How to explain receiving the Trinity and Jesus in the flesh to a muslim?

Hello brothers and sisters,

I am having a back and forth discussion with a muslim on youtube. This is what he is trying to understand:

“Are Christians cannibal? I ask as they believe in a triune God. The Father, the son (Jesus) and the Holy spirit. When they receive the Holy Spirit as they claim, they must receive the other two as well. I can concede the Holy Spirit and the Father but Jesus in the Flesh is cannibalism. Some one please explain the three separate entities in one again that you receive and how this works with the Jesus in the flesh part again. If they are 3 in 1 then receiving the holy ghost you receive the Father and Jesus in the flesh as well. where is the Jesus in the flesh part of this Trinity. When you are born again what happens to the Jesus in the flesh part of the Trinity for you?”

I feel inclined to respond with, “It is a spiritual reception, well, except the case of the Eucharist, where we truly receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, of Jesus Christ - it is not a symbol as so many think. =)”

However, I do not feel this would be an adequate response. Any links or books I can refer this person to? Thank you so much.

God bless.

The term cannibalism implies a destruction of the flesh, tearing of the flesh. But Jesus can not be harmed in any way in consuming the Eucharist. While bodily present, he is present in a unitary way. Breaking the host into 2 or 4 or 8 pieces does not break the body of Christ. He remains present whole and entire under the appearances of any portion of the host or any drop from the chalice. We receive him whole and entire.

Jesus eucharistic presence is a real presence but it is not a fleshly one.


Great responses, thank you.

However, I feel that this Muslim person is ignorant of the Eucharist - or maybe not - and is asking specifically how it is possible to receive the Trinity, after a big conversion, if Jesus is of flesh (I think that is what he is wondering)?

Apart from the Eucharist, a person’s initial conversion is one simply of a spiritual reception of accepting God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness, right? Hm… I guess that does not fully explain how the Trinity dwells in us though.

I usually find it’s impossible to reason with Muslims online.

It can’t be considered cannibalism because that would mean both the substance and accidents of the Eucharist would have to be Jesus. The substance (body, blood, soul and divinity) is Jesus, and is truly present, but the accidents (texture, taste, appearance, etc.) are not Jesus.

As far as who is present in the Eucharist, it is only Jesus. Just because all members of the trinity are God does not mean we receive all of them or at the same time. I think CCC 1358 explains it well:

We must therefore consider the Eucharist as:

  • thanksgiving and praise to the Father;
  • the sacrificial memorial of Christ and his Body;
  • the presence of Christ by the power of his word and of his Spirit.

I find the same with Catholics. :D:D:D

The best explanation would be simple obedience. As C.S. Lewis says, the command is to take and eat, not take and understand.

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