Eucharist Question

How do we know that the Eucharist is actually Jesus’s Body and Blood? Could the bread and wine just be a symbolic commemoration service of His death?

I’d suggest you get out your Bible and read John 6, followed by the Last Supper. That is what basically convinced me.

Who instituted the Eucharist? Jesus
What are the words He used in instituting the Eucharist?

Matthew 26:26
The Institution of the Lord’s Supper ] 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.”Full Chapter

Mark 14:22
The Institution of the Lord’s Supper ] And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” Full Chapter

Luke 22:19
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Full Chapter

Reading the full chapter, in each case, you’ll see in extension what He also says about the wine and His blood

When Jesus said to His apostles “Do thisποιεῖτε ,Jesus was giving them the ability to actually “DO” what He did there. Open that link.

Jesus ordained them to do this.

We take Jesus at His word, and we have the Church Jesus established, to bring this sacrament forward from this very table at the Last Supper

It truly is His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. What a gift! The Mass and Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith.

It helps to pray for deeper faith in this profound mystery. And, we don’t have to “feel” anything when we go up to receive Him.

We receive so many graces from the Lord when we love, trust, and have confidence in Him.

The intercession of our Blessed Mother helps much.

Peace,

Dorothy

Is it not the case that the power IS in the symbol? In John 6:60 we read that some disciples are wondering who can understand this saying. Not- who can believe these things, but who can understand? Why were they affended at this saying in John 6:61? Presumably they like the jews believed this to be a form of canabalism which would have been abhorent. Jesus is attempting to explain the difference between what the Jews presumed he was saying and what he actually meant in the following verses. He tells us in John 6:63 it is not the physical flesh which is the benefit here. It is the spirit which gives life. It is his words…from the spirit which gives life. The flesh is once removed from the truth. It is the “symbolic” manifestation of the power of God’s word given in the spirit. It is all mental. The power is in the belief. If you do not believe it benefits you nothing to take the uecharist. And yet if you believe in Christ but find yourself stranded on a desert isle without access to the Eucharist yet may you be saved.
I ask, what profit does the physical add to the spiritual? Christ gave 2 things that would save us. Believe in him and keep the commandments. Both of which can only come to us through the spirit which itself can only be manifest in the physical realm symbolically.

I beg God allow you to pour forth your wisdom to enlighten me.

Here’s the long but helpful answer to your question:

The Eucharist—John 6, OT types, The Passover and Last Supper

Jesus works three important miracles prior to the discourse on the bread of life in John 6. The three miracles are:

–the changing of the water into wine at the marriage feast of Cana
–the feeding of the five thousand with the multiplication of the loaves and fishes
–and finally Jesus walks on water. There are no parables or metaphors immediately before or after the discourse on the bread of life.

These three miracles are a preparation for the discourse in John 6 to enable the listeners to believe Jesus words in the discourse. The first two miracles demonstrate what Jesus can do with food, and the third shows what he can do with his body. The connection to food and his body in this series of miracles is no accident as it illustrates the preparation for the discourse. In the discourse itself, we find that Jesus compares giving his body and blood as true food and true drink to the miraculous food of the manna in the desert. The manna was true food and it was a miracle. Likewise, Jesus references another miracle in the discourse in verse 62. ***When the Jews did not believe Jesus’ promise of the Eucharist, he asked, “Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?” ***This reference is to his later ascension into heaven. Thus Jesus has compared his promised miracle of the Eucharist to an OT miracle of food and to a future NT miracle of his bodily ascension. Jesus clearly connects food and his body in two miracles within the discourse itself. This is again very indicator of Jesus’ literal intent.

Likewise, Jesus does not speak in parables or figurative language subsequent to the discourse on the bread of life until after there are other mentions of miracles in general and a specific reference to Jesus healing the blind man using his spittle and earth to make a salve of clay to cure the blindness[Jn 9:6]. Once again, Jesus uses common material in a miracle. It isn’t until Chapter 10 that we see any metaphors. Jesus is not speaking metaphorically in John 6 and the fact that the discourse on the bread of life is bracketed by miracles and contains references to two miracles within it tells us that he is speaking of a miracle in his promise of giving his body and blood as true food and true drink.

