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, December 13, 2013


by Jimmy Akin (left)

1st Century Christian Writings Outside the Bible! Here Are 7 Things You Need to Know

The most familiar Christian writings from the first century are, of course, those of the New Testament. But just because something was written in the first century did not guarantee it a place in the Bible. There are a number of Christian works that appear to date from the first century but that were not included in the Bible. Here are seven things you should know about them:

1. None of Them Are Canonical

God guided the Church to recognize which books had been inspired by the Holy Spirit and which had not. Our knowledge of what belongs in the canon of Scripture does not depend on the cleverness of men in deciding these things but in the guidance God gives to the Church.

Consequently, however interesting it may be to read Christian documents from the first century, one should not treat them as canonical, inspired, or inerrant. They are significant historical witnesses to what some first century Christians believed, and they form parts of the larger Christian tradition, but the Church does not hold them as Scripture.

2. The Didache: An Early Catechism

The Didache (pronounced DID-ah-KAY) may be the earliest surviving Christian work outside the New Testament. It speaks as if apostles are still travelling, and it gives the reader tips on how to tell a true apostle from a false one. (Hint: If he tries to mooch off a local church, he's a false one.) This points to an early date, perhaps in the mid 1st century.

The document provides a basic instruction on certain aspects of the Christian faith. It includes a treatment of Christian morality (including a condemnation of abortion), information about celebrating the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist, prayer and fasting, Church leaders, and even a little about the end of the world.

3. Clement's Letter to the Corinthians

Pope Clement I wrote this letter to the Church at Corinth after a leadership dispute broke out there, and the Corinthians appealed to him. (He told them to reaffirm the recently rejected leaders in their former offices.) This may be the first exercise of papal primacy outside the New Testament.

The letter is most often dated to the A.D. 90s, but there are significant reasons to date it earlier. Internal evidence--including a reference to the Jerusalem Temple still functioning (it was destroyed in mid A.D. 70) and a series of repeated calamities in Rome (possibly the "year of four emperors" that took place in A.D. 69)--points to a date in A.D. 69 or 70. Whether an earlier or a later date is preferred, it is an important witness to the role of Rome in the first century.

The author may be the same Clement mentioned by St. Paul in Philippians 4:3.

4. The Letter of Barnabas The common opinion is that this letter was not written by the Apostle Barnabas, so it is often referred to as pseudo-Barnabas. It was quite early, however, and was likely written around A.D. 75, just a few years after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. In fact, it seems to be the first mention in Christian literature of the destruction of the Temple. The author is writing for a group of gentile Christians, and much of the letter deals with the Jewish-gentile controversy that marked the first century

5. 2nd Clement

Pope Clement I was such an influential figure in the early Church that several documents came to be attributed to him, though he did not write them. The earliest of these appears to be a document sometimes called The Second Letter of Clement to the Corinthians or sometimes Second Clement. It, or more properly its author, is also called pseudo-Clement since he wasn't really Clement.

The work isn't actually a letter. Instead, it appears to be homily--possibly given at Corinth--and, based on the way it describes the Church's penitential discipline, it may have been written around the same time as The Shepherd of Hermas (see below), perhaps around A.D. 80.

6. The Shepherd of Hermas

Hermas was a man who lived in Rome during the lifetime of Clement I, who is referred to in Hermas's book, The Shepherd in a way that implies he was still alive. The Shepherd is a record of visions that Hermas received, making it one of the earliest--or even the earliest--reported private revelation. It was composed perhaps around A.D. 80. According to the Origen, the author is the same Hermas mentioned in Romans 16:14.

7. Learning More

One way to learn more is by reading the actual documents mentioned above. Here are links to where you can read them online:

The Didache

Clement's Letter to the Corinthians

The Letter of Barnabas


The Shepherd of Hermas

There is also much more you can learn about the early Church in my book, The Fathers Know Best: Your Essential Guide to Early Christian Teaching. If you don't have a copy, I hope you'll check it out!


Thank you for your purchase. It helps me pay for my Internet efforts, including providing information free of charge to the Secret Info Club!

Coming Soon! Absolute Worst Liturgical Abuses: 7 Things You Need to Know

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