How can I explain the Eucharist more clearly?


#1

I’m sure this question has been brought up a lot, but I am having trouble explaining the Eucharist to my dad. He was raised as a Southern Baptist. I have told him that we believe it to be the true body and blood of Jesus Christ, not a symbol. And I have explained and read the verses from the book of John to him. I have also explained that if Christ didn’t truly mean what he said when he said it was his body and blood, he would have corrected himself when he lost many of his followers because they were offended by the mentioning of cannibalism.
He just keeps saying “It can’t truly be his body and blood, because if it was, how was he standing there telling them it was his body and blood? It’s not like he was literally cutting off slabs of his flesh and putting it on the table. He was holding bread and wine and saying that it was his body and blood. To me that means he was saying that it symbolizes his body and blood”
I don’t really know how to respond to this. I did finish RCIA near the end of last year, so I am still relatively new to people challenging me like this. Any help/advice would be great! Thanks!


#2

Keep in mind that Jesus was God. Would it not be within God’s power for his body to be both visible in his person and also under the appearances of bread and wine in his hand at the Last Supper? Notice he says “this IS my body” not “this represents my body.”


#3

You father is in an “either / or” mode which is not all that uncommon in some protestant circles. We see it here all the time.
As mentioned above, what prevents God from being both present in the flesh at the institution AND being truly present in the appearance of the bread and wine?

Jesus fed the multitudes from 5 loaves and 2 fish. Did he do this by “lopping off chunks”?
No - He did it through a miraculous work. Why would your father think that one miracle is possible and the other one not possible?

Of course you are unlikely to convince him with these arguments. about the best you can hope for is to plant a seed or two.

Peace
James


#4

That (being within God’s power for his body to be both visible in his person and also under the appearances of bread and wine) is something that I am sure would be great to bring up when we discuss it. Thank you for your reply :slight_smile:


#5

Indeed. I think it is interesting that some can find it easy to believe one miracle is possible and that another is not. Don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful that my father raised me in Christianity, and I am thankful that we can share a common faith in Jesus Christ as our lord and savior.
I just would like to, as you put it, plant a few seeds that spark his interest. That is about all it took to get me interested and involved in RCIA :slight_smile:


#6

This is still the biggest thing in Catholicism I can’t wrap my head round and it just so happens to the be thing which makes Catholics Catholic. I am going to keep an eye on this thread!


#7

ask him if he believes his God is almighty and if yes, say do you not think this gift is possible?

here


#8

copiosa.org/sacraments/sacraments_sheen_eucharist.htm

Peace


#9

If you can, even show him a few Eucharistic miracles! :thumbsup:


#10

Baptists and Fundamentalist put a lot of boundaries on God. Like he can’t do certain things. But he’s God right?

Sometimes a return to the miraculous is what’s needed and an easing of the rational mind .

God does not need to fit into our logic. I mean this is the same Jesus that rose from the dead right?!

That said, check out this link, it has a ton of quotes from the early church on the Eucharist. If the guys that knew the Apostles personally believed this shouldn’t we??

therealpresence.org/eucharst/father/fathers.htm


#11

I would invite your dad to sit in an Adoration Chapel in front of the Blessed Sacrament for one hour. For there his question will be answered. :wink:


#12

Jesus said what He said, we can either believe Him or we can believe that He was lying, Jesus really didn’t, it seems to me, leave any wiggle room here.

I used to believe that the Catholic Eucharist Is Jesus until the Holy Spirit revealed to me that the Catholic Eucharist Is Jesus, now I “know” it to be true.


#13

There are two great books I would recommend you both read and discuss and pray about together. One is “Jesus and the Jewish Understanding of the Eucharist” by Brant Pitre and the “Lamb’s Supper” by Scott Hahn. They both do an excellent job of shedding light on this teaching. Pitre is a Jewish guru who converted to Catholicism I believe after using his research to try and disprove the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist so its powerful stuff he covers. He takes us back to what the 1st century understanding of Jesus’ teaching in this area. Totally fascinating and one that most Christians today are not even aware of.

Also, check out Father Barron’s “Catholicism” series of DVD’s. Well worth the money and there is one devoted to the Eucharist and many other aspects of Catholic faith. I’ve held Bible study groups using these DVDs and they are AWESOME as all have mentioned.

Your father is thinking as men think and it shows in that he thinks God cannot do what Jesus says in giving us his flesh and blood. There are NO LIMITS to what God can do and this is something we should NEVER forget. Either Jesus was a crazy man, a liar, or truly God speaking the truth and doing the miracles.

