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, September 13, 2010


By Darrenn Jackson

Each mystery of rosary is entirely biblical except for the last two mysteries: Mary's Assumption into heaven and her Coronation - or so I previously thought. Here I will show how the Bible actually teaches both, one directly and the other indirectly. All Scripture passages are from the New American Bible.

The Assumption

The Assumption of Mary is a consequence of her Immaculate Conception. Since it's kind of awkward to have the Assumption without the Immaculate Conception, I will thus proceed to briefly show some of the biblical basis for the Immaculate Conception. It should be noted, however that what proceeds is not an in-depth look into, nor a complete defense of, neither the Assumption nor the Immaculate Conception.

What the Catholic Church means by the Immaculate Conception is that Mary, while conceived the ordinary way, was preserved from the stain of original sin by a special grace of God in anticipation of the death of Jesus Christ. Or simply, Mary had to be free of original so she could be the Mother of God and that the grace that preserved her from original sin was from the death of Jesus Christ (but in heaven, where there is no time but one Present.

Jesus is always "The Lamb that seemed to have been slain" described in Revelation 5:6). Mary is a great example of what the Bible means by saying that each one of us is a "vessel" (Romans 9:20-21 and 2 Timothy 2:20-21). These verses also show that God exercises his Lordship over us when he "molds" us, showing that God can indeed intervene on someone's behalf with a special act of grace like in the Immaculate Conception. Is not Mary then the vessel that nurtured and gave birth to Jesus? The question is whether or not Mary had to be pure.

Deuteronomy 23 is a chapter that shows that under the Old Covenant, (which would be in effect until the moment of Christ's death) that in order for a person to enter the synagogue, that person must have the stain of generational sin removed. Even if that person lives a perfectly holy life, that person couldn't enter the synagogue. Would not the same rules apply to Our Lord who, after he ascended into heaven immediately sat down at the right hand of the Father? Let me remind you that nothing unclean shall ever enter into heaven (Revelation 21:27).

How could he do that if He was the first offspring of a mother who was stained with original sin? We know that Jesus' baptism isn't the answer since his baptism was to let all of Israel know that he indeed was the Messiah and to be equipped for His ministry by the Holy Spirit (Christ, of course would be in no need of being baptized for the remission of sins) . John the Baptist in fact knew that he was free from original sin for he said, "I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?" (Matthew 3:14).

Would it not be reasonable, then to conclude that by necessity Mary had to be free from the stain of all sin so that Jesus could be? In other words, would it not make sense to keep a container of food clean so it wouldn't contaminate the food stored in it? Jesus' humanity came from Mary, and we know that Jesus' humanity is perfect.

Secondly, 2 Corinthians 6:14 asks us, "For what partnership do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?" If indeed Mary was conceived in the state of original sin, then it would be difficult to imagine what kind of "fellowship" her relationship with her Son would be.

Now, Mary, being an important instrument in the salvific work of Christ, and being entirely free from sin, would be assumed into heaven because 1) Nothing of course, couldn't enter into heaven that isn't totally clean of sin (Revelation 21:27). Thus, she was entirely ready to enter heaven 2) It is fitting that Mary, like other instruments of God's will would be eventually placed in the holiest place.

For example, the ark of the commandments (which had the Ten Commandments in them) were placed in the Dwelling, were they not (Exodus 40:3)? If you are familiar with your Old Testament you may recall the budding of Aaron's rod (Numbers 17:23) which was a figure of the blessed Virgin conceiving and giving birth to her Son Jesus. What did they do with that rod? They put that too in the Dwelling before the commandments (Numbers 17:25-26). The placing of Aaron's rod in the tabernacle of testimony is a figure of the Assumption. The "Dwelling" is a figure of God's very dwelling, heaven.

The Coronation

Simply put, the Coronation refers to when Mary received from Jesus her Son the crown of Queen of Heaven and of earth because of the vital role she played in the redemption of humanity. This mystery invites us to follow her example by imitating her virtues so we, like her may be with Christ in heaven forever. This took place after the Assumption (discussed later). The biblical witness for the Coronation comes from Psalm 45.

This Psalm is a song for a royal wedding. It also can be telling another story: that of the Coronation. Hebrews 1:8-9 applies Psalm 45:7-8 to Christ. Thus we conclude that this verse can be also interpreted in a spiritual sense. Verse 10 is an allusion to the Coronation, "Daughters of kings are your lovely wives; a princess arrayed in Ophir's gold comes to stand at your right hand." The picture may come in more clearly when we consider the next verse: "Listen, my daughter, and understand; pay me careful heed. Forget your people and your father's house," First, "the princess" is obviously referring to Mary when she "comes" to receive the crown of Queen of Heaven and of earth.

I know what you're about to say: "Mary is a queen and not a princess," and you are right. Let me quote the study note for verse 11 (from the New American Bible), "the bride should no longer consider herself a daughter of her father's house, but the wife of a king-the queen." "Father's house" is referring to the Jewish synagogue, of which she was chosen to be the "princess" (i.e. the Mother of the Messiah).

The psalmist is telling the story of the Coronation of the Queen of heaven and of earth! "At your right hand" (verse 10) then makes sense because who in heaven (other than the Father and Holy Spirit) would be closer to Jesus than His mother! Let me clear something up, note that Mary is standing by her Son, not sitting on a throne.
Catholics don't worship Mary, they venerate or honor her (following the biblical example of the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:28). "...arrayed in Ophir's gold " refers to her being blessed by God with a special grace that preserved her uncorrupted from the stain of original sin (is it just a coincidence that gold is the only element that doesn't rust?) and kept her from sinning during her entire life (discussed under the Assumption).
It should be noted that this interpretation doesn't extend to every verse, it is more of an allusion. If you still don't buy this at all, then I ask you, Why then should an ordinary wedding song be included as part of God's inspired, and infallible Word? The whole Psalm is of course, speaking prophetically.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hail Mary, full of grace.
Our Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.