I thought this week might be a good time to discuss the Biblical Evidence for the Eucharist. So many of our separated brothers and sisters take issue with the Catholic belief that the bread, water and wine become the actual body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
These things are believed based, first and foremost, on the words of Jesus...as most fully explained in John 6. Other verses, such as those of Jesus at the last supper and the words of Paul add to this understanding.
Let us first, here, walk through the discourse Jesus gives on the "bread of life" in John 6. For purposes of discussion with our non-Catholic brethren, I will use the NIV translation.
It is, first of all, important to take note of what happens immediately prior to what has become known as the "Bread of Life Discourse." Jesus has miraculously multiplied earthly food - loaves and fishes. Here alone, we can see the necessary symbolism as a parallel to the Eucharist, where Christ will miraculously multiply heavenly food, His own body, for us.
Verse 30: So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do?"
32-33: Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
The people want this bread...they yearn for it...and Jesus tells them....He "is the bread of life" [6:35]
[6:41]At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." At this, Jesus once again attempts to explain what he means. And the Jews...they now understand Him to be speaking of eating His flesh and blood. Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" [6:52]
Jesus doesn't offer a rebuke, as though they misunderstand Him - though they misunderstand the sense of how this will be accomplished. Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. [6:53]
For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. [6:55]
Get that? It's real! It's not symbolic, but really and truely. But the Jews still don't get it. And even his disciples (not Apostles) don't understand...On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" [6:60]
Jesus attempts to clarify it further, though He does not retract.
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. [6:63] This is where most Protestants spend their time. They believe Jesus, in this point, is now explaining what he's said to mean something different than what He's already said[6:55]. They believe this to mean that He's speaking symbolically. This is an impossible interpretation.
This verse [6:63] is an answer to those who think that Jesus means that, after He's dead, we should chop Him up and eat His flesh and blood. The real idea that the Church believes Jesus is trying to get across is the miracle of the Eucharist...where the bread becomes His body in a spiritual, but real way....and the water and wine becomes His blood in a real and spiritual way.
Of course, too, we should not forget that the Church has deemed that both the bread and water/wine become fully Jesus' body and blood.
Finally, Jesus tells them...people aren't going to believe unless my Father grants belief to them. Here too, we see that Judas did not believe these words, and it is here that he falls away. [6:71].
God bless, Matt
Matt, this is a good topic to discuss. I'm sorry but I may miss it this Monday. We have a special confirmation presentation scheduled for then. If I get back in time I'll join later on.
I have a question concerning the Eucharist and our church...The other night I had to borrow the CCC from my Priest. He had in the pages a small card that talked about the Real Presence--The Miracle of Lanciano. For those who do not know of this, in Nov 1970 in Lanciano, Italy, during the mass the host was suddenly changed into a circle of flesh and the wine transformed into blood.
This miracle underwent scientific scrutiny and the conclusions were that the flesh was identified as striated muscular tissue from the inner wall of the heart with no trace of any preservatives or agents that might have been used to preserve the flesh from decay. Both the flesh & blood were identified as human origin with an AB bloodtype. The relics are there even today in the Church of St Francis, Lanciano, Italy.
Here's my question...Since we as Catholics believe in the Real Presence, why does the RCC seem to shun away from letting the world know of the many miracles that occur? To me at least this IS proof positive that the Eucharist is real food and his blood is real drink..yet not very many people know of these events.
Maybe if we advertised these truths a lot more than maybe we could change the minds of some of our non-Catholic brothers & sisters??
Thank you and may the Lord bless us all.
Tom, are you sure it was 1970? The web page I found on this says it happened in the eighth century.
You ask such good questions!
As for the Church not promoting such miracles...I think it's mostly because these things don't have to be believed as a matter of salvation/membership in the Church. These are not matters of doctrine/dogma...similar to what has been put forth on the Marian apparitions. One can choose to believe in these things or choose not to believe, and it will not affect one's salvation/status.
However, acceptance or belief in the Eucharist as Christ's body and blood is absolutely essential to salvation/membership as a matter of doctrine/dogma.
Hopefully, this answers the question.
You'll be missed if you cannot make it this Monday.
God bless, Matt
You're right Zenas. I guess I didn't read that card correctly. It said that many verifications of this miracle have been performed over the past 1200 years but the most convincing was made in Nov 1970..
But my question still lingers on..why doesn't the church go out and shout it on the roof tops that WE have the proof..WE have the special miracles that validate what we have always said.
I don't mean to be caught up in the moment, but I have been asking people at our church (Our Lady of Lourdes) about the history of Lourdes, as they know it. To my surprise, many of these decent God-fearing Catholics never realized that St Bernadette lies in a state of incoruption. I thought, gosh, if only they could see the photos of this miracle then maybe their faith could grow even stronger.
