Bread of Life

BREAD OF LIFE
 this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. (john 6: 50)
The miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him. Jesus Christ celebrated the first Mass with His disciples at the Last Supper, the night before He died. He commanded His disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). The celebration of the Mass then became the main form of worship in the early Church, as a reenactment of the Last Supper, as Christ had commanded. Each and every Mass since commemorates Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross through the Holy Eucharist. Because the Mass “re-presents” (makes present) the sacrifice on Calvary, Catholics all around the world join together to be made present in Christ’s timeless sacrifice for our sins. There is something fascinating about continuing to celebrate the same Mass—instituted by Christ and practiced by the early Church—with the whole community of Catholics around the world…and in heaven.

THE REAL PRESENCE

Why does the Catholic Church believe Christ is really present in the Eucharist?
The Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence is the belief that Jesus Christ is literally, not symbolically, present in the Holy Eucharist—body, blood, soul and divinity. Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist because Jesus tells us this is true in the Bible:

“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. 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?’ So Jesus said to them,

"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 6:48-56
Furthermore, the early Church Fathers either imply or directly state that the bread and wine offered in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is really the body and blood of Jesus Christ. In other words, the doctrine of the Real Presence that Catholics believe today was believed by the earliest Christians 2,000 years ago!

This miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

SALVATION

VI. I Have Been Saved (past event)

Rom. 8:24 - for in this hope we were saved (but, again, why "hope" if salvation is a certainty?)

Eph. 2:5,8 - for by grace you have been saved through faith.

2 Tim. 1:9 - He saved us and called us through grace and not by virtue of our own works outside of His grace.

Titus 3:5 - He saved us in virtue of His own mercy, and not by our deeds.

VII. I Am Being Saved (present event)

1 Cor. 1:18 - for the word of the cross is folly to those perishing, but for to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. Salvation is not a one-time event. It is a process of perseverance through faith, hope and love.

2 Cor. 2:15 - for we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved. Salvation is a continual process.

Phil. 2:12 - we are working out our salvation through fear and trembling. Salvation is an ongoing process.

1 Peter 1:9 - you obtain the salvation of your souls as the outcome of your faith. Working out our salvation in fear and trembling is a lifelong process.

VIII. I Will Be Saved (future event)

Matt. 10:22, 24:13; Mark 13:13 - again, Jesus taught that we must endure to the very end to be saved. Salvation is a past, present and future event (not a one-time event at an altar call).

Mark 16:16 – Jesus says whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.

Acts 15:11 - we believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus.

Rom. 5:9-10 - since we are justified by His blood, we shall be saved.

Rom. 13:11 - salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. How can we be only nearer to something we already have?

1 Cor. 3:15 - he will be saved, but only as through fire.

1 Cor. 5:5 - Paul commands the Church to deliver a man to satan, that he will be saved in the day of the Lord.

2 Tim. 2:11-12 - if we endure, we shall also reign with Him. This requires endurance until the end of our lives.

Heb. 9:28 - Jesus will appear a second time to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him.

James 5:15 - the sacrament of the sick will save the sick man and the Lord will raise him up.

IX. I Save (by participating in Christ's salvific work)

Rom. 11:13-14 - I magnify my ministry to make the Jews jealous and thus save some of them. Paul says that he is the one doing the saving, but he really means that he participates in Christ's work of salvation.

1 Cor. 7:16 - Paul indicates that a wife can save her husband and vice versa. We are lesser mediators in Christ's salvific work.

1 Cor. 9:22 - Paul says he has become all things to men that he might save some. Only God saves, but His children participate in their salvation.

1 Tim. 4:16 - you will save both yourself and your hearers. Christ is the only Savior, but He wants us to participate, for we are members of His body.

James 5:20 - whoever brings back a sinner will save his soul from death. We are saviors in the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jude 22-23 - we are instructed to save some people, by snatching them out of the fire. We participate in our salvation and in the salvation of others.

Prov. 16:6 - by love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for. We can participate in Christ's atonement through our love and faith.

Monday, April 17, 2017

WHERE TO FIND RESURRECTION

Something there is that needs a crucifixion. Everything that’s good eventually gets scapegoated and crucified. How? By that curious, perverse dictate somehow innate within human life that assures that there’s always someone or something that cannot leave well enough alone, but, for reasons of its own, must hunt down and lash out at what’s good.

