Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Eucharist (Carpus Christs)

The Eucharist (Corpus Christi)
What happens to those that don't believe that the Eucharist becomes the Body and Blood of Christ? I was asked this question given to me by one of you, and well before I answer you I'd like to being by showing you what I have learned thus far. With God's help, I hope that we partake in the Joy I feel in sharing this with you.

Lets start with (John 6:53-56) which is exactly one year before the last supper, right before the passover, Jesus said:
John 6:53
            “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his 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”
This passage is not merely a metaphor that asks us to put our faith in Him. If it were only so, Jesus would not be a very good teacher. Everyone listening to Him understood this literally:

John 6:52
            “how can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
When Jesus speaks of himself as being the “door” or the “vine” no one asked Him “How can this man be a door made out of wood?” or “How can this man claim to be a plant?” Furthermore, in these verses of the “door” and the “vine,” it is very clear from their context that He was using metaphors. However, we can see that in John 6 Jesus is speaking literal terms. Lets look at

John 6:41 and 6:52
“The Jews then murmured at him because he said, 'I am the bread which came down from heaven.”[...and then...] “the Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, 'How can this man give us his flesh to eat?'”

Why is it that they Jews understood it literally and you can't? You, like them can't handle this Truth. If Jesus were speaking metaphorically, He would have taken the time to elaborate this point to make it clear, but instead, He goes on to make His literal point several more times in even stronger terms. After verse 53, Jesus stops using the normal Greek word phago (which just means “eat”, and can sometimes have a symbolic meaning). and he started using trogo, (which is a very vivid word meaning “munch” or “gnaw” and which is never anything but literal in the Greek bible and literature).
Yes in verse 63 Jesus says “the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” Now, when and where in the bible do they ever use spirit as a symbol? Spirit is the life soul of everything that God created. This to me is why God is present in the Eucharist. Even more so with Jesus saying this verse. (John 4:24) says; God is spirit-. You sure don't think he is speaking symbolically here do you? When you do a study on the word Jesus uses for “flesh” here, you'll find that there's nowhere in the Gospels where it is used symbolically either.
This is the only place in the bible where followers of Jesus abandon him for theological reasons. Verse 60 they say, “this is a hard teaching, who can listen to it.” Then in (John 6:66) it goes to say; “After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.” Weird and interesting that the only verse in the bible with the numbers 666 is where people reject Jesus because of his teaching about the Eucharist. Think and pray about it. Anyhow, here we have people leaving Jesus because of this hard teaching. Some people think this was the biggest crowd that Jesus ever preached to, which would make this his single biggest public relations blunder. He could have cleared things up and stopped everyone from leaving just by saying “no,no, listen you guys, it was just a symbol, I don't really mean my literal body and blood.” Okay then verses 67-68: Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave.?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go to? You have the words of eternal life.
Here lets look ahead and look at (Mark 4:34) “Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his disciples he explained everything in private.” Okay if he had some mysterious symbolic meaning in John 6, he didn't explain it to his disciples, which is another reason to think he was being literal. And there are other places in the Gospels where Jesus just repeats a true but unpopular teaching like in (Matthew 9:2-8) where he talks about his power to forgive sins, and people don't believe him, and he insists on it. John 8:58 goes on to say “Before Abraham was born, I am!” Once again I say to you is Jesus speaking symbolically here? This passage about the Eucharist is just like these I've just showed you. Plus, there’re heaps of places where Jesus says something, the disciples get it wrong, and Jesus explains it to them.
Eating flash and drinking blood does actually have a metaphorical meaning in the Old Testament, (Psalm 27:2) When evildoers come at me to devour my flesh, These my enemies and foes themselves stumble and fall. So if Jesus was speaking symbolically, he would have been saying that people must slander him in order to have eternal life. I don't think so.
Now we also have the teaching of St. Paul in (1Corinthians 10:16-17)
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. See communion is a participation in the body of Christ. He presence is really there.
Then we also have (1 Corinthians 11:27-29)
            “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the LORD unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the LORD. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eat and drinks judgment on himself.”
It sounds like St. Paul's talking about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. You wouldn't be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the LORD if it was just a symbol. And, did you know that the Greek phrase for being “guilty of someone's body and blood” is a technical way of saying “guilty of murder?” It's very serious. So, if one is taking grape juice and crackers it would not be a big deal. But, if one fools around with it knowing Jesus is really present, then to receive communion unworthily would be a big deal, which is why we take St. Paul very seriously, and why we take the Eucharist vary seriously as well. In the last supper, Jesus didn't say “this represents my body,” did he? He said “This is my body.” and we just take him at his word.
A little history.
The teaching of the Eucharist is nothing new. Transubstantiation is a technical term that describes what happens, and the only reason it wasn't widely used until the 11th century was because that was the first time on record that anyone significant denied the real presence. So the Catholic Church used Transubstantiation (which just means “change of substance”) to define things very clearly in a single word.
The Eastern Church had been using the Greek word metaousiosis, which means the same thing for hundreds of years before that. You do believe in the Trinity? I'm pretty sure you do. Well the word Trinity wasn't officially used until the council of Nicaea in AD325, but that doesn't mean that no-one believed in the Trinity until then. And as for the Real Presence in the early Church, heed this, this is a quote from St. Ignatius of Antioch who was martyred in AD110 and was a disciple of of both Peter and John: “They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist to be the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His goodness, raised up again. ”(Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6,2; William A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical press, 1970), Vol. 1,#64). He also wrote this “I desire the Bread of God, which is the Flesh of Jesus Christ... and for drink I desire His Blood, which is love incorruptible.” (Letter to the Romans 7,3; Jurgens,#54a.) J.N.D. Kelly, a well respected historian, who's not a Catholic, and summaries what the Early Church believed about the Eucharist: “Eucharistic teaching, it should be understood at out set, was in general unquestioningly realist, i. e., the consecrated bread and wine were taken to be, and were treated and designated as, the Savior's body and blood.” (J.N.D. Kelly, early Christian Doctrines, pg.440).
In (Mathew 16:5-12) Jesus speaks of the bread.
In coming to the other side of the sea, the disciples had forgotten to bring bread. Jesus said to them, “Look out, and beware of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” The concluded among themselves, saying, “it is because we have brought no bread,” When Jesus became aware of this he said, “You of little faith, why do you conclude among your selves that it is because you have no bread? Do you not yet understand, and do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many wicker baskets you took up? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you took up? How do you not comprehend that I was not speaking to you about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he was telling them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Saddusees.
In (John 4:31-34)
Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” So the disciples said to one another, “could someone have brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who send me and to finish his work.
I leave you with this brothers and sisters in Christ, Bethlehem means: House of Bread and Manger means: a place for food... Think and pray for the knowledge and ability to believe the Word of God, and to accept what he has done; that you might understand the unity of His Kingdom here on earth and the fullness of His body which is the Church, the visible and invisible.
The answer to the question is, one will not enter heaven without believing in the fullness of God's teachings. Remember we must BELIEVE in all that was set before us, not to understand it but to BELIEVE in it. How can someone come to an understanding if one does not believe in it first?

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