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.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

SALVATION - ARE YOU SAVED?

By Katrina J. Zeno

Everyone knows this is an important question—so how should Catholics answer it?

Many Catholics just don’t know what to say when someone asks them whether they are saved. However, there’s really no reason to be confused, because the Catholic understanding of salvation in Christ gives the perfect answer, and Katrina Zeno is here to explain it.

As Catholics, we’re vaguely familiar with "saved" language. We don’t usually ask someone, "Are you saved?" and when someone asks us this question, we often stutter and fumble for an answer. So how should we answer: "Are you saved?" Constantly.

We are constantly being saved by the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Why? Because salvation is dynamic, ongoing. It’s a past, present, and future reality. Let me explain.
Salvation is a past reality: We have been saved by the death of Jesus Christ. While we were still sinners, Jesus’ death canceled the bond that stood against us (Col. 2:14). In other words, the guilt of original sin has been wiped away. God pardoned our sins. But being pardoned isn’t the same as being holy.

Being pardoned gives us back our freedom to choose the road to holiness, to walk the narrow path. Right now, today, we are being saved. Grace is wooing us down the narrow path. We are becoming holy. Salvation is an ongoing event.

We can easily verify salvation as an ongoing event—just look at the world around us. If salvation was a past event, then Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul II would be a dime a dozen. Instead, they shine like stars in the darkness. The world is a cultural and spiritual battleground—a collision between the culture of life and the culture of death.

This, however, is nothing new. St. Paul described man’s predicament in these terms: "What happens is that I do, not the good I will to do, but the evil I do not intend. But if I do what is against my will, it is not I who do it, but sin which dwells in me" (Rom 7:19-20).

Whether you’re St. Paul, Pope John Paul II, or living in St. Paul, the reality is the same: We are being saved because grace has not yet fully transformed every area of our mind, emotions, desires, and will into the mind, emotions, desires, and will of Christ.

And when this transformation takes place, what will we be? The body of Christ. We will be one with Christ. Too often we think of salvation in terms of what we’re saved from. It’s absolutely critical to be saved from hell, damnation, and the stain of original sin, but what are we saved for?

This is the ultimate question and the reason why salvation is a present and future reality. We are saved for union with Christ. Or, to put it in more poetic terms, we are saved so that the two may become one.

Wow, what a completely different view of salvation! Salvation is not only a legal event where the guilty prisoner is set free (hallelujah!), but a nuptial event—the two becoming one. God and man becoming one.

God and I becoming one.

If this is true—if salvation means the two becoming one—then our view of what "saves" us needs to back up. Scripture is quite clear that we are saved by the cross of Christ, but what makes the cross possible? It is the Incarnation, God and man becoming one in the person of Jesus Christ. The Incarnation is the supreme nuptial event of salvation history and, therefore, it reveals what we are saved for—the two becoming one.

This nuptial re-union of each person and God is only one dimension of salvation. The two becoming one also extends to the body and the spirit, to each person and his neighbor, to nation and nation. Salvation is a multi-layered affair because sin was a multi-layered affair.

Original sin not only ruptured man’s relationship with God (being cast out of the Garden), but it also ruptured Adam and Eve’s relationship with each other and creation, and their inner harmony of body and spirit (i.e., St. Paul’s lament).

Nuptial salvation, then, cannot simply mean being saved from God’s wrath or punishment. Nuptial salvation is the freedom to become successively and ever more profoundly one with the Trinity. It is the re-marriage of body and soul in love and harmony. It is the wedding of social and economic systems with Christ so as to restore human dignity and create "one new man from us who had been two" (Eph 2:15).

Finally, salvation is a future event. After the veil of this life is ripped in two, we shall be fully liberated to become one, but not all at once. In God’s mysterious and progressive plan, our nuptial salvation is completed only with the resurrection of the body.

It is then that body and soul will return to perfect unity, and in this perfect unity, we will enter into perfect unity with the Trinity. The two will truly and definitively become one—body and soul, God and man, man and neighbor.

Then, when we confront that old question: "Are you saved?" we can answer "Finally!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was saved, I am saved and I am being saved.Yes, but only GOD knows who they are.