What’s good, what’s of God, will always at some point be misunderstood, envied, hated, pursued, falsely accused, and eventually nailed to some cross. Every body of Christ inevitably suffers the same fate as Jesus: death through misunderstanding, ignorance, and jealousy.

But there’s a flipside as well: Resurrection always eventually trumps crucifixion. What’s good eventually triumphs. Thus, while nothing that’s of God will avoid crucifixion, no body of Christ stays in the tomb for long.

God always rolls back the stone and, soon enough, new life bursts forth and we see why that original life had to be crucified. (“Wasn’t it necessary that the Christ should so have to suffer and die?”) Resurrection invariably follows crucifixion. Every crucified body will rise again. Our hope takes its root in that.

But how does this happen? Where do we see the resurrection? How do we experience resurrection after a crucifixion? Scripture is subtle, though clear, on this. Where can we expect to experience resurrection? The gospel tell us that, on the morning of the resurrection, the women-followers of Jesus set out for the tomb of Jesus, carrying spices, expecting to anoint and embalm a dead body.

Well-intentioned but misguided, what they find is not a dead body, but an empty tomb and an angel challenging them with these words: “Why are you looking for the living among the dead? Go instead into Galilee and you will find him there!”

Go instead into Galilee. Why Galilee? What’s Galilee? And how do we get there?

In the gospels, Galilee is not simply a geographical location, a place on a map. It is first of all a place in the heart. As well, Galilee refers to the dream and to the road of discipleship that the disciples once walked with Jesus and to that place and time when their hearts most burned with hope and enthusiasm.

And now, after the crucifixion, just when they feel that the dream is dead, that their faith is only fantasy, they are told to go back to the place where it all began: “Go back to Galilee. He will meet you there!”

And they do go back to Galilee, both to the geographical location and to that special place in their hearts where once burned the dream of discipleship. And just as promised, Jesus appears to them. He doesn’t appear exactly as he was before, or as frequently as they would like him to, but he does appear as more than a ghost and a memory.

The Christ that appears to them after the resurrection is in a different modality, but he’s physical enough to eat fish in their presence, real enough to be touched as a human being, and powerful enough to change their lives forever.

Ultimately that’s what the resurrection asks us to do: To go back to Galilee, to return to the dream, hope, and discipleship that had once inflamed us but has now been lost through disillusionment.

This parallels what happens on the road to Emmaus in Luke’s gospel, where we are told that on the day of the resurrection, two disciples were walking away from Jerusalem towards Emmaus, with their faces downcast.

An entire spirituality could be unpackaged from that simple line: For Luke, Jerusalem means the dream, the hope, and the religious centre from which all is to begin and where ultimately, all is to culminate. And the disciples are “walking away” from this place, away from their d

Since their dream has been crucified, the disciples are understandably discouraged and are walking away from it, towards some human solace, despairing in their hope: “But we had hoped!”

They never get to Emmaus. Jesus appears to them on the road, reshapes their hope in the light of their disillusionment, and turns them back towards Jerusalem.

That is one of the essential messages of Easter: Whenever we are discouraged in our faith, whenever our hopes seem to be crucified, we need to go back to Galilee and Jerusalem, that is, back to the dream and the road of discipleship that we had embarked upon before things went wrong. The temptation of course, whenever the kingdom doesn’t seem to work, is to abandon discipleship for human consolation, to head off instead for Emmaus, for the consolation of Las Vegas or Monte Carlo.
But, as we know, we never quite get to Las Vegas or Monte Carlo. In one guise or another, Christ always meets us on the road to those places, burns holes in our hearts, explains our latest crucifixion to us, and sends us back – and to our abandoned discipleship. Once there, it all makes sense again.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

THE POISON OF CYNICISM

By Alice von Hildebrand

It is hardly conceivable that one, having lived in this imperfect world of ours, could say of his death bed: “In my whole life, I have never heard a remark that was either unkind or offensive.”

Alas, most of us will acknowledge that they have often been wounded by nasty and unkind words, thrown at their face, at times, for no reason at all.

It would be sheer naiveté ever to forget that we are living in a world of sinners (with the one exception of the Holy Virgin), and that inevitably people having an “unbaptized” tongue will say things that afflict others.

