Real Presence At Last Supper


#1

I am in a religious debate with my girlfriend’s father. He has put the question to me about the real presence of God in the Eucharist during the Last Supper. He has indicated some time sequence objections. I have an idea on how I will respond, but I am looking for some more input or information to use. I have already quoted many of the Fathers. Here is the dialogue;

(1) In response to my question about the nature of the “Body & Blood” of Christ at the Last Supper, you explained that “the bread and the wine was consecrated to become his true body and blood just like it has in the celebrations of the Eucharist thereafter. Jesus is God, time and space do not affect his abilities to make present something that takes place historically later in our sense of time.”

Granted since he is God, Jesus can do anything he chooses to do, but the nature of the Eucharist has time/sequence ramifications (unlike the character of God). The Old Testament believers in Jehovah God, the Israelites, offered animal sacrifices to atone for their sins until Messiah (Christ) would come to die for them. The writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews maintains that Christ’s death was the “once for all” sacrifice (Heb. 7:27 & 10:10). The word “once” is a time-related word, a threshold word indicating a point of beginning. Speaking of Christ’s death and resurrection, the writer says, “But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:12 - NIV). Christ sat down at God’s right hand after a specific point in time, that is, following his sacrificial death on the cross.

Hebrews 10:1-18 culminates with the claim, “And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.” There was a time and place for the sacrifice of “bulls and goats” because it was commanded in the Old Testament. But that time ended at the death of Christ. That’s why the curtain in the Holy of Holies in the Temple, which separated the High Priest on the Day of Atonement from the people, split in two at the moment of Christ’s death (Matthew 27:50-51). The ripping of the curtain symbolized the end of sacrificing animals and using Temple altars. Until the death of Christ, it was still appropriate for Jews to offer sacrifices for sins in anticipation of Christ’s death.

My point is that by transforming the contents of the cup, which the disciples drank at the Last Supper, to become the blood of Christ which was yet to be shed, such a suspension of time/space circumstances operates out of harmony with everything else that occurs instantaneously at the historical moment of Christ’s death. Only at the moment Christ
died was salvation secured for sinners and that event becomes the climax of all human history. If the effectiveness of Christ’s blood can be moved back in time, then it would appear unnecessary to have the Israelites sacrifice animals for centuries before Christ died.

Please advise on theological response to this objection. Thanks for your help.

St. Gerard


#2

Hi St. G,

Jesus bloody sacrifice is nothing if not preceded by an unbloody sacrifice, in other words accepting the Father’s mission that must necessarily lead to His passion and death.

At the weddding in Cana, when His Mother tells him about the wine, he seems to refuse at first to do anything about the situation by saying, “My hour has not yet come.”

Yet, he accepts, upon Mary’s intercession, to let his “hour” begin.From that moment on, at the very least, he has accepted the sacrifice. The sacrifice has, so to say, been “activated”.

So one does not have to do any space-time gymnastics to accept the “first mass” as an unbloody version of the bloody version to come on the next day.

I call your attention also to John 17, 4, from Jesus’ speech at the last supper :

I glorified you on earth; I completed the work that you had given me to accomplish.

He considers His life’s work already done. He has already “laid down His life.”

Verbum


#3

Here are a few suggestions.

First, I would start with John 6.

52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 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. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. 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.”

Well, as those who left him in the following verses realised, he is either talking about cannibalism, or there is something that they don’t quite understand. Later we find out what he was speaking of.

[font=Arial]Matt 26

26 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.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Mark 14

22 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.” 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.

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.” 20 And likewise the cup after supper, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

Yes, this is Christ’s blood poured out for us as the new covenant. How can this be true if Christ had not died, if the cup was not full of the blood of his sacrifice on the cross? It was filled with the blood of his sacrifice, how it could be there on the night before his death is a miracle, just as is a miracle how it is present in the chalice at Mass today.

[font=Arial]1Cor.11

26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

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Time is of no importance, Christ has made his sacrifice present in the Eucharist before, and after his death on the cross. It is the new covenant.

Hope this helps.:slight_smile: LMK if you use it, and how it comes out.

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#4

Truly, Christ transcends both time and space with his once for all sacrifice. He transforms the yearly passover meal into the once for all perfect sacrifice by making himself the paschal lamb.

When he speaks the words of consecration at that first Eucharist, he does indeed make his sacrifice present to the apostles–the one and same sacrifice which will take place on the cross the following day, and which is made present to us in each Eucharist. On the cross he says “It is finished.” Both the one sacrifice and the new passover are thus consummated.


#5

[quote=JimG]Truly, Christ transcends both time and space with his once for all sacrifice. He transforms the yearly passover meal into the once for all perfect sacrifice by making himself the paschal lamb.

When he speaks the words of consecration at that first Eucharist, he does indeed make his sacrifice present to the apostles–the one and same sacrifice which will take place on the cross the following day, and which is made present to us in each Eucharist. On the cross he says “It is finished.” Both the one sacrifice and the new passover are thus consummated.
[/quote]

Absolutely, I could never understand how protestants could deny this in scripture. By the protestant literal reading of the bible, taking everything at face value, how can there be any question.


#6

If I may offer my .2 cents worth. If one was to take John 17:4 alone, and not include the entire chapter, the COMPLETED work could simply mean His ministry while on earth. We all know what Christ Jesus was talking about concerning His Body and Blood, but an argument could still be made otherwise.

