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.

Friday, August 19, 2011


QUESTION: One of the things that sets Catholics apart from other denominations is Communion. Since the followers of Christ were Jews and consuming blood was an abomination, why would they believe they were ingesting the actual blood of Christ and bring condemnation upon themselves? Also, wouldn’t the wafer, if it became the literal body of Christ, be an abomination to Catholics since cannibalism is a sin? Jesus was offered as a sacrifice for sin once upon the cross, and there is no more need of a sacrifice. Communion has been understood as being symbolic, or else it would have never been accepted by the disciples. The blood shed on the cross is the last time the blood of Christ flowed. His body was last on earth the day he ascended into heaven. To say the juice and wafer becomes the literal blood and body of Christ is saying he is sacrificed anew, which is an impossibility.

ANSWER: First of all, up to the 16th century virtually all Christians believed that the bread and wine truly becomes the body and blood of Christ. That’s a long time. The largest and oldest Christian Church still does—as do the Orthodox churches. So there has to be something credible about it.

It is true that for the Jews, consuming blood was an abomination. Scripture tells us that many of the disciples of Jesus could not accept this and from that point on did not follow him (Jn 6:66), but not all of them. “Then Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God’” (Jn 6:67-69). These disciples did accept what he said—not because they understood, but because they believed in him.

If Jesus were merely speaking symbolically, he could easily have called the other disciples back and explained that he wasn’t speaking literally. He did not. Jesus, we believe, is God. It boggles the mind that God loves his creatures so much that he became one of them, and then allowed them to torture him and put him to death for their benefit. The moment in which he died covers every person who lived on this earth before Good Friday and everyone who was to live after it. It transcends time.
The Church and everything about it is incarnational because Jesus became incarnate. He used water and spittle and bread and wine and his own body and blood to minister to those who needed him. Since Jesus is God, if he said that the bread and wine becomes his body and blood, then those who acknowledge his divinity should have no difficulty believing it to be true because, like the Twelve, they believe in him. It is certainly no more extraordinary than his Incarnation!
Since the moment of his death transcends time, to celebrate it in time is not to create another Passion and death; it is to worship him in that very Passion here and now in the concrete manner of his devising. See:

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