St. James has warned us: “If anyone thinks that he is religious and does not bridle his tongue…this man’s religion is vain.” (James 1:26)
How is one to respond to these aggravations, sometimes viciously aiming at wounding us?

Let me briefly mention the classical response given by saints – not forgetting that holiness does not make one “insensitive,” but does shield these beloved children of God from giving the “wrong” response which most of us are tempted to give: such as “tooth for tooth” which often degenerates to “teeth for tooth.” How tempting is the sweet taste of revenge!

Many are those who claim that to love the offender is not only against “nature,” but also against the elementary laws of justice. Was it not Confucius who said: “If you love your enemies, what is left for your friends?”

The saint will not only forgive the person who shot these poisonous “arrows” at him, but will “love his enemy, and pray for those who persecute him.” He will also look for excuses to decrease the culpability of the offender. One thing is certain: a saint will neither nurse a grudge nor “bite back”; moreover he will not, with God’s grace, feel “dispensed” from loving his neighbor.
Not only is it not easy to become a saint. It is plainly impossible without divine help. “Without me, you can do nothing” is something that those striving for holiness should daily meditate on.

Let us now briefly mention the responses that the “average” man (that is most of us) is likely to give. How tempting to label as “wicked” or “evil” those who wound up and declare the offender to be unworthy of either forgiveness, let alone love.

Someone betrayed by a “friend” will probably cynically redefine friendship as a bond “valid” as long as the so-called friend may use you as a tool for his personal advantage.

But once he no longer “needs” you, having squeezed the lemon, he will discard the rind. Moreover, how many people wish to be burdened with friend who is bankrupt and desperately in need of financial help?

It is tragically true that the “defeated” person is “usually” abandoned by all. This was tragically formulated by Horace. “Donec eris felix…multos numerabis amicos….Tempora si fuerunt nubile, solus eris” – Whereas a successful man has innumerable friends, most of them being sycophants, a man in distress is, alas, often a lonesome man.

A disappointed man might tell you that true friendship might be found in some pieces of literature, but never in real life. On the other hand, those of us blessed with true friends – for they do exist – ought to wake up in the morning and go to bed at night with the word “thank you” on their lips.

But those who have been disappointed or wounded are likely to fall into the temptation of assuming: “No one is worthy of love, not a single one; only simpletons can fall into the trap of trusting others. They are either near sighted or plainly stupid.” A cynic is liberated once and for all from the “burden” of admiring anyone, or looking up to anyone as a model!

Nevertheless among these “defeatists”, there is a gamut of possibilities. Some of them, acknowledging defeat, will withdraw from a world of illusion, lies and betrayals and will escape into the “desert”. This was the choice made by Moliere’s hero: Alceste in the Misanthrope.

The girl he loved having refused to join him in this seclusion, gives the final blow to his already wounded soul.

Others choose to remain in this evil world, convinced that they have the mission to open people’s eyes to its viciousness. Their favored tool is the wounding knife of cynicism. “Oh! Sweet revenge.”

What is striking about their attitude is that they definitely seem to enjoy their role as “seers,” that is, superior people blessed with a sharp eye sight, people who can smell evil from far away. In other words, they are the clever ones; they pride themselves of their talents as “detectives of evil,” and enjoy their superior intellectual vision.

They will, on principle, reject any argument or even proof that their “wisdom” is flawed and poisoned by an unhealthy self-assurance. “I am always right; I see what I see.”

Literature generously gives us priceless information on this topic. Not surprisingly, the richest field for cynical remarks are women, love, marriage, faithfulness, religion. Let us not forget, however that bad marriages often make the headlines; very happy ones “treasure” their happiness in the secrecy of their home.

Marriage is an ideal field because many enter into it assuming that, like all fairy tales, it will end with the words: “they were happy forever after.” Let us not forget, however, that some of the greatest poets (Dante comes to mind) have found admirable words to sing the praise of their “dame.” Petrarch dedicated a sublime canto to the encomium of Laura who – alone in his eyes – deserved to be called a Woman: “che sola a me par donna.”

That is, incarnating as she does, the plenitude of all female virtues, she alone is worthy to be called “lady.” But many are the writers who – disappointed in marriage – revel in opening our eyes to its false promises and its dangerous appeal. There is such a thing as “literary revenge.”