We know not to take just one small passage and form a completed understanding of doctrine, but that is what alot of our Protestant brothers and sisters do.


#7

I appreciate all of your input. I am familiar with the Eucharstic scriptures in John 6 and the Last Supper discourses. I am more concerned with how to respond relative to Christ being present in the First Eucharist which was before the actual crucifixion, or the slaying of passover lamb. This encorporates the question on whether the disciples could have eaten the lamb before he was actually slain. Were they given the grace necessary for eternal life before Christ had died for our sins?


#8

[quote=St. Gerard]I appreciate all of your input. I am familiar with the Eucharstic scriptures in John 6 and the Last Supper discourses. I am more concerned with how to respond relative to Christ being present in the First Eucharist which was before the actual crucifixion, or the slaying of passover lamb. This encorporates the question on whether the disciples could have eaten the lamb before he was actually slain. Were they given the grace necessary for eternal life before Christ had died for our sins?
[/quote]

Dear St. Gerard:

Good question. I’m not much of a theologian, but I answered one of my protestant friends by reminding him that Scripture does not limit the Cross to time and space, as has been pointed out. Specifically, in Revelations 13:8, we read that the “lamb was slain from the foundation of the world.”

Although we don’t read about the Crucifixion in the first few chapters of Genesis, this does not mean that the salvific work of Our Lord was not already a reality, otherwise how could the passage from Revelations be true?

Elijah was taken to heaven in a Chariot, yet we know from the Letter to the Hebrews that nothing in the Old Covenant saves man. Clearly, Elijah’s salvation came from the shed blood of Christ on the cross, even though the Crucifixion doesn’t occur for centuries later.

From the Catholic perspective, the Last Supper truly was a sharing in the Body and Blood of Christ, even though on one level the shedding of the Blood was not revealed to mankind until the next day at Calvary AND even though it had already been shed since the foundation of the world.

Fiat


#9

[quote=St. Gerard]I am in a religious debate with my girlfriend’s father. He has put the question to me about the real presence of God in the Eucharist during the Last Supper. He has indicated some time sequence objections. I have an idea on how I will respond, but I am looking for some more input or information to use. I have already quoted many of the Fathers. Here is the dialogue;

[/quote]

Think about it, if you were at a meal with 12 others, would you not eat your own bread and drink from your own cup.

Why would you drink from a cup that someone else offered around, wouldn’t everyone at the table have their own bread and wine, seems a bit strange to take what someone at one end of the table was offering.


#10

Joshua,

I don’t get your point. What are you trying to say?

St. Gerard.


#11

[quote=Fiat]Dear St. Gerard:

Good question. I’m not much of a theologian, but I answered one of my protestant friends by reminding him that Scripture does not limit the Cross to time and space, as has been pointed out. Specifically, in Revelations 13:8, we read that the “lamb was slain from the foundation of the world.”

Although we don’t read about the Crucifixion in the first few chapters of Genesis, this does not mean that the salvific work of Our Lord was not already a reality, otherwise how could the passage from Revelations be true?

I think this answer is at the crux (so to speak) of the matter. This is especially the case when we remember that Christ’s priesthood is eternal.

**Hebrews 5:5 **

In the same way, it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest, but rather the one who said to him: “You are my son; this day I have begotten you”;
6
**just as he says in another place: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” **
7
In the days when he was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.
8
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered;
9
and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him,
10
declared by God high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

In comparing Jesus’ priesthood to that of Melchizedek, the writer points out it’s eternity–not in the sense that it will last forever from here on out, but that it has always existed.

Hebrews 7:1
1 This “Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of God Most High,” “met Abraham as he returned from his defeat of the kings” and "blessed him."
2
3 And Abraham apportioned to him “a tenth of everything.” His name first means righteous king, and he was also “king of Salem,” that is, king of peace.
3
**Without father, mother, or ancestry, without beginning of days or end of life, thus made to resemble the Son of God, he remains a priest forever. **

In summary, Jesus’ priesthood, and thus his sacrifice is eternal “from the foundation of the world.” The Eucharist, as a re-presentation of that one sacrifice, is and always has been eternal, even at the Last Supper.
[/quote]


#12

I agree that Christs sacrifice is spiritual and transends physical time. I believe that our spiritual God is Omni-Present to the whole of physical time and space which He created.

Before His ressurection, Jesus clearly makes the point that St. Abraham, St. Isaac and St. Jacob are not dead waiting to ressurect but alive in heaven. We know that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ressurect into eternal life through Jesus’ death and ressurection. If what Jesus is telling us is true, and it is, then Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ressurect into spiritual omni-presents to the whole of physical time or, in other words, rise to eternal life. It seems that those born of the Spirit and Spiritual Eucharist are omni-present to the whole of past, present and future physical time or, in other words, are eternal. People underestimate the power of God.

NAB MAR 12:18

Then some **Sadducees who hold there is no resurrection **came to him with a question …\…12:24 Jesus said: “You are badly misled, because you fail to understand the Scriptures or the power of God. When people rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage but live like angels in heaven. As to the raising of the dead, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God told him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob’? He is the God of the living not of the dead, You are very much mistaken.”

Peace in Christ,
Steven Merten
www.ILOVEYOUGOD.com


#13

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