I’d also like to ask one question and this is not a joke. What do 1st Century Jews and Protestants have in common? They both take issue with the physical nature of God. The 1st Century Jews couldn’t believe that God would become a man. Protestants that deny the Eucharistic teaching of the Catholic Church take issue that Jesus could not give us himself in a bloodless manner through the forms of bread and wine. God can do ANYTHING and if Jesus said, “This is my body” and “This is the cup of my blood” then I’m going to take him at his truthful word as God cannot lie. Six times in John 6 Jesus said it’s truly himself there using different choices of words. Not once did he say, “I’m using metaphors or symbols here.” In fact, when questioned and confronted that this teaching was difficult to follow Jesus doubled down on it and insisted further that it IS his body and blood and that we should not just eat his flesh but we should gnaw on it. Further, every time the Eucharist is mentioned in the 4 Gospels and the other books in the New Testament the word “IS” appears in the sense of This IS my body, This IS my blood. I’ll pray for your and your father so it goes well.


#14

Just back form Church and a wonderful homily on the Lamb of God.

Ask your dad if he believes that Jesus is the lamb of God.
Assuming he says yes, take him to Exodus 12:1-28 and the instructions of the passover.

Ask him, did the Israelites eat a symbol of the passover lamb or did they eat the actual lamb?

Now consider…Jesus tells us in John 6 that if we do not eat his body and drink his blood we will have no life in us. This harkens back to the angel of death passing over (Ex 12:12-13). If we do not eat of the lamb, we will not be passed over.
At the passover of Christ’s crucifixion, He makes this clear by his actions…This IS my body. This IS my blood. The blood of the new covenant. A real covenant with real blood (only under the appearance of wine).

I’m sure others can provide better explanations of this parallel but I hope this helps a bit.

Peace
James


#15

I could understand the bread and wine being symbolic but it’s when you say it’s real, actual body and blood.
But you’re eating bread and drinking wine, not actual human flesh or blood.

Sorry to be so blunt because it’s your beliefs and all.


#16

It comes through faith. It appears and tastes like bread and wine but it is the GLORIFIED body and blood of Christ.

We believe it because we believe Jesus is God and he meant what he said. All the writings from the early church tell of this belief. (See my link above).

Similar to the cremation issue on our other thread, if we believe Jesus is really God why could this stand in his way ?


#17

It just reminds me of cannibalism I suppose.


#18

Yes I can see that. And if we had slabs of meat id agree but this is Christ 's glorified resurrected body which is not of this world (went through walls, traveled great distances, etc…)

It is a matter of faith ultimately so, let something like this be toward the end of your journey into Christianity.

It’s interesting that in the ancient church they were often accused of cannibalism because if a misunderstanding of this practice.

They also would send the catechumens out during the communion and present this teaching to them toward the end of their 3 year formation.


#19

A literal interpretation of Christ’ words is justified from the context of the passage of John 6,51-58 Some disciples leaving Him is a clear indication that they understood Him literally, not figuratively (Jn6:60-68) St. Paul reinforces this doctrine of faith. (l Cor.11:27-30) Paul speaks of the Blessing Cup of Christ’s blood. (l Cor l0: l6) The changing of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood is called “Transubstantiation” The substance changes but the accidents (taste, size, color, weight etc ) remain the same. Catholics believe that when the priest pronounces the words of Christ found in Mat.26;26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:19-20 and l Cor ll:24-25 the change takes place. This is a mystery of our Christian-Catholic Faith. We know that God can do anything, look at His creation, look at the Universe. Some of our traditions include Miracles of the Eucharist. In Europe there are some Catholic Churches that display some real flesh and blood in physical form. We don’t need this but God in His love and mercy causes these miracles. These miracles are not the basis of our Faith, the Word of God is, and it is Faith in Jesus , believing and not seeing, Jesus says is more pleasing to God. We Catholics for the most part do believe and not see. I can testify to the world that God in His love and goodness allowed me to see for an instant what I believed, maybe to allow me to witness to the world of this truth. It is a gift of Faith, not reason, and it will remain so. Our pride of intellect and knowledge needs to be humbled. Faith goes beyond that. Is Christ so divided. I find it paradoxical that when the Bible should be taken literally, it isn’t. Only the chosen leaders and their successors were guaranteed infallibility in doctrine by Jesus Christ (Matt l6:16-19, Jn l6:13-15) We can run the gamut of self-righteousness by private interpretation nor are we all scripture scholars. Christ appointed leaders under one head. Satan divides. It’s God’s desire that we become one so that we can enjoy the fullness of His Spirit and graces and become one in Him


#20

If you look at John 6, the crowd that Jesus was speaking to had similar thoughts and he lost many followers because of this teaching. Rather than backing down and explaining that he was speaking metaphorically, he doubled down, saying that not only do we have to eat his flesh, but he wants us to gnaw on it! It isn’t cannibalism because we’re not eating dead human flesh, but the glorified living flesh of Christ.


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