Real Presence Question


#1

So I understand the catholics perspective that Jesus actually said “this IS my body” etc and a passage in John regarding followers being disgusted by this thought and Jesus not explaining the meaning as he does in his parables. He just let’s them walk away.

I was reading, let’s say a quite anti catholic website which says one of the problems with the real presence is that the reason Jesus sent the Holy Spirit was because of His absence ie it seems to contradict what Jesus says there as he can’t be both present (physically) and absent at the same time. It also suggests that as Jesus often speaks symbolically in parables, it would infer that he was speaking symbolically about the bread and wine.

What would you say to an argument such as this?


#2

I would consider that the early Church fathers, including St. Paul had a pretty solid understanding of what they had been instructed in. Now why would St. Paul bother to make mention of receiving a symbol only worthily or else bringing death upon yourself. It would seem he considered the Eucharist to be more then mere symbol.

It is also helpful to read St. Justin Martyr’s (100-165 A.D.) writings from the very early Church. This real presence idea is certainly not new.

Justin’s statements in his First Apology are some of the earliest Christian expressions on the Eucharist.
“And this food is called among us Εὐχαριστία [the Eucharist] … For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.”


#3

I would say that they were selectively quoting the Bible, as Christ also says "I will be with you until the end of time (Matt. 28:20). Either Christ is a liar, or He meant what He said; and if not a liar, then He did not send the Holy Spirit because He would not be present.

AKA hanging with their own petard.

Getting into dueling quotes generally is not a good place to go, but it can be a bit of fun… (and shame on me!)! Kind of gives me the feeling of :extrahappy:


#4

Hi Truth_Faith13. I am assuming that the site is referring to John 16:7 for its ideas; it sounds a little like modalism to me. This philosophy restricts Jesus to “modes” and denies the omnipresence of Jesus. My suggestion would be to carefully read John 16: 1-15 or so. Jesus is impressing a couple of ideas: 1) that the fulfillment of His mission is necessary and 2) that He will send the Holy Spirit to convince the world of sin. He tells them that (in their humanity) although He has much more to tell them, they cannot bear it now. So reason He says that He must go so that the Holy Spirit can come to convince to world of sin is not because He is incapable, but because the mission needed fulfillment (His departure was necessary) and the apostles would be able to ‘bear the things’ that He had to tell them.

In the John 6 passage you referred to earlier, remember that the first event in that chapter was the multiplication of loaves and fishes. The 2 loaves could not feed the 5000, but the bread when raised to heaven and offered by Jesus could easily feed the whole crowd in abundance. And so, we can be assured that Jesus is omnipresent; He is present is the tabernacle at my parish, and also at yours.

Hope this helps and makes some sense.


#5

LOL. Agreed. :thumbsup:


#6

When God says I AM he is never speaking symbolically. John 6:35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. Catholics also understand Jesus is a bridegroom at the same time being the Passover lamb, we understand Revelation 19:9 To be speaking about the Eucharist "Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” … Catholics never dropped or forgot the ancient Jewish context which the Bible was written.


#7

I have to say your answer of when God says I AM is never symbolic doesn’t make sense. According to that theory, and the remainder of the verse, we should never be hungry or thirsty if we partake in communion!


#8

The passage is from John.
First let’s get away from the term “real presence” other denominations clam the same and it is an inadequate description. At the consecration the bread becomes the body Christ and the wine the bread of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
What those web pages do not understand is that the trinity is all present at the mass. Because they refuse to accept the miracle happens at the mass that mere earthly food becomes heavenly food, they work to discredit it.
Christ said we must eat his body and drink his blood to have eternal life, he was no speaking symbolically, he was speaking of the gift and sacrament of the Eucharist given to us at the last supper.
I suggest closing the web and picking up the Catechism of the Church.
Dcn. Frank


#9

It is really hard to understand how people could misunderstand the meaning. Our Lord was quite clear. Even the early reformers believed in the real physical presence of Christ in the consecrated Species. The Presence of Christ in the Eucharest is exactly as his Glorified physical Presence after his Resurrection.

The following link from the Catechism of the Catholic Church will explain most of what you need to know about what the Catholic Church teaches. You should read the preceeding and following sections for a more full understanding. You should also follow the footnotes which are referred to in the body of the section.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church
vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P3Z.HTM

A couple more points. Christ is present beneath each crumb and each drop of the species. He is present in as many hosts and in as many " cups " as are consecrated at any one time on any altar in the world at any given moment. That is, he is physically present in his glorified body and blood, whole and entire, body and soul, human nature and Divine in every crumb, drop, all at one time. At the same time his glorified body is " sitting " " at the right hand " of the Father in Heaven.

