In February I was listening to a CCD/PSR class on the Eucharist. During that class, the teacher said that about seventy percent of Catholics did not believe that Jesus was present in the Eucharist; body, blood, soul, and divinity. Now, I had heard this before, but for some reason this almost knocked me off my chair, especially the more I thought about it. Then I thought, why not write a blog on this. So this is a poor explanation of the Catholic Church’s teaching, and scientific data which prove Jesus is there: It is for you to use for yourself or friends who ask about this great mystery.
One of the three columns the Church bases its teachings on is sacred scriptures. Now, the Bible has many verses that prove that Jesus is in the Holy Eucharist: First, we have in Matthew, “Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat, this is my body.’ And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant…” (RSV Matthew 26.26-28). Notice that when Jesus DID say this is MY BODY, or MY BLOOD, he was explaining to his apostles that this was himself; body, blood, soul, and divinity. Another verse says in John (this is right after Jesus said you needed to eat his flesh) that, “the Jews disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’” (RSV John 6.52)
Later, in verse 66, “After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him” (RSV John 6.66) Observe it says that MANY drew back and no longer followed him. Now, Jesus did not call them back by saying something like, wait you misunderstood me I was just speaking symbolically. No, the Jews knew what Jesus said and meant when he said, “eat my body”. Also, John 1:14, has always been understood as speaking about the Eucharist when he said, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (RSV John 1.14), Paul in first Corinthians states the same story as Matthew chapter 26. There are some interesting verses that don’t necessarily imply the Eucharist, but they are interesting to think about. For example, one verse says, “and lo, I am with always, to the close of the age” (RSV Matthew 28.20) Think, Jesus is the Eucharist, and so he will be with us to the end of the age in a very special way. With the different verses that I showed before, one can undoubtedly make the argument that Jesus is in the Eucharist.
Another one of the three pillars the Church uses to define its doctrine is what we call Sacred Tradition. This should be used to prove Jesus Christ’s dwelling in Holy Communion. Sacred tradition is what early Catholics taught. To start with, let us see what Justin Martyr said, “We receive this not as ordinary bread and ordinary drink; but as our Redeemer, Jesus Christ…” (Ott 376). St. Irenaeus of Lyons upheld that, “the bread over which thanksgiving is pronounced, is the body of the Lord and the chalice of His blood” (Ott 376). Furthermore, “St. John Chrysostom declares: It is not man who causes the things offered to become the Body and Blood of Christ, but he who was crucified for us, Christ himself. The priest, in the role of Christ, pronounces these words, but their power and grace are God’s. This is my body, he says. This word transforms the things offered” (CCC 1375). As a side note, if you are wondering why Jesus gave us himself in the Eucharist, St. Louis de Montfort explains,
Eternal Wisdom, on the one hand, wished to prove his love for man by dying in his place in order to save him, but on the other hand, he could not bear the thought of leaving him. So he devised a marvelous way of dying and living at the same time, and of abiding with man until the end of time. So, in order to fully satisfy his love, he instituted the sacrament of Holy Eucharist and went to the extent of changing and overturning nature itself (Guiley 76).
Tradition states very clearly its understanding about Jesus in the Eucharist, which is that He is truly present.
To be Continued…