Another important contextual consideration is that John prefaces the discourse on the bread of life[See John 6:4] by mentioning that "the Passover… was at hand" . This is an important clue to us. Jesus is our Paschal lamb and this ties the discourse to the Last Supper.

These things are, however, only the beginning of how we know Jesus is speaking literally and not figuratively. In the discourse Jesus tells the disciples four different times and in slightly different ways that his body and blood are true food and true drink and that as such they give eternal life. Jesus uses two Greek terms. One is “phago” and the other is “trogo.” The former is a generic term “to eat.” The latter is much more graphic and means “to gnaw or chew.” Jesus goes from the weaker term to the stronger term in emphasizing his meaning to the disciples.

Here is the sequence verse by verse:
49. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.[ate/phago]
***50. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.***[eat/phago]
***51. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."***[eats/phago]
***52. The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”***[eat/phago]
***53. So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;***[eat/phago]
***54. he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.***[eats/trogo]
55. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
***56. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.***[eats/trogo]
***57. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.***[eats/trogo]
58. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever." [eats/trogo]

cont. on next post:

cont. from prior post:

It is also important to note what is said in verse 51. It says ***“and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” ***Jesus tells us that the bread that is true food that he will give us is the same flesh that will hang upon the cross for our salvation. If the bread of life that is true food is Jesus’ flesh that will hang upon the cross, then it must be literal and cannot be metaphorical. If Jesus was speaking metaphorically about giving us his body as true food, then he had to be talking metaphorically about his body being hung upon the cross for our salvation. No one believes the latter and no one should therefore doubt the former. We simply can’t have it both ways.
The OT prefigures the NT, and the OT types are but shadows of the good things to come in the NT. The manna is true food but is a lesser miracle than the Eucharist. This is made clear by the comparison in the discourse. Likewise, the ascension of the Lord in the NT is a true miracle and it is compared with the greater miracle of the Eucharist.

In verse 63 Jesus says "It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life." He is not telling us that his flesh avails nothing for it is his flesh that will hang upon the cross for our salvation. He is using the term flesh the way Paul does. It means human effort avails nothing. Attempting to carnally understand in a weak “fleshy” manner will not lead to belief in his promise. His words are spirit and life and require a spiritual man with spiritual discernment to understand and believe. Jesus rightly says that his words are spirit and life. One simply needs to read the words he spoke and believe them in faith rather than understanding them and then walking away like the disciples did. If they had misunderstood Jesus and were walking away, Jesus would have explained his meaning. This is the only occasion that Jesus let disciples walk away, and he would not have done so if they had simply misunderstood him.

As noted earlier, there were three important miracles ahead of the discourse that set the stage for what Jesus is going to tell us about the Eucharist. There is another, subtle and often missed, miracle that should also be mentioned that gives more evidence and insights into the mystery. In John 6:19-21 we read about Jesus walking on the water and the passage reads as follows:

"When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat. They were frightened, but he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going."

The distance they had rowed, prior to Jesus entering the boat, places them about half way to their destination. Once Jesus enters the boat, the boat immediately makes land. This shows Jesus doing something that totally defies the laws of time and space. Likewise, in giving us the Eucharist, Jesus clearly provides us with a miraculous gift that defies the physical laws of time and space. Even though that should be enough about the context being one of “miracles”, there is still another miracle that can be mentioned. This is the future miracle of the resurrection mentioned in John 5:29. The miracles that bracket John 6, and the miracles mentioned within the discourse itself, along with the other scriptural evidence are persuasive in showing that Jesus is not speaking metaphorically. Jesus is, instead, speaking literally about the miracle of the Eucharist.

The words of Jesus at the Last Supper could not be more clear and they coincide with the literal message of John 6. One cannot nuance Jesus’ words "This is my body."

There really is no room for metaphor in the Eucharist. The promise of Jesus concerning the Eucharist is quite real. By the way, this is only part of the evidence. If you want more, let me know.

God bless.

I’ve always wondered who Jesus was talking to when he instituted the Eucharist. Was he talking simply to the apostles? Of course not. If so then what has the last supper to do with the rest of us? We all know he was talking to anyone who wishes eternal life. So given the fact that he instituted the Eucharist and gave us the formula for what to do and how, what is it that makes us think that only the ordained priest can provide the Eucharist? Nothing in the scriptures about this biblical scene indicates as much any more than anything Christ said to an individual or group elsewhere was to apply to them alone. Barring of course those passages which are given to enlighten a particular aspect of a particular individual for a specific reason. This is not the case with the Eucharist though lest the Eucharist be only for those present at the time.

