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.


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.

Monday, April 12, 2010


The Rev. Henry Willenborg, a Roman Catholic priest in Quincy, Ill., in 1987 performing the baptism of his son, Nathan.

Is religion a force for good or a force for bad?

"True religion is real living; living with all one's soul, with all one's goodness and righteousness."

- Albert Einstein

We could well ask are human beings good or bad? Like many things, religion is what we make of it. We can take religious principles to help become a better, more peaceful, more compassionate person. At the same time, we can use religion as a self-justification for our own ego, our own pride and use religion as a false justification to wage war in the name of some divine ideology.

"Common men talk bagfuls of religion but do not practise even a grain of it. The wise man speaks a little, even though his whole life is religion expressed in action."

- Sri Ramakrishna

It is true, that there is no religion that has not been misused by its own adherents. But, it is also true, that there is no religion that has not provided an inspiration for people to live a more divine life.

What is the Essence of Religion?
"The essential thing in religion is making the heart pure; the Kingdom of Heaven is within us, but only the pure in heart can see the King. "

- Swami Vivekananda

If we look at different religions, the inner message is to become better people, to cultivate a greater love of God and offer good will to our neighbours. If we look at the outer aspect of religion, we will see imperfections and mistakes in all religions. But, at the same time, if we live the inner reality of religion, we only see a common thread of divine oneness.

Does Religion Create War?

"The pious sectarian is proud because he is confident of his right of possession in God. The man of devotion is meek because he is conscious of God's right of love over his life and soul."

- Rabindranath Tagore

Religion creates war, when people focus on the outer manifestation and pride of religious affiliation. Quite often people have come to the conclusion that only their religion is right, and other interpretations are wrong. Not only do people think that their religion alone is right. But, so grievously wrong are different forms of religion that this justifies any means to convert people to their religion.

"All fanaticism is false, because it is a contradiction of the very nature of God and of Truth. Truth cannot be shut up in a single book, Bible or Veda or Koran, or in a single religion. The Divine Being is eternal and universal and infinite and cannot be the sole property of the Mussulmans or of the Semitic religions only, "

- Sri Aurobindo

The irony of this belief is that often religious confrontation is usually between religions which have many things in common, but, differ on some particular interpretation of a teaching ideology.

The religious disputes between Catholicism and Protestantism are one example. Sharing the same holy book, the same Prophet - Jesus Christ, there was yet a violent disagreement about interpretations of the message of Jesus and the message of the Bible. In the name of religious purity, many were killed, tortured and burnt at the stake - all in a bid to rid heresy and establish the One true religion.
Was this the intention of a prophet like Jesus Christ - to have a vicious fight to establish a certain interpretation of his teachings?

If we don't get bogged down in dogma, we cannot fail to appreciate the overriding message of Jesus Christ - which was a message of love and forgiveness. - To love your neighbour, - even your enemy. To love God, and to forego the pleasures and vanity of the world to seek the kingdom of heaven within.

In bitter religious disputes, we see the failure of its adherents to understand the essential aspect of their own religion. They ignore the Divine consciousness and become obsessed with a meaningless outer dispute over outer forms.

Fortunately, we have examples of religious people who come to embody and manifest the essence of religious experience. These God-intoxicated saints, do not spread a message of hatred, supremacy or need to quibble other theological dogma. They are characterised by their purity, compassion and good will to all. This shows religion can be a force for good, if we only live it in a divine way.

We could say, there is a human religion which is based on human egoism, human pride and the desire to assert ones supremacy. This human religion may claim adherence to divine ideas, but, actually the religion is nothing but a smokescreen for their own human foibles.

The divine religion quietly offers the experience of oneness, divine love and peace amongst men. The divine religion has nothing to do with hatred, supremacy or theological dispute. It only seeks to bring the divine consciousness into man. - a consciousness that can only uplift the world.


1 comment:

daveg4g said...

The Inquisition
Sooner or later, any discussion of apologetics with Fundamentalists will address the Inquisition. To non-Catholics it is a scandal; to Catholics, an embarrassment; to both, a confusion.

It is a handy stick for Catholic-bashing, simply because most Catholics seem at a loss for a sensible reply. This tract will set the record straight.

There have actually been several different inquisitions. The first was established in 1184 in southern France as a response to the Catharist heresy.

This was known as the Medieval Inquisition, and it was phased out as Catharism disappeared.

Quite separate was the Roman Inquisition, begun in 1542. It was the least active and most benign of the three variations.

Separate again was the infamous Spanish Inquisition, started in 1478, a state institution used to identify conversos—Jews and Moors (Muslims) who pretended to convert to Christianity for purposes of political or social advantage and secretly practiced their former religion.

More importantly, its job was also to clear the good names of many people who were falsely accused of being heretics.

It was the Spanish Inquisition that, at least in the popular imagination, had the worst record of fulfilling these duties.

The various inquisitions stretched through the better part of a millennia, and can collectively be called "the Inquisition."