French writers are particularly talented at making cynical remarks: the sharp Latin mind is quick at detecting flaws in others.

A couple of examples will illustrate this. According to Alexis Piron marriage has only two good days: the entrance and the exit (this is not a quote – p. 172. Most of the cynical remarks that I use are taken from French Quotations by Norbert Guterman, Double Day – sometimes using my own translation).

The following one is just as cynical. A husband visits the tomb of his deceased wife, and meditates on the fact that “there she lies” reveling in her peace and in mine. (Jacques de Lorens, p. 68)

Vauvenargues’ words are loaded with cynicism. He writes: “We feel nothing more sharply than the loss of the woman we love, nor for a shorter time.” (N.G.) He is trying to convince us that “faithfulness” is nothing but an appearance soon denied by facts. How refreshing by comparison to recall the words of Kierkegaard that the test of true faithfulness is our relation to the dead.

In this light of these remarks, we can measure the harm that can be done by cynical literature; and how a young person feeding on it can enter life already “blasé” and disappointed. Yet one great true love should suffice to re-open for us the gates of hope.

Is this “light of hope” often offered in contemporary education and contemporary literature? Are we not living in a decadent society where many of us have lost what Dante beautifully calls: “la speranza dell’altezza.”

How many of our contemporaries having given up the bright light of faith, live like moles in a dark den, convinced that this earth is to be “enjoyed” in any way one pleases, and then when the game is over, gratefully greet assisted suicide.

Montaigne clearly deserves a special place in our list of famous cynics. Speaking about marriage, he compares it to an aviary: the birds inside the cage desperately wishing to get out; those outside, desperately wishing to get in. (p 50) In other words, once you have “tasted” how bitter-sweet the marriage bond is, understandably your one great wish is to regain your freedom.

As these cynical arrows being mostly shot by men, it is inevitable that they aim at flagellating the female sex. It is always tempting – starting from Genesis – to put the fault on the “other”, be it a serpent or Eve.

But if all the cynical remarks uttered by women’s tongues had been recorded, I am far from certain that they would not deserve the first prize of eloquence.

Understandably, the male sex, being physically the stronger one, is easily tempted to equate superiority with strength. This is wittily expressed by Alexander Dumas (fils) who tells us that, according to the Bible, the woman was created last. It must have been on Saturday night.

There are clear signs of fatigue. (326) But a witty tongue could remind him that “last” often means better: the final copy comes after the rough draft! The same author is also makes the venomous remark that “the chains of wedlock are so heavy to carry that one needs to be two…and often three.” (ibid)

Every gift of God – and the creation of Eve was one for Adam who gave expression to his joy upon perceiving her – if not “baptized” turns to a terrible caricature. This found its expression in the following words of Paul Valery: “God created man and finding him not sufficiently alone, gave him a female companion to make him feel doubly lonesomeness.” (382)

Alas, this is acknowledged to be a real possibility by the very talented French philosopher, Gabriel Marcel, (see his play: Le Coeur des Autres), it can and does happen that two people linked by the bonds of matrimony, have nothing to say to one another. This sheds light on many cases of matrimonial infidelity.

How tempting it is for a cynical tongue to lash at “virtues.”

“Few virtuous women do not weary of being so.” (N.G.) Once again, we owe this nasty remark to La Rochefoucault. My translation “Few are the virtuous women who do not get tired of their ‘trade.’” (p. 92) The message is clear: some women who have little appeal for the other sex, take refuge in “virtue,” but as soon as there is a flicker of hope the pride of being “virtuous” loses its appeal and collapse.

Once virtue is “vilified”, virginity is bound to follow suit. Not surprisingly we are “indebted” to Voltaire for this gem: “One of the superstitions of the human mind is to suppose that virginity could be a virtue.” (N.G. p. 187)

Should one be surprised that someone who dared write the blasphemous words: “ecrasez l’infame” which have been interpreted by some as being directed to Christ, should shed subtle ridicule one of the most sublime flowers of Christian love?

Various interpretations could be given to these diabolical words; but being given the fact that he was a radical atheist and viewed religion as an evil, it seems legitimate gives credence to this negative interpretation.