A disciple asked Christ to teach us to pray so he taught us how to pray for instance. Not just those present but everyone throughout history. He taught us what to do in remembrance of him, not just to those present, but all of us. There is no discernment between those giving the Eucharist and those receiving it in the bible since his example is for all of us to follow.

If Christ taught me how to fish why can’t I go fish together with my fellow fishermen and in this way partake of that which I have caught by the methods Christ has taught me?
It would seem that some would claim that I cannot be a fisherman-though I were taught how-nor can i partake of fish lest I be given it by a fisherman of a particular caliber so that in this way only specific fishermen may control my access to fish and only by following certain rules which seem to stray beyond the original example -even though he who taught the first fishermen to fish wills all to partake in the abundance afforded by fishing in accordance with his example.
We’re it any other institution it would seem an attempt at consolidating power for a particular group and asserting control over others…instead of being a coming together for a memorial celebration.

Luke 22:14-15, And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said to them: With desire I have desired to eat this pasch with you, before I suffer.

With all do respect I humbly ask you what light does this quote add to my darkness?
The questions remain while you’ve merely changed the context of the verse used. As a historical reference to the general events that took place I do not argue. As a request of universal significance to all of us and what is meant by the Last supper is the heart of the matter that I’m struggling with. If you say Christ ordained only them to perform the rite because he was talking only to them specifically present at the time then why believe anything else applies to us who were not there -as a commandment- since he continues to speak only to them present at the time?
God bless you for helping dispense the darkness.

I don’t know what your darkness is. He spoke to the Apostles instructing them that “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” (John 6:51)

In my previous response, I gave 3 links referencing the words of institution. I also gave the “full chapter” link because it’s a good thing to do to make it easy for the reader. Opening the "full chapter"link, you have the answer to your followup question of who was present at the table

Only the apostles are at the table

Matthew 26:26
The Institution of the Lord’s Supper ] 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.”Full Chapter

"17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the passover?”a] 18 He said, “Go into the city to such a one, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at your house with my disciples.’” 19 And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the passover. 20 When it was evening, he sat at table with the twelve disciples;**("https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+26&version=RSVCE#fen-RSVCE-28246b")]..."

Mark 14:22
The Institution of the Lord’s Supper ] And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” Full Chapter

12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the passover?” 13 And he sent two of his disciples, and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him,**(“https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+14&version=RSVCE#fen-RSVCE-28935b”)] 14 and wherever he enters, say to the householder, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I am to eat the passover with my disciples?’ 15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” 16 And the disciples set out and went to the city, and found it as he had told them; and they prepared the passover. 17 And when it was evening he came with the twelve. **18 And as they were at table eating,.…”

Luke 22:19
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Full Chapter

"7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 So Jesusa] sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the passover for us, that we may eat it.” 9 They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” 10 He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house which he enters, 11 and tell the householder, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I am to eat the passover with my disciples?’ 12 And he will show you a large upper room furnished; there make ready.” 13 And they went, and found it as he had told them; and they prepared the passover 14 And when the hour came, he sat at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I tell you I shall not eat it**(“https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+22&version=RSVCE#fen-RSVCE-30046b”)] until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

Don’t confuse what people should do, with how sacraments are brought to us.

Someone has to bring the Eucharist to us . That truth, that sacrament, comes to us only from Our Lord’s Church that He established, and His priesthood which He established.

It doesn’t come to us from Joe six pack with his personal bible and his own personal interpretations of that bible, claiming all kinds of things for himself and others.

The Holy Eucharist is a living memorial!!!

“This has always been the belief of the Church of God, that immediately after the consecration the true Body and the true Blood of Our Lord, together with His Soul and Divinity exist under the form of bread and wine.”

  • Council of Trent, Session XIII, 1st Decree, Ch. 3; Oct. 11, 1551

If the Eucharist is not truly the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus, then all the Saints were idolaters.

