Jesus Bread

Dear Catholics,

As always, I make it perfectly clear that I do not fully understand your religion; therefore, I ask questions. Please do not be offended if I misperceive certain information. You can just chalk it up towards my lack of experience in Catholicism, but please correct me so that I do not make the same mistake twice.

Explain to me why the bread and the wine have to physically become the flesh and blood of Jesus the Nazarene. I understand where the idea originates from, but what is the purpose behind eating your Moshiach during prayer? Is it just symbolism towards the “accept him inside of you” motif, or do Catholics fully believe that Jesus’s body has been getting picked at for about two millennia? On that note, does his body eventually run out and can no longer be eaten, or does it relate back to the fish-and-bread feast mentioned in the New Testament?

Another thing, how does this bypass cannibalism? I understand that the many upstanding Catholics do not view this as a sin, but how is eating him considered respectful?

Again, please don’t be offended, but this is foreign to me.

Your Jewish Neighbor

(NB: I’m not Catholic)

Because God promised us and gave us a command - “Take and eat, this is my body given for you”

Another thing, how does this bypass cannibalism?

There are theological nuances on why this can be considered not to be cannibalism, but we are told that we “gnaw” on His flesh (John 6:54-58) . It’s thoroughly weird, and Jesus understood that many would reject Him. Certainly, it’s a hard teaching.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

The Eucharist does sound very, very strange and shocking to our human ears, doesn’t it? The only answer is that it is a miracle, instituted by Christ at the Last Supper. The Apostles did not understand it themselves at the time, but they followed His command to “Do this in memory of Me.”

Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Eucharist:

actually right now, if you signup for the new letter (2015-01-10) you can get an MP3 where Tim Staples goes thru this in some detail.

Using the Bible, something which should be taken into account; The True Presence and the Greek Word “trogo” In John Chapter Six.

         “Jesus therefore said to them, Amen, amen I say to you, Unless you eat (φάγητε | phago) the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.  He that eateth (τρώγων  | trogo) my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath life everlasting: and I  will raise him up in the last day. For my flesh, is meat in deed: and my  blood is drink in deed: He that eateth (τρώγων |  trogo) my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. As  the living father hath sent me, and live by the father: and he that  eateth (τρώγων | trogo) me, the same also shall live by me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat (ἔφαγον | (e)phago) Manna, and died. He that eateth (τρώγων | trogo) this bread, shall live for ever.” (John 6, 53-58).     
         Throughout the sacred Scriptures we find many examples of where the  English does not render the complete and full meaning of the Greek. This  is especially true in the Greek word “trogo” (τρώγων) found in John Chapter six. The word trogo (τρώγων)  is translated in most English versions of the Bible as simply “eat” or  “eateth.” When we examine the Greek meaning of the word, we realize that  it is a very descriptive word, and is more accurately rendered in the  concept of aggressively and loudly munching, gnawing and chewing, as a  animal would eat.     
         The inspired Apostle John specifically chose to use this highly  descriptive word, rather than the generally used Greek words “esthio” (ἐσθίω,v) or “phago”(ἔφαγον)  (both of which simply mean to eat), for a reason. St. John was  attempting to drive home the thought of a very real and physical eating  of actual flesh. His inspired word usage clearly shows that Christ was  not speaking figuratively, Christ was in fact commanding his listeners  to gnaw and chew his flesh. The Jews understood that Christ was being  literal, and were disgusted at the thought (vs.52), many of Christ's own  disciples were so shocked and dismayed by his words that they left him  (v.66).

