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.

Friday, April 15, 2011

FOR MY FLESH IS TRUE FOOD

Eating and Chewing: the "word of God" and the "Word of God" in John 6

by Catholic Apologetics Tim Hollingworth

The Bible is the unerring word of God. Jesus Christ is the unerring Word of God.

Non-Catholic Christians who see the bread of life discourse in general, and Jesus' words about "Eating his flesh" in particular, as purely metaphorical; symbolic language used by Christ to represent acceptance of the word of God (the Bible) and the Word of God (Jesus Christ) into our heart as nourishment for our souls, should take note of the verb used for the word "Eat" in the original Greek text.

This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the word. The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you." (John 6:50-53)

In quoting Jesus Christ in verses 49 throuh 53 above, St. John chose to use the Greek verb phago. The lexicon at the Protestant bible study site Heartlight's Search God's Word defines the word phago as:

1. to eat
2. to eat (consume) a thing

more..

10 comments:

Scooter said...

However, Jesus said, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life," (John 6:63).
Also, note the following points:

A) The Eucharist is the broken body and shed blood of Christ, right? When Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper he said it was his body and blood, but he hadn't yet been crucified, so how could it be his shed blood and broken body?

B) transubstantiation violates Levitical law forbidding drinking of blood (Lev. 17:14).

C) How is it possible for the Eucharist to be the body and blood of Christ? Isn't a man only in one place at one time as Jesus was in the incarnation? He is still a man (1 Tim. 2:5). Therefore, the incarnation means that the man Jesus is only at one place at a time. Therefore, the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist violates the doctrine of the incarnation of Christ.

D)B.The Eucharist is the broken body and shed blood of Christ, right? When Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper he said it was his body and blood, but how can that be since he was sitting right there? Was he sitting there and also physically in the bread and wine, too?

My question then Michael-What rituals must you perform in order to obtain the grace of God?
"But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace," (Rom. 11:6).

Michael said...

A) When Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper he said it was his body and blood, but he hadn't yet been crucified, so how could it be his shed blood and broken body?

Firstly Jesus says “THIS IS MY BODY” and not a symbolic gesture. It matches up with Jesus explaining before that He is the Bread of Heaven and that if we do not eat His Body and Drink His Blood we have no life within Him.

Likewise He calls the Chalice His Blood. Even if this were symbolic, which the context and language makes it impossible, what Jesus says would make it sinful. The only thing that can be offered up for Sin is Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. But Jesus says “which is given for you” denoting a sacrifice of some form.

Then with the Blood He says, “which shall be shed for you.” This is a Sacrifice and moreover it is for sin. If this was merely a symbolic act then this means that Jesus committed a sin, offering something other than Himself to God for sin.

Then speaking to the Apostles He spoke “Do this for a commemoration of me.” This message right here commissions the Holy Mass that is present here, upon the Cross, and in the Church today.

Michael said...

B) transubstantiation violates Levitical law forbidding drinking of blood (Lev. 17:14).

What is the Eucharist?

In Catholic Eucharistic celebrations Christ’s Body is truly and substantially present, not in a natural way but in supernatural, i.e. miraculous way.

It is the same as in the Last Supper when Christ changed the substance of the bread and wine, but not its form, into His Flesh and Blood. So, the *FORM* of the Eucharist, which does not change, is bread and wine.

What is cannibalism?

Cannibalism is to eat food, but not just any food. For it to be cannibalism the *FORM* of the food has to be meat and or blood of one’s own species. Since the *FORM* of the Eucharist is not meat or blood it cannot be cannibalism.

So, the determining factor is the form of the food. If a person eats a dead man, that would be cannibalism. If, on the other hand, a lion nourishes himself by eating several people, and then a month later a hunter comes along and kills and eats that lion, that would not be cannibalism.

Michael said...

Protestant Argument:

Leviticus 17:14 says not to drink blood or you will be cut off!

Leviticus 17:14 "… I have said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off."

Catholic response:

Yes!!! We must be cut off !!!

Jews and everyone is born in the family of Adam. We must be cut off from Adams family and be grafted into Christ’s family, We must be cut off from the Old Covenant and its laws so that we can get into the New Covenant.

"For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)

To be "cut off" means to die. Cf. Isaiah 53:8 "… he was taken away … he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?"

"For what is the hope of the godless when God cuts him off, when God takes away his life?" (Job 27:8)

Michael said...

My question then Michael-What rituals must you perform in order to obtain the grace of God?

Can Justification Be Lost?

Most Fundamentalists go on to say that losing ground in the sanctification battle won’t jeopardize your justification. You might sin worse than you did before "getting saved," but you’ll enter heaven anyway, because you can’t undo your justification, which has nothing to do with whether you have supernatural life in your soul.