For a phylosophical explanation of the Eucharest follow the following link. It is difficult reading and will take care to understand. If you have questions, you can ask me.

newadvent.org/summa/4.htm ( Read the section on the Holy Eucharist, questions 73-83.

Linus2nd


#10

The reason Jesus lets them walk away with out explaination is that what he said was not a parable. A parable needs explaination to get the meaning, but actual reality needs no explaination because it is a situation where a person accepts it at face value or they don’t.

In answer to the part about Jesus being physically present and absent at the same time indicated by sending the Holy Spirit…

He became physically absent to his followers as a man when he ascended to Heaven. But he remained physically present to them as their spiritual food in the Eucharist. And that is why at the last supper he said to his apostles, “as often as you do this, do this in memory of me”. He foresaw that he would be absent in 40 days, and left his own body and blood physically to be the “the real food from heaven” as he said. In addition he sends the Holy Spirit in a special way on Pentecost to lead and guide his church that he established while on earth with his apostles. And so as Jesus said,“I will be with you always even till the end of the world,” and again “I will not leave you orphans”.

In reference to it being merely a symbol, St. Paul says in one of his letters to the Corinthians, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.”

May God bless and keep you. May God’s face shine on you. May God be kind to you and give you peace.


#11

The two are separate issues. Jesus is not absent and says at the end of Matthew that He will be with us until the close of the age.


#12

#13

read John 4 the Samaritan Woman at the Well you will find the answer there.


#14

Thanks all for giving good replies on it…


#15

One or two posters have stated the Jesus is PHYSICALLY present in the Blessed Sacrament.

This is not the Church’s teaching.

The Real Presence is a sacramental Presence. It is a true Presence, it is a real Presence, worthy of our adoration and protection, but a sacramental Presence. Not a physical one.


#16

The Modern Catholic Dictionary (Fr. John Hardon, S.J.) has:

REAL PRESENCE. The manner of Christ’s presence in the Holy Eucharist. In its definition on the subject, the Council of Trent in 1551 declared that “in the sacrament of the most holy Holy Eucharist is contained truly, really, and substantially the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ” (Denzinger 1636, 1640). Hence Christ is present truly or actually and not only symbolically. He is present really, that is objectively in the Eucharist and not only subjectively in the mind of the believer. And he is present substantially, that is with all that makes Christ Christ and not only spiritually in imparting blessings on those who receive the sacrament. The one who is present is the whole Christ (totus Christus), with all the attributes of his divinity and all the physical parts and properties of his humanity.

therealpresence.org/cgi-bin/getdefinition.pl


#17

Thanks all for the replies! They have helped greatly!

On a slightly different topic but connected…does anyone know if Church of England believe in the real presence? I didn’t think they did but went into the cathedral yesterday to show a friend and down in the crypt chapel they had a sign saying it was open for private prayer with the blessed sacrament? :confused:


#18

It’s a lot like the CC. Some of them do, some of them don’t.

The Church of England doesn’t have valid Holy Orders, so either way, their belief that communion is more than symbolic doesn’t make it so. Only the CC and orthodox churches have the Real Presence at Mass.

The Church of England was originally in schism and would have been in the same boat as the orthodox churches, but this changed when the apostolic succession was broken shortly after the initial break.


#19

The Modern Catholic Dictionary (Fr. John Hardon, S.J.) has:

REAL PRESENCE. The manner of Christ’s presence in the Holy Eucharist. In its definition on the subject, the Council of Trent in 1551 declared that “in the sacrament of the most holy Holy Eucharist is contained truly, really, and substantially the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ” (Denzinger 1636, 1640). Hence Christ is present truly or actually and not only symbolically. He is present really, that is objectively in the Eucharist and not only subjectively in the mind of the believer. And he is present substantially, that is with all that makes Christ Christ and not only spiritually in imparting blessings on those who receive the sacrament. The one who is present is the whole Christ (totus Christus), with all the attributes of his divinity and all the physical parts and properties of his humanity.

therealpresence.org/cgi-bin/getdefinition.pl

[/quote]

The bread and wine is somthing physical, and they are the body and blood of Jesus. So yes, Jesus is physicaly present, we should remember that, when we eat the bread and wine.


#20

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.