It is not difficult to detect the venom hidden in these “witty” words. Similarly it is well known that those afflicted by sexual impotency are likely to denigrate this sphere as dragging man down on a purely animal level. I heard one afflicted by this grave flaw, saying: “this is a domain where animals are man’s role model.”

It is clearly redolent of the witty fable of La Fontaine; a fox unable to reach juicy grapes, proclaimed them to be “unripe.” These words are a cover-up for poorly disguised bitterness and resentment.

Inevitably, God and religion are preferred butts of atheists. Once again Voltaire deserves a “special” place whose poisonous pen in 18th century France has done much harm not only to the Church but also to French society.

In such cases, the word “enlightenment” actually mean that having rejected the blinding light of faith, and like moles chosen to enter into a dark den, proudly lighten the candle of rationalism. The following remark looks “innocent” but is, in fact, loaded with venom. He writes; “If God did not exist, he should be invented.” (p. 180) Clearly man thrives on illusions and should not be deprived of this pleasure!

Baudelaire, however, manages to trump this nasty remark when he writes: “God is the only being who, in order to reign need not even exist.” (N.G. p. 313) Comments are unnecessary.

How very many of us forget that whatever gift God has given us – and being a talented writer is one – should be put at His service. Clearly the Evil one aims at having these gifts put at his service through by pride, ambition, and hunger for fast fame.

How often do educators tell children that whatever gift they have should be put at God’s service? This should give them food for thought.

Alice von Hildebrand is a lecturer and an author, whose works include: The Privilege of Being a Woman (2002) and The Soul of a Lion: The Life of Dietrich von Hildebrand (2000), a biography of her late husband. She was made a Dame Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of St. Gregory by Pope Francis in 2013.

Monday, March 27, 2017

SPIRITUAL GROWTH

If we want to grow in our spiritual lives we must do the following:

Truly participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:

Many people attend Mass in a distracted frame of mind. Yet in the Mass we encounter Christ in a unique and unsurpassable way. We must be fully present and prepared. We should not rush into Church thinking of a thousand things.

We must enter Church filled with joy and gratitude, knowing that we go to meet our great love. Our time at Mass should be suffused with prayer.

It should also be filled with anticipation, for during Communion Christ comes to us and lives with us and offers us infinite love. After Mass we should linger before the tabernacle filled with thanksgiving for what we have so graciously been given.

Take advantage of confession:

Sinfulness is part of the human condition — one that separates us from Christ. Christ offers us a way to put our sins behind us and to experience once again his loving embrace through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

What possible reason can there be for ignoring this? If we stay in our sins we push Christ away from us and we have no hope of growing in the spiritual life. Our sins should weigh heavily on us; we should yearn for confession, which offers us Christ again.
Learn to love our Blessed Mother:

Through Mary we meet Christ; through Mary’s prayers we are brought closer to Christ. The Blessed Mother is our mother. She should be our constant companion in the spiritual life.

Develop a life of prayer:

Every moment is an opportunity for prayer. How often do we take advantage of these opportunities? Read Father Groeschel’s book Praying Constantly: Bringing Your Faith to Life.

Here Father Groeschel shows that prayer can pervade our lives, that it can come in many different and unexpected forms, that we never have to be far from a moment of prayer. Each time we pray we draw closer to God. Every moment of prayer, whether it involves the Rosary or the Liturgy of the Hours or simply a few spontaneous words of our own is a conversation with Christ.

Encounter Christ in the Scriptures:

Reading the Scriptures meditatively can be of enormous help in coming to know Christ. Here we find his earthly words, his actions. Here we see again and again his enormous love for us, his great sacrifice for us. Through the Scriptures we come to know Our Lord in a deeper and deeper way and thus our relationship with him grows.

Learn from those who came before us:

The Church has canonized innumerable saints. These are our examples. They have walked the road of holiness, and their lives show us the many ways that closeness with Christ can be achieved. We must learn about the saints; we must study their lives, read their writings and pray for their intercession.

Improve our relationship with others:

Spiritual growth transforms the outer life. There are some people who pray regularly, who go to Mass nearly every day, who are punctilious about every religious rule and regulation. At the same time they are indifferent to the needs of others. At times they may even be cruel. This is a tragic failure. Their relationship with Christ is damaged.