Calvin taught the absolute impossibility of losing justification. Luther said it could be lost only through the sin of unbelief; that is, by undoing the act of faith and rejecting Christ; but not by what Catholics call mortal sins.

Catholics see it differently. If you sin grievously, the supernatural life in your soul disappears, since it can’t co-exist with serious sin. You then cease to be justified.

If you were to die while unjustified, you’d go to hell. But you can become re-justified by having the supernatural life renewed in your soul, and you can do that by responding to the actual graces God sends you.

Acting on Actual Graces

He sends you an actual grace, say, in the form of a nagging voice that whispers, "You need to repent! Go to confession!" You do, your sins are forgiven, you’re reconciled to God, and you have supernatural life again (John 20:21–23).

Or you say to yourself, "Maybe tomorrow," and that particular supernatural impulse, that actual grace, passes you by. But another is always on the way, God never abandoning us to our own stupidity (1 Tim. 2:4).

Once you have supernatural life, once sanctifying grace is in your soul, you can increase it by every supernaturally good action you do: receiving Communion, saying prayers, performing the corporal works of mercy.

Is it worth increasing sanctifying grace once you have it; isn’t the minimum enough? Yes and no. It’s enough to get you into heaven, but it may not be enough to sustain itself. It’s easy to fall from grace, as you know. The more solidly you’re wed to sanctifying grace, the more likely you can withstand temptations.

And if you do that, you maintain sanctifying grace. In other words, once you achieve the supernatural life, you don’t want to take it easy. The minimum isn’t good enough because it’s easy to lose the minimum.

We must continually seek God’s grace, continually respond to the actual graces God is working within us, inclining us to turn to him and do good. This is what Paul discusses when he instructs us: "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain" (Phil. 2:12–16).

a39greenway said...

Spiritual Suicide

You can obtain supernatural life by yielding to actual graces you receive. God keeps giving you these divine pushes, and all you have to do is go along.

For instance, he moves you to repentance, and if you take the hint you can find yourself in the
confessional, where the guilt for your sins is remitted (John 20:21–23). Through the sacrament of penance, through your reconciliation to God, you receive sanctifying grace. But you can lose it again by sinning mortally (1 John 5:16–17).

Keep that word in mind: mortal. It means death. Mortal sins are deadly sins because they kill off this supernatural life, this sanctifying grace. Mortal sins can’t coexist with the supernatural life, because by their nature such sins are saying "No" to God, while sanctifying grace would be saying "Yes."

Venial sins don’t destroy supernatural life, and they don’t even lessen it. Mortal sins destroy it outright. The trouble with venial sins is that they weaken us, making us more vulnerable to mortal sins.

When you lose supernatural life, there’s nothing you can do on your own to regain it. You’re reduced to the merely natural life again, and no natural act can merit a supernatural reward. You can merit a supernatural reward only by being made able to act above your nature, which you can do only if you have help—grace.

To regain supernatural life, you have to receive actual graces from God. Think of these as helping graces. Such graces differ from sanctifying grace in that they aren’t a quality of the soul and don’t abide in it. Rather, actual graces enable the soul to perform some supernatural act, such as an act of faith or repentance. If the soul responds to actual grace and makes the appropriate supernatural act, it again receives supernatural life.

daveg4g said...

Grace: What It Is and What It Does

If you took your parish’s catechism classes when you were growing up, you at least remember that there are two kinds of grace, sanctifying and actual. That may be all you recall. The names being so similar, you might have the impression sanctifying grace is nearly identical to actual grace. Not so.

Sanctifying grace stays in the soul. It’s what makes the soul holy; it gives the soul supernatural life. More properly, it is supernatural life.

Actual grace, by contrast, is a supernatural push or encouragement. It’s transient. It doesn’t live in the soul, but acts on the soul from the outside, so to speak. It’s a supernatural kick in the pants. It gets the will and intellect moving so we can seek out and keep sanctifying grace.

Imagine yourself transported instantaneously to the bottom of the ocean. What’s the very first thing you’ll do? That’s right: die. You’d die because you aren’t equipped to live underwater. You don’t have the right breathing apparatus.

If you want to live in the deep blue sea, you need equipment you aren’t provided with naturally; you need something that will elevate you above your nature, something super- (that is, "above") natural, such as oxygen tanks.

It’s much the same with your soul. In its natural state, it isn’t fit for heaven. It doesn’t have the right equipment, and if you die with your soul in its natural state, heaven won’t be for you. What you need to live there is supernatural life, not just natural life.

That supernatural life is called sanctifying grace. The reason you need sanctifying grace to be able to live in heaven is because you will be in perfect and absolute union with God, the source of all life (cf. Gal. 2:19, 1 Pet. 3:18).

