So when we say “come again” we don’t mean “come again,” because he’s already here and never left, right? What is meant by “ascended into Heaven” then?
The bread and the wine don’t transform into Jesus, they transubstantiate into Jesus. Jesus is God, and God can do anything.
Jesus is with us always, until the end, indeed. (Matthew 18:20, Matthew 28:20). But what the Church generally means by the “second coming” is the resurrection and judgment of all the dead by Jesus Christ.
Jesus exists in His glorified body in physical mode in heaven; He is also (already) present in sacramental mode in the Eucharist here on earth. The Parousia refers to a reappearance on earth of the former, not of the latter.
…first we must establish one very important factor:
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Realizing this would enable us to understand the various Revelations and factors within the Revelations (both Prophecy and Teaching).
I must concur with you that these ideologies seem to be knocking heads… if taken on face value of the text. We know that Jesus is Present in the Eucharist because He attests to it:
26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (St. Matthew 26:26-27)
53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. (St. John 6:53-56)
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 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.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
So we find Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist–always Present in the world.
Yet, Christ Himself attest to the fact that He Returns to the Father, in Heaven:
If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, (St. John 14:28b)
Ok, so Jesus is both Present on earth and Present in Heaven… is He coming again (returning) as in the Parousia? Yes!:
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-10)
7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,”
and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
So shall it be! Amen.
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Apocalypse 1:7-8)
Quite a conundrum… is there a way to untangle this… make it comprehensible? Yes; the Key is the Holy Spirit… since God is Spirit, He can be in all places all the time and all at once… does that mean that He is everywhere and can be seen by everyone? No! It means that He *can be *Present everywhere and *can allow *everyone to see/know Him:
11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; (St. John 14:11)
7 But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you that I go: for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
16 A little while, and now you shall not see me; and again a little while, and you shall see me: because I go to the Father. (St. John 16:7, 16)
19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. (St. John 14:19, 22-24)
Since the Holy Spirit is the Key, here’s how it works:
15 If you love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever. 17 The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him: but you shall know him; because he shall abide with you, and shall be in you. (St. John 14:15-17)
Jesus is Present in the Eucharist, Revealed through the Holy Spirit; at the Parousia (Second Coming) He will be Manifested to all: Believers and non-Believers and even those who have long passed.
Augustine addresses a similar question in his “Sermon 272”
What you see on God’s altar, you’ve already observed during the night that has now ended. But you’ve heard nothing about just what it might be, or what it might mean, or what great thing it might be said to symbolize. For what you see is simply bread and a cup - this is the information your eyes report. But your faith demands far subtler insight: the bread is Christ’s body, the cup is Christ’s blood. Faith can grasp the fundamentals quickly, succinctly, yet it hungers for a fuller account of the matter. As the prophet says, “Unless you believe, you will not understand.” [Is. 7.9; Septuagint] So you can say to me, “You urged us to believe; now explain, so we can understand.” Inside each of you, thoughts like these are rising: “Our Lord Jesus Christ, we know the source of his flesh; he took it from the virgin Mary. Like any infant, he was nursed and nourished; he grew; became a youngster; suffered persecution from his own people. To the wood he was nailed; on the wood he died; from the wood, his body was taken down and buried. On the third day (as he willed) he rose; he ascended bodily into heaven whence he will come to judge the living and the dead. There he dwells even now, seated at God’s right. So how can bread be his body? And what about the cup? How can it (or what it contains) be his blood?” My friends, these realities are called sacraments because in them one thing is seen, while another is grasped. What is seen is a mere physical likeness; what is grasped bears spiritual fruit. So now, if you want to understand the body of Christ, listen to the Apostle Paul speaking to the faithful: “You are the body of Christ, member for member.” [1 Cor. 12.27] If you, therefore, are Christ’s body and members, it is your own mystery that is placed on the Lord’s table! It is your own mystery that you are receiving! You are saying “Amen” to what you are: your response is a personal signature, affirming your faith. When you hear “The body of Christ”, you reply “Amen.” Be a member of Christ’s