          From the Greek we see the very literal meaning of our savior's words,  The bread he was offering them is indeed the body blood soul and  divinity of Jesus Christ.         
    References for the Greek word “trogo”     

*] “# 5176 trogo: . . . through the idea of a crunching sound; to gnaw or chew” (Dictionary of the Greek Testament, By James Strong S.T.D. LL.D., p. 73)
*] “trogo to nibble, to munch, to eat audibly, to crunch” (The Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament by Fritz Reienecker, 1981,Vol. 1, p. 234)
*] “trogo: . . . Originally I Munch, I eat Audibly” (A Pocket Lexicon To The Greek New Testament, by Alexander Souter M.A., 1946, p.265)
*] “trogo: . . A hole formed by gnawing, a mouses hole” (An Intermediate Greek - English Lexicon, by Liddell and Scott, Oxford, impression of 1991, p. 822)
*] “trogo: to gnaw, crunch, chew raw vegetables or fruits (as nuts, almonds)… in other writers of animals feeding;” (New Thayer’s Greek- English Lexicon to the New Testament, By Joseph Henry Thayer D.D, 1979, p. 631)

Recommended Online Greek Bible: LXX and NT.

Jesus is the Passover Lamb, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Why do Jews eat the. Passover lamb? That is why we eat our Passover Lamb.

Well, technically speaking, cannibalism usually entails eating ‘dead’ human meat: either you maim or kill someone for food or you eat someone’s corpse. But of course, we Christians don’t believe Jesus is dead nor dies (again) when people receive communion, nor do we Catholics imagine that we’re chopping Jesus up and eat only certain body parts of His (the entire Jesus is consumed - traditionally speaking, both the bread and wine contain “the body, blood, soul, and divinity” of Jesus).

It is not “physical” per se- the word physical is short changing what is happening here. We are not receiving a piece of Jesus pinky finger or a rib bone. He has not been picked at, divided or torn apart. He has not diminished in any way. We are receiving the glorified Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus. If you are familiar with the Gospels, you will know that the glorified Body of Jesus was** real** (He ate with His disciples-- He was not a ghost) but unlike our physical bodies, He could walk through doors. So, to limit the Eucharist to mere physicality is a mistake. As someone else already said, cannibalism is to eat dead human flesh. The Eucharist is the living, glorified Christ in His wholeness. There are many pieces of bread that are given out at Mass, yet Christ is not divided.

As to the why… Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn 14:6). In the Eucharist, Jesus gives us His life which is life eternal. Indeed He says, "“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; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” Jn 6:53-54. The “Life” of God is given to us through faithful reception of the Eucharist. We receive His grace which fills us with God’s holiness. Additionally, we are made present at the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross when we receive Him in the Eucharist. It is His blood which has atoned for our sin in a way that animal sacrifice could never atone. However, the animal sacrifices and especially the Passover and exodus are all preparations for the final Passover Lamb and exodus from darkness into the kingdom of God.

All of the Sacraments are instruments that God uses to make us holy. He truly transforms our soul by His grace. But the Sacrament of the Eucharist, is food for our journey. We receive a boost of grace, we commune intimately with Him as much as we are capable. Our God does not just look on from afar, but unites Himself to us. It is a beautiful mystery and very difficult to grasp, but as a Jew, you might be able to comprehend more than you think. If you are really interested in learning more, try reading Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist by Brant Pitre. It explains this in a very readable way and is full of Scriptures from the Old Testament to support the Catholic understanding of what Jesus did. God Bless You!

I take it “Moshiach” is the ceremonial unleavened bread used by the Jews for Passover and other Jewish religious ceremonies and thus is the stuff Jesus used at the Last Supper for the first instance of Transubstantiation?


Why did God ask the Jews to circumcise their male children? :shrug:

There may be a really good reason, and I’m sure that theologians have taken a shot at answering the question over the years, but God could have chosen anything as a sign of His covenant with His people - like a tattoo above the left eye - but He didn’t. You obey because He is God, and you have faith in Him.

Similarly, Jesus didn’t have to tell us to eat His body or drink His blood; He could have chosen some other means of uniting us more closely to Himself and to one another, but He didn’t. So, we obey because He is God, and we have faith in Him.