If sanctifying grace dwells in your soul when you die, then you have the equipment you need, and you can live in heaven (though you may need to be purified first in purgatory; cf. 1 Cor. 3:12–16). If it doesn’t dwell in your soul when you die—in other words, if your soul is spiritually dead by being in the state of mortal sin (Gal. 5:19-21)— you cannot live in heaven.

You then have to face an eternity of spiritual death: the utter separation of your spirit from God (Eph. 2:1, 2:5, 4:18). The worst part of this eternal separation will be that you yourself would have caused it to be that way.

Anonymous said...

Really Cleansed

Sanctifying grace implies a real transformation of the soul. Recall that most of the Protestant Reformers denied that a real transformation takes place. They said God doesn’t actually wipe away our sins. Our souls don’t become spotless and holy in themselves. Instead, they remain corrupted, sinful, full of sin. God merely throws a cloak over them and treats them as if they were spotless, knowing all the while that they’re not.

But that isn’t the Catholic view. We believe souls really are cleansed by an infusion of the supernatural life. Paul speaks of us as "a new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17), "created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness" (Eph. 4:24).

Of course, we’re still subject to temptations to sin; we still suffer the effects of Adam’s Fall in that sense (what theologians call "concupiscence"); but God removes the guilt from our souls. We may still have a tendency to sin, but God has removed the sins we have, much like a mother might wash the dirt off of a child who has a tendency to get dirty again.

Our souls don’t become something other than souls when God cleanses them and pours his grace into them (what the Bible refers to as "infused" ["poured"] grace, cf. Acts 10:45, Rom. 5:5 Titus 3:5–7); they don’t cease to be what they were before.

When grace elevates nature, our intellects are given the new power of faith, something they don’t have at the merely natural level. Our wills are given the new powers of hope and charity, things also absent at the merely natural level.

p159 said...

Justification and Sanctification

We’ve mentioned that we need sanctifying grace in our souls if we’re to be equipped for heaven. Another way of saying this is that we need to be justified. "But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. 6:11).

The Protestant misunderstanding of justification lies in its claim that justification is merely a forensic (i.e., purely declaratory) legal declaration by God that the sinner is now "justified." If you "accept Christ as your personal Lord and Savior," he declares you justified, though he doesn’t really make you justified or sanctified; your soul is in the same state as it was before; but you’re eligible for heaven.

A person is expected thereafter to undergo sanctification (don’t make the mistake of thinking Protestants say sanctification is unimportant), but the degree of sanctification achieved is, ultimately, immaterial to the question of whether you’ll get to heaven. You will, since you’re justified; and justification as a purely legal declaration is what counts.

Unfortunately, this scheme is a legal fiction. It amounts to God telling an untruth by saying the sinner has been justified, while all along he knows that the sinner is not really justified, but is only covered under the "cloak" of Christ’s righteousness. But, what God declares, he does. "[S]o shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it" (Is. 55:11).

So, when God declares you justified, he makes you justified. Any justification that is not woven together with sanctification is no justification at all.

p159 said...

continued

Justification and Sanctification

The Bible’s teaching on justification is much more nuanced. Paul indicates that there is a real transformation which occurs in justification, that it is not just a change in legal status.

This is seen, for example, in Romans 6:7, which every standard translation—Protestant ones included—renders as "For he who has died is freed from sin" (or a close variant).

Paul is obviously speaking about being freed from sin in an experiential sense, for this is the passage where he is at pains to stress the fact that we have made a decisive break with sin that must be reflected in our behavior: "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?" (Rom. 6:1-2). "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions.

Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness" (6:12-13).

The context here is what Protestants call sanctification, the process of being made holy. Sanctification is the sense in which we are said to be "freed from sin" in this passage. Yet in the Greek text, what is actually said is "he who has died has been justified from sin."

The term in Greek (dikaioo) is the word for being justified, yet the context indicates sanctification, which is why every standard translation renders the word "freed" rather than "justified." This shows that, in Paul’s mind, justification involves a real transformation, a real, experiential freeing from sin, not just a change of legal status.

And it shows that, the way he uses terms, there is not the rigid wall between justification and sanctification that Protestants imagine.

According to Scripture, sanctification and justification aren’t just one-time events, but are ongoing processes in the life of the believer. Both can be spoken of as past-time events, as Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 6:11: "But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." Sanctification is also a present, ongoing process, as the author of Hebrews notes: "For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified" (Heb. 10:14).

In regard to justification also being an on-going process, compare Romans 4:3; Genesis 15:6 with both Hebrews 11:8; Genesis 12:1-4 and James 2:21-23; Genesis 22:1-18. In these passages, Abraham's justification is advanced on three separate occasions