body, then, so that your “Amen” may ring true! But what role does the bread play? We have no theory of our own to propose here; listen, instead, to what Paul says about this sacrament: “The bread is one, and we, though many, are one body.” [1 Cor. 10.17] Understand and rejoice: unity, truth, faithfulness, love. “One bread,” he says. What is this one bread? Is it not the “one body,” formed from many? Remember: bread doesn’t come from a single grain, but from many. When you received exorcism, you were “ground.” When you were baptized, you were “leavened.” When you received the fire of the Holy Spirit, you were “baked.” Be what you see; receive what you are. This is what Paul is saying about the bread. So too, what we are to understand about the cup is similar and requires little explanation. In the visible object of bread, many grains are gathered into one just as the faithful (so Scripture says) form “a single heart and mind in God” [Acts 4.32]. And thus it is with the wine. Remember, friends, how wine is made. Individual grapes hang together in a bunch, but the juice from them all is mingled to become a single brew. This is the image chosen by Christ our Lord to show how, at his own table, the mystery of our unity and peace is solemnly consecrated. All who fail to keep the bond of peace after entering this mystery receive not a sacrament that benefits them, but an indictment that condemns them. So let us give God our sincere and deepest gratitude, and, as far as human weakness will permit, let us turn to the Lord with pure hearts. With all our strength, let us seek God’s singular mercy, for then the Divine Goodness will surely hear our prayers. God’s power will drive the Evil One from our acts and thoughts; it will deepen our faith, govern our minds, grant us holy thoughts, and lead us, finally, to share the divine happiness through God’s own son Jesus Christ. Amen!
Very nice and logical (which I appreciate greatly) analysis. But I guess where you’ve lost me is that it isn’t just in the form of the Holy Spirit that he’s present, according to RCC theology. The bread actually becomes body and blood, so doesn’t that mean the body and blood of Jesus are physically, locally present here on Earth but also physically and locally in heaven? How can his physical body be in several thousand places at one time? Through the Holy Spirit, sure, but you’re saying his physical body is in all of these places too, right?
I think one of the important distinctions to make is that it is his “glorified” body. The one he used to walk through walls, the one he rose from the dead, the one that could appear and disappear at will anywhere biblically at will. St. John distinguishes this as well when he says in John and 1 John that you have “eternal life” within you when referring to Jesus Body. St. Paul states that when we rise from the dead at the resurrection we will be like him. :
1 Cor 15:40 There are celestial bodies and there are terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. 42 so is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. 50 I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature
must put on immortality.
St. John also tells us
1 Jn 3:2 Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
This is Jesus body and blood now, a body which has put on immortality which we are also promised. The is the body present in heaven and in the Eucharist.
While not a teaching of the church, you have touched on something I believe is important with regard to the Eucharist. In his bread of life discourse Jesus says this:
**John 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." **
Jesus says whoever “sees” him and believes he will raise on the last day. Also there is a distinction John makes with regard to eternal life and being raised on the last day. We see and believe and have eternal life (Jesus glorified body in the eucharist) THEN he says he will raise them on the last day. Well where do we “see” him? and in context he is talking about the Eucharist in 6 John.
And again in Jn 6:54 you see the distinction between having “eternal life” in you and being raised on the last day.
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; 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 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.
in 56 there is a symbiosis for lack of a better term, you *abide *in him with his glorified body and he abides in you.
It is difficult to put into mind… I attempted to show you that God, being a Spiritual Being, can be in all places all at once. Christ, the Word, having become Incarnate took on the flesh of man. Since He is Spirit He is able to be in all places at once (both in Heaven and on earth). Through His Power He is able to Consecrate the bread and wine and make it His Body (Flesh) and Blood–and He can do this throughout the whole world in each Catholic Altar that the Blessing is pronounced in Communion with His Mystical Body.
Do you recall the various blessings of the food (bread and fish), how thousands of people ate, were satisfied, and there were plenty doggy bags to take back home? Christ merely blessed the material food and Spiritually it multiplied (ever seen Star Trek?–that’s where the idea of the materialization of things from energy came from). Christ does the same for the Eucharist: He Blesses and transforms all at once while still Being in Heaven.