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, June 14, 2010


Purgatory is one of the most misunderstood doctrines of the Church, and Catholic apologists should always be prepared to explain and defend the teaching. In virtually all cases it will be necessary to explain what the doctrine of purgatory actually is – as very few non-Catholics truly understand the teaching. The importance of explaining the Catholic teaching on a particular matter is always great, but never more so than with purgatory.

Oh, I believe in THAT!

One of the most significant and important facts about the doctrine of purgatory is that a lot of non-Catholics actually hold to a belief which – when examined – is identical or compatible with the Catholic Church's teaching on purgatory. A number of prominent non-Catholics have also held to beliefs which, when examined, are entirely compatible with the genuine doctrine of purgatory as held by the Church.

But II Maccabees isn't canon!

The staunchest defense of the doctrine of purgatory is found in II Maccabees 12:44-46 where prayers are offered for the dead (and even a collection is taken up to pay for a temple service). Many non-Catholics, however, will reject this Scripture because they do not think it is canon – the Catholic apologist must first show that this book of the Bible is, in fact, canonical .

Other Scriptural support

II Maccabees is not the only book of the Bible that supports the Catholic doctrine of purgatory. It is made very clear in multiple verses that we are to be perfect in order to get into Heaven – Jesus tells us to be perfect in Matthew 5:48 , and Hebrews 12:14 and Revelation 21:27 make it clear that “nothing unclean shall enter Heaven”. James 3:2 makes it clear that we have all sinned, and so that we cannot be considered “perfect”. How, therefore, can we ever see Heaven?

I John 5:16-17 distinguishes between mortal and venial sin , and James 1:14-15 says that “mature” sin leads to death. But what about the sins which do not cause death? Or sins which are forgiven? How are we to be made perfect in order to enter Heaven if we have these lesser sins on our souls?

II Samuel makes it clear that David was punished for sin even though he had been forgiven – a temporal punishment remained which had to be paid. Matthew 5:26 describes how people will not be released “until they have paid the last penny”, and in Matthew 12:36 people will account for every idle word on judgment day. Does “account” mean that it will simply be looked at, we will be judged to be imperfect, but let into Heaven anyway?

I Corinthians 3:15 answers this very clearly for us – this says that we will suffer loss (of our sinfulness) but we will be saved – as through fire. This is purgatory – the idea that our sinfulness will be burnt away and we will be made pure.

Matthew 12:32 says that sins against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in this age or the next; what is this next age where sins can be forgiven? Sins are not forgiven in Hell, and do not need to be forgiven in Heaven (as everyone there is perfect) – so there must be a third place where sins can be forgiven. Obviously, a sin against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven as it is so serious – it is clearly a mortal sin .

In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16 the rich man has compassion for his brothers and is in a place of torment; there is no torment in Heaven and there is no compassion in Hell. This man must be in purgatory – or Jesus is telling a parable which gives us inaccurate information about Heaven or Hell.

Finally, we see that Paul prays for his dead friend in II Timothy 1:16-18 – why would he pray for him if he were in Heaven or Hell? What good would his prayers do? His prayers only make sense if there is purgatory.

Indulgences & Confession

The doctrine of purgatory is intimately connected with the teaching on indulgences and confession- a Catholic apologist should consult the relevant articles.

1 comment:

daveg4g said...


Jesus said to his disciples:

“You have heard that it was said,

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.

When someone strikes you on your right cheek,

turn the other one to him as well.

If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,

hand him your cloak as well.

Should anyone press you into service for one mile,

go with him for two miles.

Give to the one who asks of you,

and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.”
(Matthew 5:38-42)