Perhaps they only believe it exists. When we are in real relationship with Christ, we come to see that each human being is created in the divine image and is of infinite value. To grow in the spiritual life is to grow in the love of others — to find Christ in them and to serve Christ in them.
These are only a few of the most obvious ways for a Catholic to deepen his spiritual life, yet many of them are not thought to be very important today. For the Catholic they are essential. Your spiritual life is not truly Catholic if such things do not play a large part in it.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

UNDERSTANDING CHRIST'S TEMPTATION

After John the Baptist baptized Jesus, the Christ was called into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit where He humbled Himself so profoundly that in the company of wild beasts and beleaguered by ravenous hunger after a forty day fast, 
He suffered the devil’s temptations. Jesus’ reasons for doing this on our behalf are many concerning the economy of Salvation, but let us recognize at the least that this unmerited act of mercy is vital component of the Gospel message. Fr. Gerald Vann instructs us, “in its symbolism we can see represented the whole life and ministry of Jesus.” 
Indeed, Christ’s temptation in the wilderness is worthy of arduous study and has been a prominent subject of Biblical exegesis from the early Church until the present.
Many important questions surround Christ’s temptation, like why was Jesus thrust into the wilderness for forty days immediately after His baptism? Were there really wild beasts around Him? Was he really tempted? What were His temptations like? 
Were they internal and mental or external and physical? What are we supposed to learn from Christ’s temptation? Did Satan know that Jesus was the Christ? Or did he think he was an ordinary man? 
After reading about Christ’s temptation in all three synoptic Gospels, these questions and many more rise for consideration. However, modern Biblical exegesis has brought a new question into the arena of Scripture study that must be answered before we can consider any other questions: “Did the temptation of Christ actually happen?” 
In concrete historical terms, did Jesus Christ confront temptation in the wilderness at the bidding of Satan himself? If we answer this in the negative, there is really nothing more to discuss.

Did the Temptation of Christ Really Happen?

Modern Biblical exegesis has been evolving for centuries. The twentieth century saw the solidification of many new methods of Biblical exegesis coalesce under the umbrella term “Critical methods for studying the Gospels” illustrated by such fields as historical criticism, textual criticism, form criticism, source criticism, literary criticism, redaction criticism, and many other types of criticism besides. 
The one thing they all have in common is that they are reductive and oriented to inductive reasoning. To describe only one example, form criticism is an exegetical method that takes pieces of scripture broken down into units and categorizes them according to literary pattern and then tries to trace each unit to its time of oral transmission.
These modern methods of Biblical criticism have swept across the world and are perhaps most popularly typified by Albert Schweitzer’s quest for the historical Jesus. Their questions and conclusions hinge on the historical record accompanied by textual analysis. 
New times ushered in this new thinking as historical, form, text and redaction criticism gained ever more purchase on the imaginations of academic theologians. One of the most prominent new exegetes of the twentieth century was Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976). 
Bultmann was a German Evangelical Protestant minister. In 1921, he published the book The History of the Synoptic Tradition. He was one of four German protestant Biblical scholars to introduce form-criticism of the New Testament.
Bultmann ended up calling for the demythologizing of the New Testament. He almost completely eliminated the historicity of most of the events conveyed by Mathew, Mark, and Luke. 
As the protestant Biblical scholar Craig Blomberg writes in Jesus and the Gospels, “many proponents of the “historical critical method” have defined it to included three quite skeptical principles of the nineteenth century philosopher Ernst Troeltsch: (1) methodical doubt,: where by one is suspicious of any historical narrative unless strong corroborations evidence is found to support its claims,” (2) the use of analogy, and (3) the principle of correlation.
Bultmann ended his historical Jesus quest concluding that we can know little more about Jesus other than that he did exist, that he may have been crucified and that a few of the sayings he uttered are in fact attributable to him. Bultmann along with G. Bornkamm, W. Grundmann and most academic historical critical exegetes deny the historicity of the Temptation.
It is important to remember that empirical methods can never yield certainty, despite the exaggerated importance attributed to the material sciences in this age. Coming to the truths about the Faith are not well approached by modern methods grounded in the anti-faith principle of skepticism. 
These new exegetes contradict nearly two thousand years of Church tradition and teaching with very little substantive content. Perhaps, however, it is important to answer the questions of whether or the temptation actually took place in history. If sacred scripture is the word of God, and it is written that it happened, then either it happened or the Bible is false. We cannot have it both ways.