God's peace TomH
Matt, thanks for your encouragement! I often hesitate posting questions for fear of sounding really stupid.
As you can see in my post to Zenas (above) that I still have this lingering question. I sure would like to hear what others might have to say. Could you please talk about it in the Chat for me?? Thanks..I knew I could count on you!
God's peace. TomH
I think if people don't want to believe, they won't believe. We have Catholics who get in the communion line every week who don't believe they are receiving the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. They do not realize that the sacrifice of Calvary is made present right in front of them every week.
The Church could proclaim these miracles, but I would think that we would have some charge the Church with planting these things, creating them....paying off those who study such things to have them say it is something other than it is. I believe the Church is content with proclaiming the truth of these things....accepting these miracles...and if God draws people to such truths, great. Who knows the countless reasons why the Church has not been led to proclaim such miracles - though she does - she just isn't led to shout them from the rooftops.
God bless, Matt
Hi. I'm another Maria from the one who's posted before. I've been following your discussion and it's amazingly timely because I've been troubled for the past week about this very topic.
Our pastor had a conversation with a friend of mine (yes this is hearsay but I got this straight from the participant) about an episode of 20/20 that featured Audrey Santo. She is the girl in Worcester, Ma who has been in a coma for ten years after a near drowning. There have been reported cures, conversions and in particular, Eucharistic Miracles associated with Audrey. Now, I understand that the church must be very circumspect regarding any miracle and likewise , I try to be cautious in making up my own mind as to the validity of something that the Church has not yet ruled upon. However, our pastor immediately said that Eucharistic miracles (particularly Lanciano, Italy were DEMONIC because the Eucharist while becoming the glorified body of Christ, still retains the form of bread(and wine).
My thoughts are that if the consecration is performed by an ordained priest of the
Catholic Church and is done correctly according to the rite of the Church then it could
not possibly be demonic because wherever Christ is, the devil flees. Satan could not
possibly take over when the Holy Spitit is being invoked. Furthermore, why would
Satan do something that brings people to prayer and faith?
And if so many Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of the Eucharist, then why wouldn't the Lord perform a miracle to remind them that He is truly present in the Eucharist? I understand that belief in these miracles is not essential for salvation but I am concerned about such a reaction to them on the part of my own parish priest. Thoughts?
As for those "miracles" surrounding Audrey Santo, I cannot comment as I am unfamiliar with the cases.
However, regarding Euchristic miracles, they do not seem as being something unlikely. As for being demonic? Well...that's interesting, but not unlikely; however I would follow the Church in this vein - should they make a ruling on it.
I believe the same goes hand in hand with "extraordinary gifts of the Spirit", emphasized in some Charismatic (both Catholic and Protestant) movements. While it is possible for these things to be of the Spirit, it is also possible for these things to not be of the the Spirit. One must discern the message that coincides with such events. The devil can use certain "tools" to cause people to stray from the truth...that is, to come to a different message of another gospel.
Often, people say..."how could the devil cause people to come to prayer and faith?" Well, the devil is very sly and he can cause people to come to a false faith...and this is what he wants for those who are searchng. People believe they're doing the right thing, but they've been misled.
This is why the Church takes some time to come to a decision on these things. As for whether some miracle of the Eucharist is demonic....well, maybe...perhaps the devil has a mind to encourage people to worship the Eucharist itself, rather than God.
Hope that helps...
God bless, Matt
Worshipping the Eucharist rather than God? Now I'm confused. What about devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and Holy Hours of adoration? Is that worshipping the Eucharist rather than God? Or do you mean that some lose sight of the Blesses Trinity in their zeal for the Blessed Sacrament?
Otherwise your explanations are helpful but I'm confused on this point.
Well, here's what I'm trying to say...and I hope the Lord will see fit to help me make it as clear as possible....
The devotions to the Blessed Sacrament, such as Eucharistic Adoration, are not necessarily, in themselves, problematic in that one will come to worship the Eucharist rather than God (seeing as how the Euchrist is, in the proper sense, God). However, one should be wary that they not ONLY see God in the Eucharist; meaning they do not see Him manifest in other places and things - though in different ways.
I believe there could be a danger in one making the Eucharist into an icon, where they would abandon all other forms of worship of our Lord in lieu of solely adoring our Lord in the Eucharist.
Hope I've made that clearer.
God bless, Matt
Eureka! I've got it. Thanks. And I suppose that's why some priests are reluctant to have Holy Hours. They are afraid people will stop coming to Mass. Although I 've always heard that the opposite occurs.
I think you make a good point about priests' regard to Holy Hours....it will not deter people from attending Mass, but rather, most likely, increase Mass attendance.
Fr. Levis and Fr. Trigilio from EWTN mentioned on their show "Web of Faith" that it seems that in parishes that have "Eucharistic Adoration" and place a strong emphasis on the Eucharist, priestly vocations are up....