Moshiach = Messiah :thumbsup:

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? (1 Corinthians 10:16)
Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ used the occasion of his death on the cross to offer himself up to God as a sacrificial victim, as a sin offering, for our benefit. In doing so, Jesus was both our priest and sacrificial victim. The Eucharistic celebration is one of the ways Catholics individually receive the benefits of that sin offering of Jesus.

Similar to the ancient practice of sacrificial worship, where those individual worshippers who wish to receive the benefits of a particular sacrifice consume the sacrificial victim that has been offered to the deity, the Eucharistic celebration makes it possible for today’s Catholics in a manner of speaking to “consume” the sacrificial victim (Jesus) offered so long ago by Jesus because the sacrificial victim (Jesus) becomes really and substantially present in the Eucharistic celebration when the bread and wine are transubstantiated into the resurrected and glorified Jesus himself. (See 1 Corinthians 10:16-21; 11:23-29)

When the bread and wine are transubstantiated during the Eucharistic celebration, the resurrected and glorified Jesus, who is now in heaven, is not multiplied as the loaves and fishes were in the accounts in the Bible. Rather, I like to think that every crumb of consecrated bread and every drop of consecrated wine becomes as it were an “opening” into heaven and into the immediate presence of the whole Jesus so that, if someone asks, “Where is Jesus?” you could point to the consecrated bread and/or the consecrated wine and say, “Jesus is really and substantially present there.”

Because the consecrated bread and wine are mere “openings” into heaven and into the immediate presence of Jesus, dividing them into smaller portions or consuming them, does not injure, diminish or otherwise affect the resurrected and glorified Jesus himself. Similarly, cannibalism is not an issue. And, these “openings” into the immediate presence of Jesus endure only as long as the consecrated elements retain the appearance of bread or wine.

No, that’s matzo (matzah).

The Hebrew scriptures prohibit the consumption of blood.

***Only be sure that you do not eat the blood; for the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh. *(Deuteronomy 12:23)

The blood is the life and to eat the blood of animals is to live the life of animals. Jesus however is God.

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; (John 6:53)

To drink the blood of Jesus is to drink and live the life of God.


First, why should we be offended? You asked reasonable questions in a respectful manner. If we can’t do that, it’s a sad commentary on the world. :slight_smile:

When we eat the Host and drink from the chalice, we are eating the glorified and living body of Christ and drinking His glorified blood. We don’t literally take slices of Christ from the cross. This is the divine Body and Blood given by Him in unbloody sacrifice through the miracle of transubstantiation (in short – the belief that whilst the Body and Blood retain the accidents [taste, feel, smell] of bread and wine, in their very substance they’ve been changed into Christ’s body) in furtherance of the original bloody sacrifice of His earthly body on Good Friday, AD 33. Since this body is his deific body, his divine nature, it cannot be cannibalism. Were we to have eaten His body on the Cross, that would have been. However, He instituted the Eucharist before His Passion, so as to fulfill and explain his words in the Synagogue in Capernaum recorded in John 6.

The best simile I can think of for WHY we eat the body and blood of Christ (and now it’s my turn to apologize for unintentional potential offense) is that it’s our Passover. Just as the Passover lamb suffices (or sufficed at least while Temple worship was still being observed) as sacrifice to God for the sins of the people, so we believe Christ to be for us the Paschal lamb, the lamb without blemish or spot who died for our sins, and whose body we eat for nourishment of our souls to steel us for our continued exodus from our personal Egypts of sin, and whose blood we paint at the doorposts of our soul so that the angel of death through sin cannot enter easily.


You are hitting on the heart of the matter…great job and so succinct. To keep it short I will add only one thing.

The Greek word for "life" used in John 6:53, is "zoen" which means, “divine life of God imparted to us”. There are other Greek words for “life” that St. John could have chosen, such as “bios” which simply means “life”. The fact that he chose the word that he did is very significant and further enhances your point.

God bless.

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