The Church Answers

There is no doubt in the mind of Holy Mother Church that in fact Christ was tempted, in real temporal terms and as a historical fact. There is hardly a great Church father from Irenaeus, Tertullian, Chrysostom, Ambrose, Augustine, Justin, Jerome, Gregory the Great, and too many more to name who do not discuss the events of the temptation as greatly significant and obviously real. 
First as the redemption and fulfillment of the first Adam who fell when faced with his temptation and then as a foreshadowing of Christ’s passion and finally as a guide for us from the perfect teacher on the temptations the faithful will have to face as we observe that the fullness of time unfolds the events of Salvation History. 
Not one of these faithful and monumental saints have ever uttered a word against the historicity of Christ’s temptations, or any other divinely inspired Gospel accounting. In all cases, their treatments of the topic assume its veracity and importance so emphatically as to render the question moot, not to mention an offense against the authority and integrity of The Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Universal Church Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas treats of the temptation in his masterpiece the Summa Theologica in part III, question 41 On Christ’s Temptation. It is worth noting that the fact that St. Thomas Aquinas comments on Christ’s temptations signals his assent to their veracity. 
He first answers the question about whether or not it “was becoming that Christ should be Tempted?” He goes on to consider the role of the desert in Christ’s temptation. After that he considers the time of the temptation and finally he considers the mode and order of the temptation. 
The nature and seriousness of St. Thomas’ work ought to signal clearly that the first assumption upon which this consideration is grounded is that it in fact a historical reality that our Christ was tempted in the wilderness.
St. Thomas Aquinas would hardly have considered the temptation a topic worth memorializing or contemplating had it never happened. If we conclude with the modern exegete that the temptation did not happen, then we must also necessarily say that St. Thomas Aquinas’ work on this matter was done in vain. 
A cursory glance at their respective conclusions at the end of their lives speaks volumes- Bultmann ended in denying everything mystical about Christ and St. Thomas Aquinas, having been gifted the Beatific Vision, could no longer suffer the mundane, even his own inspired writing projects.

Choose Holy Mother Church

There is a modern divide in this age between academia and faithful theologians. The proper use of the will and intellect as they correspond to faith and reason are intended to be, as Pope St. John Paul II said at the outset in his vital encyclical Fides et Ratio “like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.” 
Pope St. John Paul II squarely identifies our greatest difficulty today, we no longer know the truth about ourselves, and this has dramatically affected our teaching class.
Over the centuries, since the advent of nominalism, we have gradually cut ourselves off from the transcendent aspects of our existence. We are left in this age with a misunderstanding of the Christian anthropology. 
The manifestation of the modern moral and intellectual errors in the Ivory Tower is that intellect and will have been excised from academic considerations. Inductive reasoning has replaced the first principles of deductive reasoning and speculative philosophy. 
Scientific reductionism has reduced previously intellectual considerations like theology, philosophy and the humanities to reductive social sciences that embody the Enlightenment trope that “man is the measure of all things.”
Ironically, it requires a much bigger act of faith to believe Christ didn’t actually face temptation as it is written because the only source is a single miniscule mind who asserts skepticism as a thing that is true. 
In this Dark Age we ought to reject the primacy of the historical critical method and suggest that the faithful subordinate these methods to the lowest level of exegetical importance where they belong. 
Let us reject the conclusions which are not in accord with the Tradition and Teaching of Holy Mother Church. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who died on the Cross for us, did in fact face the temptations in the desert from Satan, and He did so for us!
It has been the position of the Church from the beginning that historically, Christ was in fact tempted, in real terms and as an artifact of His earthly mission. To side against Holy Mother Church, the Church Fathers, Doctors and Saints is a bold arrogation to be in possession of knowledge that is impossible to acquire. 
If we side with Scripture as the inerrant word of God as expounded by the Magisterium that Christ was in fact tempted by Satan in the wilderness, then we can move on with confidence to examine other interesting questions concerning the nature of temptation and our duties in the spiritual combat. 
Let us ignore the cant coming from the world and embrace the marvels of revelation conveyed by the gifts of the Holy Spirit to all souls of good will.