Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope that is in you, but do so with gentleness and reverence.”
cf. 1 Peter 3:15-16
A daily morsel of Catholic education and faith formation.
Eucharist / Mass
QUESTION OR COMMON OBJECTION:
Eating Jesus’ flesh is so gross. Jesus couldn’t have meant it literally!
Some of Jesus’ followers thought the same thing and decided not to follow him anymore.
‘This saying is hard; who can accept it?’ … As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.”
Jesus could have said it was only a symbol, but he didn’t because he meant it literally.
During the Mass, we receive Jesus’ real flesh and blood, presented under the appearance of bread and wine. As Catholics, we take Jesus at his word.
Just as the manna from heaven fed the Israelites in the desert wanderings, Jesus is our food for our journey. The manna was a prefigurement of our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ, who after rising from the dead wishes to feed us with his body so that we can join St. Paul who says, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me” (cf Gal 2:20).
As Catholics, we believe the God of the Universe who put the Universe into being by breathing it into life, works through his priests – in persona Christi – to consecrate the mere appearance of bread and wine into the body, blood, soul, and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, we’re not doing it – i.e. “man” … the priest … is not doing it. Rather, it is God himself, by and through the prayer of consecration delivered through the priest, who is changing the bread and wine. It’s what the earliest of the early Church believed and practiced, and was passed down through the centuries to the present day. It’s the “tradition” St. Paul talks about when he exhorts us to hold fast and pass down the traditions he and other church leaders taught either by “word” or by “letter”.
Thanks be to God, in every Catholic Church throughout the world, every hour of every day, we are receiving the same body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus in the sacrament of the Eucharist that the Apostles received at the Lord’s Supper when Jesus, himself, instituted this preeminent Sacrament celebrated, defended, preserved, and passed on by the Catholic Church (by word and by letter … doggone, there’s that word “tradition” again), and will do so to the end of the Age, just as Jesus instructed us when he said, “Do this in memory of me.”
THE PROTESTANT CHALLENGE
For all our Protestant brothers and sisters who visit our blog site: First, we love you, and thank you. Here’s our challenge for you:
- Read the Gospel of John Chapter 6 in it’s entirety. Just read it once all the way through in one sitting. Put it down. Give it some thought.
- Read John 6 again (entirely, don’t just pick out verses here and there). Prayerfully think about what Jesus is saying in what we, Catholics, call his Bread of Life discourse. I won’t even give you where we Catholics believe that discourse starts because you’ll be tempted to go straight to it and not read Jn 6 beginning to end (no bible verse picking … this ain’t a buffet!).
- When the Jews turn away from Jesus because “this is a hard saying,” what does Jesus do? Does he stop them? Does he say, “Wait! Stop! You misinterpreted me. Come back!” What does he do at that moment? What do his closest disciples do? Can you point to another moment in the entire New Testament where groups of people turned their back on Jesus and “walked away”? Hint: you won’t find one.
- How many times does Jesus say, “Amen, amen” or “Truly, truly” … “I say to you” (depending on your translation) when he’s giving this instruction on Jesus as the living bread? How is that different than the times he said, “I am the gate,” or “I am the true vine,” or The Seven “I AM” statements that Jesus makes in John’s Gospel?
- Now, read Paul’s letters and the Gospels paying particular attention when the “body and blood” of Jesus is presented by the New Testament writers, and now in light of all you’ve read and thought about up to now.
- Now, ask Jesus himself in prayer, “Lord, these crazy Catholics think you are really present in bread and wine. I think that’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard! But, Jesus, if it’s true please tell me. Please show me. Because if it’s true it changes everything I’ve ever known – and you are the way, the truth, and the life. I want to be where you are, Jesus, in all your glory every day of my life.”
- On our blog site consider following and reading through our Articles –> “Divine Office” section and posts. These are writings from some of the earliest Christians dating from 130 A.D. through centuries following. You’ll note how remarkably consistent these writers are (through the centuries) in their treatment of the Eucharist. To get you started, here’s one by St. Iraenaeus who lived 130-202 A.D. Here’s another by St. Justin Martyr, who was martyred ca. 165 A.D. Both of their discipleship can literally be traced back to St. John the Apostle.
- Read our blog post, Articles of Faith | The Eucharist in the Words of the Church Fathers.
- Peace be with you!
If you genuinely would like more references, including New and Old Testament scripture that points to and supports the Catholic position about the Eucharist, I invite you to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This invitation is open to those with (or without) faith seeking understanding.
For additional video reflections on the Catholic understanding of the The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, please see:
From Bishop Barron of Word on Fire
Explore a collection of my resources on the Eucharist here: https://www.wordonfire.org/presence/
It’s hard to describe how angry I feel after reading the latest Pew Forum study, which reveals only one-third of Catholics agree with the Church that the Eucharist is actually the Body and Blood of Christ. This should be a wake-up call to all of us in the Church—priests, bishops, religious, laypeople, catechists, parents, everyone—that we need to pick up our game when it comes to communicating even the most basic doctrines of the Church. Watch this video for more…
Bishop Barron on Catholics Misunderstanding the Eucharist
Credit: Friendly Defenders by Ascension Press. Would you like your family to grow in your faith? For a great start, and for excellent, fun, and inspiring educational materials please visit our friends online at: www.AscensionPress.com or www.FriendlyDefenders.com. Information herein posted under the "rules of fair use" to foster education and discussion in accordance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976.
catechism of the Catholic Church
For information about what the Catholic Church believes, answers to FAQs, and an encompassing resource addressing common objections and misconceptions non-Catholics and Catholics alike may have about the Church and what it teaches, we invite you to visit the online version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Let us pray.
Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you.”
Saint John Paul II, pope
Jesus, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life (cf. John 6:68).
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family, pray for us. Amen.