Monday, March 9, 2009

Why do Catholics believe the Eucharist is Jesus’ actual body and blood? #1

Why do Catholics insist that Communion is the Real Presence of Jesus Christ? Do they honestly think that Jesus really comes down into bread and wine? After consecration it’s still bread and wine. If you break the bread, it crumbles, not bleeds. The wine is still wine if you put it under a microscope. How can it be Jesus if it’s bread and wine? These Catholics must be delusional.

As I read the above paragraph I imagine the pharisees and scribes sitting around saying “why do people believe this Jesus is the son of God? Do they honestly think God came down into a human? He’s just an ordinary man. If you cut him, he bleeds; I bet if we crucify him he’ll die. How can he be God if he’s human?” What an easy trap to fall into: assuming that we would know God if we saw him.

Do you accept that God does things we can’t understand? As a Christian, you can’t believe in the Incarnation without accepting that there is mystery (how can a man be God?). You can’t accept the Trinity without accepting mystery (how can one God be three, yet one, yet three…). You can’t accept the Eucharist without accepting that same mystery. If you accept the Incarnation and the Trinity, how can you object to the Real Presence using the logic of the opening paragraph?

Once you accept the Incarnation and the Trinity, most objections to the Real Presence melt away. How does bread and wine become God? Same way a human body did. Why doesn’t it change molecularly? Jesus’ body was no different than any other at a molecular level. Why would Jesus come back as bread and wine? He told us in no uncertain terms to eat him in John 6; yet cannibalism is against Moses’ law. Bread and wine are a logical choice (plus it was prefigured in the Old Testament, but let’s not get carried away).

Take a moment and seriously consider your objections to this teaching. Are you not allowing for mystery here just because it’s a “Catholic” teaching? Are you forcing this teaching to live up to criteria that you don’t hold the Trinity, Incarnation, or any other parts of our faith to? When we discuss this again, treat it with the same level of mystery as those teachings you take for granted. You may find it’s not so hard to believe after all.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that explanation. So many places on the internet give this and that, but you state it as the very essence of what it is...faith. Believing without seeing.

Catholic Connections Team said...

Anon,

Thank you. The core of all faith is just that; faith. Yes we can understand and yes Chrisitanity is resonable but there are so many, many things we don't understand and cannot understand because of our limited humanity.

Anonymous said...

like mark twain said,it's not that we know so little but that we are wrong about so much.

Kate Dulson said...

I hate you. you mean catholic haters. you have insalted me and my family.

Dan Kuik said...

What I do not understand about some Catholics, not all, is that it is never considered real communion unless it is mass, or Catholic communion. If it is truly God's mystery, why do Catholics take exclusive ownership of it? Can't God show up at other celebrations of communion? Dan

Dan said...

Hi, Dan,

Thanks for the question. While it's a mystery there are particular things Catholics, Lutherans, and other denominations believe that don't jive with each other. If the purpose is to outwardly show and inwardly enter into common union (communion) then how is this possible if we don't profess the same things?

If I were at a Protestant church that had changed the creed in a way that I didn't agree with I certainly wouldn't recite it. In the same way, when a Eucharistic minister offers the Eucharist they say "The body of Christ". If a person can't respond "amen" and believe that it is what the Catholic Church teaches then they would be saying one thing with their body (that they believe) but another thing with their mind (they don't believe).

Let's pray that one day we can all come to the same Communion as fellow Christians because we all believe the same thing about the Eucharist!

Hope that helps.

Dan