The following is solid proof that the Catholic Church has it right when it comes to the Body and Blood of Jesus.
I have heard it said many times from Protestants and Catholics with weak faith that the sacrifice made on the Catholic Church altar is nothing more than a symbol, it’s not really Jesus on the altar. Communion is nice but it only represents the body and blood of Jesus. Well, lets see what Jesus himself has to say about this matter. Grab your Bibles and follow along with me as we walk through the Gospel of John.
Allow me to set the scene, in John chapter 6, Jesus has just crossed the Sea of Galilee and began to make his way into the mountains as a crowd began to gather around him.
[Let me explain about the crowds, there were three groups of people that make up the crowds gathered there. First group was the Crowd — these people were just your ordinary people from around the area that may have heard about some guy named Jesus that was doing a really nice job at entertaining those who showed up to see him. They were mostly Jewish people from the area that weren’t doing anything anyway and wanted to experience some entertainment for the day so they made their way out to see this stranger coming across the water. The second group was the Disciples — these people had left behind all they had, their jobs, family, friends and money just to follow Jesus and learn about what he was teaching. The third group was the Apostles — the closest friends to Jesus, they left everything behind as well, but they lived with Jesus and hung on every word he said, they traveled and ate with Jesus each day.]
As this crowd became larger, Jesus wandered how to feed so many people. He took 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish and fed 5,000 people gathered to see Him. After dinner was consumed Jesus finishes this busy day with a walk across some water and arrives in another city.
The next day Jesus awakes to find this mob of people beginning to gather around him again. He knew they weren’t coming to see Him because they believed in Him, they were coming to see Him because they were hungry. They thought, surely Jesus would feed them again, after all, Jesus said he had food they could eat and never be hungry again. He begins to speak with the people gathered and this is how it happened.
Verse 35 Jesus speaks to the crowds “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Now, in verse 41 the Jews, the Crowd, begins to murmur about what He had said. In verse 51 Jesus says “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.” The second half of this same verse is where Jesus lets them have it and gives them the “rest of the story.” Jesus continues, “and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” Remember in verse 41 the crowd murmured, now in verse 52 they quarreled amongst themselves. It appears this argument is escalating, perhaps this crowd may be busting into a brawl. They begin to ask how can this man give us his flesh to eat?
This crowd, the Jews, are thinking Jesus is speaking literally not symbolically. In other areas of the Bible as well in the Gospel of John, Jesus does speak symbolically, for example he says “I am the gate,” “I am the vine, you are the branches,” “I am the good Shepard.” No one ever argued with Jesus when these words were said. No one said “you are not a gate, there’s no way you could be a gate.” Not one person said “Jesus, you don’t look like a tree or any other plant.” No one argued to Jesus and said “you are not a Shepard, you are a carpenter.” At this point, the crowd is quarreling about how this man can give us his flesh to eat.
Let’s step back and think about what is going on here. Remember, Jesus could read the thoughts of others and would generally respond on those thoughts even before they began to speak; after all, He is God. So if Jesus saw they were getting upset and knew they were taking him literal, why didn’t he stop them and say something along the lines of “whoa, slow down, don’t get all upset, stop your quarreling, I am only talking symbolically.” But instead of clarifying his stance, he actually emphasizes it and ramps it up to a whole new level.
The question in front of Jesus is, “how can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
[Every time Jesus say Amen, Amen, it really means “pay attention, what follows is important. ]
Now Jesus get serious about answering this question, he emphasizes and answers it not once, not twice not even three times but 5 times He answers this question. Verse 53 he emphasizes for the first time “Amen, amen I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” The second time, he says “Whoever eats my flesh and dinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” Again, number three “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” Jesus again for the fourth time says, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Now for the fifth and final time Jesus emphasizes his stance by saying, “Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.”
So when the Jews think Jesus is speaking literally, He never denies or tries to clarify, he actually ratifies and emphasizes his stance by driving it home 5 times.
He then turns to the second group of people, the Disciples, and they too had a difficult time with what Jesus was saying. Verse 60 “This saying is hard, who can accept this?”
Is a symbolical statement hard to accept? No, it’s not. A literal question is really hard to accept.
In verse 61, Jesus ask his Disciples, “Does this shock you?” (if Jesus was speaking symbolically, he would not have asked this question).
After Christ explained and emphasized 5 times that you must eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, many turned from Christ and walked away, returning to their former way of life. This all happens in John 6:66. The only verse in the entire Bible that someone leaves Jesus over one of His teachings. The Eucharist. The teaching was the Eucharist.
Imagine the scene, the crowd is leaving by the thousands while quarreling, and now, some of His closest friends, the Disciples are leaving, Jesus turns to the Apostol’s and asks “Do you also want to leave?” He never begged anyone to stay, nor did He run after them to explain that He was only speaking symbolically. He stood His ground and held true to being literal.
Jesus watched as most people walked away in disbelief and upset because they couldn’t believe the words form the lips of Jesus. He allowed them all to leave, He couldn’t change this important teaching about the Eucharist.
So, no it’s not just a symbol or symbolic. It is our Lord Jesus on the altar, it’s called the Eucharist. If you walk away from Jesus, there is no Eucharist. No Eucharist, no Jesus. I hear many excuses like “the Priest at my Catholic Church is so boring and at the church down the street is so exciting.” No Eucharist, no Jesus. “The church down the street is so exciting, the music is amazing” No Eucharist, no Jesus. There is only one place to find the Eucharist, the one true Catholic and apostolic Catholic Church.
What are your thoughts on this post about the Eucharist?