Eucharist John 6:53

Regarding the Eucharist, Jesus clearly states that we are to partake of both his blood and his body in the form of the Eucharist: John 6:53 ***("Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you”)***.

Given this clear instruction (which forms the basis of the belief in transubstantiation), why is the Eucharist, at least for the laity, commonly limited to the bread/body of Christ and does not include the blood/wine?

Any insights based on scripture and/or tradition would be appreciated.

(Hope you all don’t mind - I’m sincerely searching so I’m trying to illicit a better understanding of some of the more troubling scriptural issues I come across - this Board has been quite helpful so far on other questions - so thank you in advance).



John 6 only mentions “bread” so it is clear “flesh and blood” are BOTH fully contained under either the appearance of bread alone or appearance of wine alone. Further, the classic proof-text comes from 1 Cor 11 where Paul says if you eat OR drink unworthily you will be guilty of BOTH the body and blood. This is only possible if both flesh and blood are both fully contained in either form.

Also, it should be noted that the Eucharist is the living Christ, thus His flesh cannot be separated from His blood or that would be a dead Christ by definition.

The outward symbols of the separation of bread and wine symbolize Christ’s flesh and blood separated (His Death), but theTransubstantiated Bread and Wine each contain the full, living, and undivided Christ (both His flesh and blood, and divinity).

Does that make sense or did I confuse?

Yes - this makes sense and the scriptural references were helpful (I really appreciate that - exactly what I was looking for) and I can see how one could use those to support the view that taking the bread alone could be sufficeint. But why does the Church take such a limited view of the Eucharist. Clearly Christ told his Apostles to partake of both blood and body (wine and bread). I currently fellowship in the Anglican Church and find communion/Eucharist to be the most powerful part of the service - the wine and bread being extremely important to me. I fear I would miss this terribly in a Catholic Eucharist and it seems like such an oddity, particularly given the appropriate signficance afforded the Eucharist by the Catholic church.

Most Catholic parishes have the cup available. I pass it up because I don’t like the thought of germs. There is no problem for me accepting that the Lord is completely in both.

I understand your feelings here, in fact I had this very question the very first time I posted at CAF :).

From what I have read the Cup stopped being offered for two reasons: The risk of spilling, and that some denied the Bread contained both the body and blood (ie they thought they were only getting ‘half’).

Now the Cup is offered again, but I don’t always receive under this form due to germs (which enter after the consecration). In the Eastern Catholic Rites and the Eastern Orthodox they do something called Intinction where the Host is dipped into the Blood and placed on the tongue. I personally love this concept.

I really hope that the Latin Rite would take on Intinction, it is a good and positive liturgical development.

One thing to keep in mind is that it was apostles (first NT priests/bishops) who were present when Jesus instituted the New Covenant sacrifice (Eucharistic rite of the Mass) - which involved consecrating both bread and wine, telling them to eat and drink both, and then directing them to “Do this …”. Thus, the celebrating **priest ** has always consecrated and partaken of both the body and the blood (under forms of bread and wine). It is a necessary part of the sacrificial rite Our Lord instituted.

I think the Last Supper narrative is one of the times when it is important to note who Our Lord was speaking to when the directive was given; to distinguish between directives that apply to the priesthood, but may or may not be applicable to the laity.
Almost like the reception of the Eucharist itself: the celebrating priest must partake of the Eucharist, but the it is optional for the laity who are present at Mass.


Me too.
I think it’s allowed. At least at one time it was. However, very few piests did it.


That is a good point I forgot about. The Church clearly and infallibly teaches the institution of the Eucharist was the same moment the Priesthood was instituted.

1Cor.11:23-26 reads,
"For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you;'The Lord Jesus ,on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he gave thanks, he broke it and said, "this is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.
In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "this cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it in remembrance of me. Whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes."
Why do you omit the cup?

God bless,

What scripture??

The passage you just quoted, as a matter of fact. All the institution accounts include the instruction to “do this,” to make the meal present again. The word “this” is most logically taken to refer to all of Jesus’ previous actions in the ceremony, including the words He spoke when consecrating the bread and wine and the act of breaking the bread. Only the Apostles received this direction and were thus able to bring the rite to fruition as a sacrament; therefore, they are the first priests, with Holy Orders given to them at this moment.

Note that this is distinct from Jesus’ directions to eat and drink for eternal life in John 6, which are directed to a much wider group of believers.

Hi jean8,

We don’t omit the cup. (See my post #6). Just the opposite - it must be present at every Mass and consumed by the priest. In speaking to the apostles, Jesus said “Do this…”

The first part of the passage is a recalling of Our Lord’s words said at the Last Supper. His next words “Whenever you eat this bread…” are an explanation of the rite, not a command. That is, Paul’s words do not order that all present at the rite must receive the Eucharist, or that those receiving must receive both species.

I have not read the history of the reception of the cup by the laity - whether it was always received by them at first; if so, when it was no longer mandated; why, etc.
I do know that very early on the Eucharist was taken to those who could not attend (eg. sick, infirm, imprisoned) the rite, and I believe it was only the bread that was taken to them.
I can also understand “why” it was no longer required. For example, there were no doubt many times when it was impossible to acquire enough wine for those present, times when plague outbreaks were occurring, etc.

Hope this helps explain.

I explained my position from scripture on which I will stand. :slight_smile:
Yes, I realize the priest has the cup, but this is a sacrament. It should be given to the laity as well…
The Bible tells us 1Cor.11:29 "For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord, eats and drinks judgment on himself "

God bless,

In Luke 24:30, when resurrected Jesus joined two of his disciples on their way to Emmaus, they finally recognized him when he “took the bread, gave thanks, broke it and began giving to them”. No mention of the wine.

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