “this is my Body”. He did not say of the cup, “that it 'represented' his blood” but instead said “this is my blood”. Those who disagree are committing great error when they add their interpretation and eisegesis to the plain words of Jesus. They claim to believe that one should not take away or add to Scriptures but persist and have no qualms about doing so to support their doctrines of men. It is clear because there is no indication otherwise that Jesus is speaking in a literal sense. Certainly we know of the literal understanding through the continual practice of the real presence by the apostles and their successors recorded in the Scriptures as well as historical accounts and the writings of the fathers of the Church. The belief that the Eucharist is a representation of His Body and Blood instead of the real corporeal presence is a doctrine of men originating with the heretic Ulrich Zwingli in the sixteenth century. As a result, many subsequent ecclesiastical groups have literally forbidden Christ to be in their worship and have committed blasphemy by calling what God consecrates as real, a representation, denying the miracle of our Lord and Savior and His words to the disciples, including His commandment to His Church to “take and eat: this is my Body”. Just as God spoke and all creation came into being, so to does Jesus speak and the bread and the wine become His body and blood.

5. From the earliest Church, today the Church continues to offer the sacrament of the Eucharist for adoration during the Mass and out of the Mass. It is to be venerated by the faithful as the Lord God Himself in corporeal presence. Some call this devotion idolatry and one can only agree if they reject the miracle of Jesus at the Lord’s Supper. To see this as idolatry one must appeal to their carnal senses and deny their faith in Jesus’ words, “this is my body; this is my blood”. Does one also deny that God speaks and all creation exists? There is no miracle too great or too small for our Lord. But what we worship is not the mere bread and wine but it is the real corporeal presence of Christ through His miracle represented by His words of consecration, “this is my body; this is my blood”. Not recognizing that real presence or as St. Paul wrote, not discerning the Body and the Blood of our Lord brings condemnation on oneself. The Bible even says that to do so means that one has no life in them, referring to eternal life in Christ. Refusing to accept the words of Christ and His miracle of the Eucharist is as great or greater an error as supposed idolatry in that, by doing so one is blaspheming the teaching of Christ and calling Him a liar in His clear and unambiguous statements in consecrating His greatest of all miracles for mankind.

It is true that we can know the truth by its fruits. The Eucharist beyond all other practices of Christ’s Church has drawn the faithful to a closer relationship with Christ and transformed lives and His congregations. For me, it made my conversion to Catholicism without doubt because I knew through the Spirit, revealed by prayer, that God would not fulfill His promise to be with His Church for all time in one which had fallen into apostasy. Instead I changed my worship to His Church, truly the "pillar and ground of the truth", where He is recognized in a Church and He is recognized in my spirit discerned through His Spirit. It is through the marriage of Church as His bride and my spirit that I become whole in His grace and confident of His miracles.

In Christ
Fr. Joseph


  1. One thing you've forgotten in number 3 - If you'll read Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 17:11-12, and Acts 15:29, you will find that God absolutely FORBIDS the drinking of blood all through the Bible.

  2. No, I did not forget about it but did not include it because it was not pertinent to the teaching. What you have illustrated by your comment is the need for scholarship when interpreting Scripture. All Scripture must be in agreement. Only unless one is Jewish and still under the Old Covenant should one make such a claim as the drinking of blood is forbidden. Not to mention that it is speaking specifically of the blood of sacramental animals.

    Under the Old Covenant if one drank the animals blood they were cut off from the familial relationship with Christ. At the Synagogue of Capernaum we see all of Jesus' disciples leaving Him except for the 12 chosen ones. Here Jesus spoke in the most unambiguous way of all of His teaching in Scriptures. As a result they left because they came to understand after great emphasis by Jesus that they were being commanded to eat His Body and drink His Blood in not a metaphorical way but literally. There was no question as to His teaching. What they did not understand is how this would come about but in any case they did not desire to be cut off from the Old Covenant relationship with God. Jesus explained to them that by their carnal reason this could not be understood but that one must understand this through faith in ones Spiritual senses.

    Under the Old Covenant everything is purified by blood and the blood of animals were necessary as if there is no shedding of blood then there was no forgiveness of sins.

    Jesus died for the atonement of man's sins. The blood of animals no longer represent life for man but instead it is the blood of Jesus poured out for mankind under the New Covenant that gives us a new life. The animal blood of the Old Covenant only signifies the redemption to come with Christ's death on the cross we have actual redemption through His Blood. Because it provides us actual redemption Jesus commands us to drink it (Joh 6:54)

    The food of the Old Covenant was perishable food for the nourishment of our bodies but the food and drink of the New Covenant is imperishable to feed our souls in preparation for eternity.(Joh 6:27) For receiving it Jesus promises us eternal life.

    This is the completion of the Old Covenant and the introduction of the New Covenant. Those that were cut off under the Old Covenant for drinking blood now come under the the New Covenant where drinking blood brings one into the most intimate of familial relationships with God. That is why it is taught by Jesus that all food is good including blood. (Mar 7:18-23) God bless!

    In Christ
    Fr. Joseph