St. Secondo (d. 119), shortly before his death, received Communion from a dove. St. Basil (d. 379) witnessed angels in the form of humans, adoring Our Lord at Mass. So, too, did St. John Chrysostom (d. 407). St. Ita (d. 570) prayed that she might receive the Holy Eucharist from a worthy priest, and was transported miraculously by an angel to a certain location in which a holy priest gave her the Sacred Host…

There are hundreds of stories like these. If only one of them is true, Protestantism is false.

“Since then He Himself declared and said of the Bread, ‘This is My Body’, who shall dare to doubt any longer? And since He has Himself affirmed and said, ‘This is My Blood’, who shall ever hesitate, saying, that it is not His blood?”

  • St. Cyril of Jerusalem, d. 386 (Catechetical lecture 22)

“Every life is nourished by its own kind – the body by material food, the intellect by mental food. But the life we are now concerned with is Christ living in us (John 14:6; John 15:5; Galatians 2:20 etc.); the only possible food for it is Christ.”

  • Frank Sheed

“Just as the bread and wine that nourish you pass into the substance of your body, in the same way when you feed upon Him, My Son, in the Blessed Sacrament, Who is one thing with Me, penetrates your spiritual substance under the appearances of bread and wine, and you are changed into Me.”

  • The Eternal Father to St. Catherine of Siena

John 6:

52 The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?”

53 Jesus said to them, "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.

54 Whoever eats 19 my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.

55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.

56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.

No. Jesus explicitly says “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” Not “unless you partake in symbolic power,” but literally, “my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.”

In John 6:60 we read that some disciples are wondering who can understand this saying. Not- who can believe these things, but who can understand?

Actually, it’s “who can hear such things?” In other words, they can’t even begin to fathom such a difficult teaching, which – as you point out – they equate with cannibalism. Who, indeed, can eat another’s body? What’s the profit in that?

Jesus is attempting to explain the difference between what the Jews presumed he was saying and what he actually meant in the following verses. He tells us in John 6:63 it is not the physical flesh which is the benefit here. It is the spirit which gives life. It is his words…from the spirit which gives life. The flesh is once removed from the truth. It is the “symbolic” manifestation of the power of God’s word given in the spirit. It is all mental. The power is in the belief.

Sadly… no. It is not the power in us that makes the Eucharist the Eucharist – it is the fact that it is the Body of Christ. Jesus explains it plainly: “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.” You seem to be saying something different – as if Jesus had said “the one who feeds on me will have life because of his personal belief.” That’s not what He said. :wink:

I ask, what profit does the physical add to the spiritual?

That’s the whole point of v60ff – it’s not that Christ is reneging on what He’d said, it’s that he’s explaining it. You seem to be saying that He meant “oh, don’t worry about what I said – it’s just a spiritual, symbolic thing!”… and yet, if that’s what He meant, why did his disciples still leave? That doesn’t make any sense. If I told you something difficult to accept, and then said, “oh, no, I didn’t mean it that way – I meant it symbolically!”, then you’d be relieved… not shocked into running away.

No, that interpretation doesn’t work. Rather, if we recognize that Christ wasn’t backpedaling, we understand what v60ff means: He’s telling us why His body is true food and His blood true drink! It’s because the Spirit of Christ, present in the Eucharist, is what saves!

His disciples still couldn’t abide by this, because He wasn’t backpedaling.

Christ gave 2 things that would save us. Believe in him and keep the commandments. Both of which can only come to us through the spirit which itself can only be manifest in the physical realm symbolically.

You can only keep the commandments symbolically, and not physically? That must make the commandments against physical acts – adultery, murder – pretty easy to keep, if you don’t have to avoid anything physical. :wink:

He wasn’t? How do you know that?

Let’s look at it in context:

First, as Vico has already pointed out to you, in Luke 22 we see that Jesus sits down with his twelve apostles. Therefore, it follows that it’s to them that He’s speaking when he says, “do this”.

And steve quoted the Scripture to you, too! In it, we see that the referents for the statements like “he said to them” is always the same – it’s the apostles / disciples, who were there with Him at the Passover!

So, clearly, Jesus hasn’t invited all of His followers to a Passover seder – He’s invited His 12 apostles. And, it’s to them that he speaks! (Perhaps you have some Scriptural evidence that Jesus is speaking to others – can you provide this evidence to us? Otherwise, it seems clear that this is a discussion between Jesus and the 12!)