I know that our Bishop in the Rockford, IL diocese (Bishop Doran) places quite an emphasis on the teaching of the Eucharist...and we have seen a surge in men becoming seminarians. Last year was 8...this fall, 32 men will enter the seminary to become priests.
Eucharistic adoration should probably be considered more of "praying with Jesus" than about "praying to the Blessed Sacrament." That's where I believe the distinction lies.
God bless, Matt
The Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ. It is Jesus Himself, waiting in the Tabernacle for us to come and visit.
Three times Jesus tells us "I am the bread of life". Interesting how He uses the term "I AM", if you get the point.
John 6:35 And Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger: and he that believeth in me shall never thirst.
John 6:48 I am the bread of life.
John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven.
John 6:59 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever.
Matt, I love your analogy of "praying with Jesus." This is so reassuring because it ocurred to me one day as I was teaching CCD to 8th grade Confirmation Candidate's that just as they do not want to be alone when they are worried or preparing for a traumatic event, so Jesus did not want to be alone when he ventured into the Garden of Gethsemane.
Now, (correct me if I'm wrong here), if when we celebrate the Eucharist, we are celebrating Christ's Passion (if celebrate is the correct word), then it is the Sacred Heart of Jesus in His Passion or perhaps just having suffered His Passion, that we are visiting in the Tabernacle. So we are there with Him in His need.
Couldn't this be why it is such a consolation for Him when we spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament? And if we are contemplating His Passion then that would lead directly back to worship at Mass where it is most appropriately celebrated.
I agree completely with you on this, Mac.
I know it's kinda confusing, but hopefully not dangerous to state that we should not worship our Lord solely in the Eucharist...it's not my intention to present the idea that the Eucharist is not acutally our Lord and Savior. I hope I haven't done so.
God bless, Matt
The Eucharist is rightly the center of the Catholic Faith, and of worship.
I would like to ask .....
If the wine in the ceremony becomes Jesus's blood spiritually and in reality, what is Jesus's blood type? Has a DNA study been done on his blood? And if catholic priests can change wine into blood, why are blood drives necessary? To gather blood that is not of Jesus's type?
Can Catholic priests change bread into human flesh? Why do you want to eat human flesh? Sorry, as an agnostic, even I don't care to eat other humans. I'll leave that to you Catholics. Bon Appetit!!!
I sensed you are not at ease with many ideas expressed at CatholicSource. I realize you are agnostic but wanted to share this blessing of peace with you:
"The Lord bless you and keep you!
The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!
The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!"
Numbers 6: 24-26
It was unneccessary to post your message eight times; it was my pleasure to delete seven of them. The answers to your questions can be found on this thread, as well as many links on our web page.
While I echo RoseMary's prayerful hope for you, none of us here fancy ourselves doormats. All sincere inquiries will be politely addressed, but your sarcasm is not welcome. Any further postings of this nature after this warning, and you will be unceremoniously booted off this forum.
Blondebear's attitude and antics got old real fast.
I do not ever remember a priest changing bread and wine in Our Lord. I do remember Our Lord saying, "This is my body, This is my blood.. eat it, drink it, and do this in memory of me." If I'm wrong, please correct me, but I thought it was by the Power of the Holy Spirit which transformed the bread and wine.
Love in Christ,
I think we can say that any action of God is an action of the whole Trinity. But if any one Person of the Trinity can be said to be primarily involved in confecting the Eucharist, it is God the Son, Jesus Christ, Who acts in, not just through, His priest. When you hear the words "This is My Body" at the Mass, Christ is saying them. Christ is also speaking when you hear the priest say, "I absolve you of your sins." The Church does not regard this as merely a symbol, metaphor, or pious fancy. The Church teaches that in these Sacraments, the priest acts not only in the Name of Christ, but in the Person of Christ. Hope this is helpful.
Even though it's upsetting to hear this mans post about the canabolistic idea of our
blessed sacrement it is one that all catholics come across at one time or another. I
teach CCD class and this is my second year of teaching the reconciliation and first
communion class. And the childrens reaction was just like what this man Blondbear is
stating. The children said ooooh you mean were eating and drinking Jesus. You could
tell from the look on their little faces that they thought they were going to be given an
actual piece of raw flesh and have to drink his blood. But heres the big difference,
when it was explained that their not only getting a little 'piece' of Jesus but his entire
body and blood soul and divinity of Jesus and that the holy spirit was going to make
sure that they each receive all of Jesus through a tiny blessed host,then their little faces
change to a look of amazement and total belief. They believe that if the bible and
Jesus himself says this is my body and blood then it truely is. If we could all just have
the exceptance and faith of children...............
God bless you all~~~~~~~~`Nichole
What a great way to put it, Nichole.