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.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Protestants derive their religion from a mere reading of the Bible which they interpret according to their own private judgment. Catholics derive their doctrines from the Church which propounds to them infallibly the teachings of the Bible and of Tradition.

Which of these two formulas is supported by the Bible itself and by the facts of history, and which consequently is correct?

The Bible makes it clear that Christ established the Church as a teaching organization to speak to the world in His name and with His authority. The Church was to teach men whatsoever He had taught - nothing more and nothing less: "All power is given to Me in heaven and earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:18-20).

Christ placed on all men the obligation of hearing His Church as they would hear Himself: "He that heareth you, heareth Me" (Luke 10:16); "Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned" (Mark 16:15-16). He promised to be with the Church and guide it until the end of time: "And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world" (Matthew 28:20). He sent the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of infallible truth, upon the Apostles and their successors in order that they might be illumined and assisted in the work of continuing the teaching mission of God's own Son.

Our Lord Himself wrote nothing. He commanded the Apostles not to write but to teach and preach: "Going, therefore, teach all nations" and "preach the Gospel to every creature." Christ's disciples and the Christians were commanded to hear the Church, not to read the still nonexistent or at best incomplete New Testament Scriptures: "He who hears you, hears Me."

The teaching Church was in existence long before a single line of the New Testament was written. The Apostles evangelized different peoples, not by presenting to them a copy of the New Testament which did not as yet exist, but by preaching the Gospel, the oral message of Christ to them. Thousands of men became Christians and adhered to the whole truth of God before they saw or read a single book of the New Testament.
It was the leaders of the existing teaching Church who wrote the books of the New Testament. It was the Church which collected and preserved these books, and distinguished them from spurious books which might have otherwise found their way into the Bible. It was from the Catholic church that the Protestants of the sixteenth century took their Bible and also their belief in its divine inspiration.

How illogical, then, it is for a group to step in fifteen hundred years later, wrest the Bible from its historical and lawful possessor and fosterer, put the Bible in the place of the Church, and pretend to possess a true understanding of the purpose and meaning of the Bible?
The different books of the New Testament were for many centuries scattered in the various Christian communities of the Orient. Being written on papyrus which was fragile and breakable, these books could not be widely circulated and hence were read by a comparatively few groups. It was only in 397 A.D. that the Council of Carthage finally decided which books belong to the Bible, and it was about this time, too, that the books of the Bible were combined into one volume. Yet prior to this, the Church spread rapidly to many lands, converts were received into the Church by the thousands, the faith of the people was so strong that it peopled heaven with countless saints and martyrs.

Before the invention of printing in the sixteenth century, copies of the Bible written by hand were so rare and costly that only the rich could procure them. To own a Bible during this period was to own a fortune, and in many instances the Bible had to be chained in order to prevent its being stolen. Were the poor, then, during all these centuries, without a religious guide and teacher?

Was God indifferent to the salvation of the countless souls that passed into eternity during these fifteen hundred years? Did not our Lord provide for the salvation of these unnumbered millions, event though they could not procure, or read, or understand the Bible? We are sure that even our non-Catholic brethren would hardly subscribe to these blasphemous conclusions.

Bible Christianity, then, is an invention of the sixteenth century. In the previous centuries it was not only unknown but it was impossible. Bible Christianity is a formal denial of the Catholic Church, of her divine authority and mission to teach all men. It strives to abrogate the Church which Christ instituted, endeavours to substitute in its place a book, and makes the Bible, as interpreted by one's own private judgment, the sole and supreme rule of faith and morality.

That the Bible is not self-explanatory is apparent, for example, from a mere casual reading of any chapter of the Epistle to the Romans or of the Apocalypse. That it is not self-sufficient is evident from the countless commentaries and books on Sacred Scripture. St. Peter himself was aware of certain difficult passages in the Pauline Epistles when he wrote: "Our most dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, hath written to you, as also in all his epistles speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, to their own destruction" (II Peter 3:15-16).

The Bible is a large and ancient book, and no book can be perfectly intelligible to all man and of all times. It was written at first in the Hebrew and Greek languages which today are understood perfectly by only a few. It reflects the customs, habits of thought and conditions of an ancient civilization and was written in part to meet the problems of those times. It contains supernatural truths which transcend the capacity of human reason. These are only a few reasons why the Bible stands in need of an authoritative explanation.

The Bible is not a textbook or a systematic exposition of Christian doctrine. It does not pretend to be a complete statement of Christian teaching. Three of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) are largely three versions of one and the same story. The Pauline Epistles are not doctrinal treatises but letters prompted by the needs of individuals and particularly communities. The thought furthest from the minds of these sacred writers was that their writings should be collected into one volume and considered as a complete statement of Christian theology.

The Bible nowhere states how many of its books are inspired and why. It nowhere teaches the abolition of the Sabbath or the abrogation of the precept prohibiting the eating of blood or things strangled (Acts 15:29). The basic Protestant article that Scripture is the sole rule of faith is not found on its pages. On whose authority, then, do the Protestants accept these doctrines and facts?

1 comment:

Tortoise said...

There was no canon of scripture in the early Church; there was no Bible. The Bible is the book of the Church; she is not the Church of the Bible.

It was the Church--her leadership, faithful people--guided by the authority of the Spirit of Truth which discovered the books inspired by God in their writing.

The Church did not create the canon; she discerned the canon. Fixed canons of the Old and New Testaments, hence the Bible, were not known much before the end of the 2nd and early 3rd century.