So given the fact that he instituted the Eucharist and gave us the formula for what to do and how, what is it that makes us think that only the ordained priest can provide the Eucharist?

Because that’s the audience to whom he spoke – his twelve apostles, who became the leaders of the Church, and who carried on the ministry which Christ instituted.

Nothing in the scriptures about this biblical scene indicates as much any more than anything Christ said to an individual or group elsewhere was to apply to them alone.

Hmm… isn’t that odd, then? I mean, the earliest Christians understood Him to have meant that! The earliest Christians didn’t begin celebrating Eucharist on their own! The earliest Christians understood that their bishops were the (only) ones who could confect the Eucharist! Why, then, do you think that – 1600 years later – the change in discipline about the Eucharist is the correct idea, when no one in the Church in its first 1600 years thought that this was what Jesus meant? How is it that you’ve got it right, and those who heard and saw Jesus all got it wrong?

A disciple asked Christ to teach us to pray so he taught us how to pray for instance.

Perfect example! Thanks for bringing it up!

In this case, this is an action that they were already doing! He’s not giving them something new to do – just directing them in doing something they already did! So, this doesn’t fit your case. Moreover, in this case, He does talk to everyone – to His disciples – and not just the twelve! Yet, in the Last Supper, everyone’s not there, but only His twelve. Thanks for bringing up this example – it helps prove our point, and helps refut yours! Thanks! :thumbsup:

We’re it any other institution it would seem an attempt at consolidating power for a particular group and asserting control over others…instead of being a coming together for a memorial celebration.

I know… it does seem like that, doesn’t it? I wonder if there’s anywhere in the Bible that God gives a particular ministry to a person, and others want it, and God says, "no, this ministry is for him, not you? Hmm… I wonder if that ever happened…? :hmmm:

Why, wait… there is such a passage! Take a look at Numbers 12 – Miriam and Aaron complain because Moses “consolidated power” for himself and “asserted control”, as you put it. What is God’s response? “Then the LORD called, ‘Aaron and Miriam.’ When both came forward, the LORD said: ‘Now listen to my words: … The likeness of the LORD [Moses] beholds. Why, then, do you not fear to speak against my servant Moses?’ And so the LORD’s wrath flared against them, and he departed.”

And wait – there’s more! When Korah rebels against Moses’ authority, we read in Numbers 26 that “The sons of Eliab … who contended with Moses and Aaron as part of Korah’s faction when they contended with the LORD. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, along with Korah, as a warning.”

So, yeah… God does give ministries to particular persons or groups. And yeah, some people thing it’s a power grab rather than a mission given by God. And yeah, they rail against the “consolidation of power”. But you know what? That goes against God’s plan… and that doesn’t make God happy. Ask Miriam how that leprosy worked out for her, or Korah, whether being swallowed up by the earth was a fun experience. :wink:

That’s like saying Jesus’ crucifixion is only a symbol of salvation. It doesn’t make sense, does it?

Could the bread and wine just be a symbolic commemoration service of His death?

Jesus took the bread into his hands and looking upward gave thanks and said “This is my Body…”
Take and eat.

And the same for the chalice of wine saying “This is my blood …”
Take and drink.

Then he said “As often as you do this, do this in memory of me.”

Here is something to ponder over … if it was just a memorial of him, then why did he go to all that trouble to say “this is my body” and “this is my blood”? Why did he not just break the bread and pass it to his apostles, and give the chalice of wine to his apostles? He went to extra effort to say “this is my body…” and “this is my blood …” There was no need to say these words if it were just a memorial and nothing more. He could have left those words out and it still could have been a memorial.

But he said those words and that is the memorial which was so special from all of the other times he ate with them. And he added the words, “As often as you do THIS, do this in memory of me.” Meaning the memory is in doing that very thing which he did, “this is my body…” “this is my blood …”

And what a Living Memorial it is!

The manna from heaven fed the Israelites in the desert.

Our Risen Glorious Lord feeds Himself to us in the desert of this life.

During the public ministry of Our Lord Jesus Christ there were two times that he fed the hungry crowd.

After one of those times there were seven full baskets left over. (Perfect number).

After another one of those times there were twelve full baskets left over. (Another perfect number.)

The Risen Glorious Lord gives Himself to us many times, and to many people in the Eucharist.

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