Scripture and Eucharist


#1

Hey guys,

I am not sure which forums to post this in – Sacred Scripture, Liturgy & Sacraments, or this one – so I apologize if this is the wrong forums.

I am a protestant, but for the last two years I have been interested in the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church (still thinking about the differences between the two). I have mostly been convinced that the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of Christ, but I have a few questions about verses in Scripture that still bug me. I hope y’all can help:

  1. Matthew 26:27-29 says, "Then he took a cup, an after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” If the wine became His blood, then why did he say “this fruit of the vine” when referencing it after he had blessed it and declared it His blood? If the Real Presence is correct, wouldn’t it not be “fruit of the vine” but instead His blood?

  2. In 1 Cor. 11:17-34, Paul admonishes the Corinthian church for selfishness when eating together. So, Paul seems to be referring to the meal, but then he goes into talking about the “Lord’s Supper”. There does not seem to be a clear delineation between the agape feast (if that is what he was referring to) and the Eucharist. He seems to be envisioning it more as a meal than a sacrifice.

  3. In 1 Cor. 11:27, Paul says, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread of drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord.” Why does he refer to eating bread? If it is no longer bread, then why does he refer to it as bread?

–BT


#2

Hi ,
Check out this site and you will find the answers to your questions.

  1. Matthew 26:27-29
  1. In 1 Cor. 11:17-34,
  1. In 1 Cor. 11:27,

This is the site for the Haydock Catholic Commentary which I think is the best one I have read.

haydock1859.tripod.com/index.html

Hope this helps
Jeanne


#3

“Fruit of the vine” and “bread” are examples of phenomenological language, that is, they describe the appearance of the thing rather than the reality. For example, we say “sunrise” and “sunset” even though we know that the earth is, in fact, rotating on its axis. Describing the Eucharist as “bread” simply refers to what it looks like.


#4

Also look at Ex 7:12 where is says: “For every man cast down his rod, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.” Notice that scripture call them ‘rods’ after they were changed to serpents.


#5

In addition to all that has been said here… EVEN today, official we call the Eucharist “the life giving bread and the saving cup”, even though we KNOW that it is no longer bread or wine. If you go to mass you will hear it… IN addition, we also answer in mass: “When we eat this bread of God, when we drink of this holy cup, we proclaim your name oh Lord 'till you come again”

Many blessings,

E.C.


#6

Wow Chesster, that’s a great point.

I also found dylan’s comments very helpful. Thanks everyone.

–Micah


#7

Exactly.

Christ made clear that the contents of the consecrated cup was wine.

What some RC apologists will then say was that Christ is the Vine and He was speaking metaphorically about the contents being the “fruit of the vine” (thus blood).

But that is explicitly NOT what the RCC teaches. The RCC teaches that the contents of the cup are not wine, nor any metaphorical “fruit of the vine.”

No.

What the RCC teaches is that the contents are the Vine Himself.

That is plainly, and obviously, NOT what Christ said. The Apostles knew exactly what He was referring to.

  1. In 1 Cor. 11:17-34, Paul admonishes the Corinthian church for selfishness when eating together. So, Paul seems to be referring to the meal, but then he goes into talking about the “Lord’s Supper”. There does not seem to be a clear delineation between the agape feast (if that is what he was referring to) and the Eucharist. He seems to be envisioning it more as a meal than a sacrifice.

Only later, after the Apostolic era, do we find the Eucharist being referred to as any kind of sacrifice, and even then it was never spoken of as the sacrifice of the Lord until centuries later.

  1. In 1 Cor. 11:27, Paul says, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread of drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord.” Why does he refer to eating bread? If it is no longer bread, then why does he refer to it as bread?

Because the Holy Spirit says it is bread. Not once, but many times.

We can now believe Him or not. It is our choice.

The problem is that many believe that when the Holy Spirit speaks of the bread being a body, He is being literal, but when He speaks of bread actually being bread, He is being metaphorical and doesn’t really mean it.

That is extremely problematic.


#8

This might help. The Eucharist IS Scriptural


#9

Praise be to Jesus Christ.

Dear BT:

The comments made so far are very good. I was especially impressed with Chesster’s reference to Exodus.

I also agree with dylanschrader’s comments about phenomenological language, even though what I am about to say may seem to conflict with them. Nevertheless, I think, when both ideas are considered, one can see that they are both true of the sort of references that you are concerned about. In fact, these references are part of the Holy Spirit’s subtle and complex interweaving of images and ideas in the Scriptures.

The language used in these passages is a sort of elaborately interwoven knot with no loose ends. Think of Celtic Knotwork as an image of this aspect of the Scriptures.

We call the Body of Christ “bread” because it is the whole Christ, who is “the Bread of Life” (John 6:35 & 48), and “the true Bread from Heaven” (John 6:32). Hence, even after it is changed from common bread into the Body of Christ, it is still properly called “Bread.”

Similarly, Jesus can properly call His own Blood “the fruit of the vine,” because He said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener” (John 15:1) and “I am the vine, you are the branches” (John 15:5).

(Please note, the two cases are not parallel. Though it is proper to refer to the Host as “bread” both before and after the consecration, it would be wrong to refer to the Sacred Blood as “wine.” Before consecration the cup contains the fruit of a grape vine and thus “wine.” However, after the consecration, though it can still be called “the fruit of the vine,” as the fruit of Jesus the “true vine,” it cannot be called “wine” any longer but is properly the “Blood of Christ.” I think you will find these usages consistently honored in the Liturgy, as E.C. has indicated.)

As for 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, it might be helpful to note that in the Temple practice at Jerusalem the concepts of Sacrifice and feast were never separate. The Passover Sacrifice was only one example of a sacrifice which entailed feasting as part of the Liturgy. In many of the sacrifices made in the temple, the flesh of the victim was divided, part given to God in the flame on the Altar, part consumed by the priests, and the rest returned to the worshiper, who shared it with his family and friends. I am given to understand that the Hebrew word “Qorban” translated as “sacrifice” comes from the root meaning “to draw near.” (See, jewfaq.org/cgi-bin/search.cgi?Keywords=sacrifice.) The image is of a meal shared with God as a “growing closer” between God and His people. This same liturgical action is continued in the Holy Mass, which is both a sacrifice and a meal. This is not a contradiction or confusion. It is perfectly consistent as a completion of the Old Law of worship as practiced in the Temple and fulfilled in the New Law and the Holy Mass.

For references for the practices under the Old Law, take a look at the rules for Sacrifice in the Old Testament. It is also interesting to look at the article, on the website Judaism 101, called “Qorbanot: Sacrifices and Offerings, at jewfaq.org/qorbanot.htm.

Once these sorts of connections are seen, it is amazing how perfectly integrated and interwoven all of these aspects of Scripture and Liturgy are. It is startling to consider that all of these connections were intended by God before either grapes or bread were made. The Mass can be seen in the earliest sacrifices recorded in the Old Testament. It is woven throughout the Scriptures and throughout the fabric of all creation. Praised be the name of the Lord.

The Peace of Christ be with you.

John Hiner


#10

Hi BT! Welcome to the forums! I hope your stay will be beneficial.

I am a protestant, but for the last two years I have been interested in the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church (still thinking about the differences between the two). I have mostly been convinced that the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of Christ, but I have a few questions about verses in Scripture that still bug me. I hope y’all can help:

I think that you can’t go wrong with either church (at the risk of getting chastised by some staunch Catholics around here! :slight_smile: ) The Catholic Church, though, is united by the Pope who is the defacto leader of christianity. He is the reason many people come to Catholicism.

Let’s see if we can answer your questions -

  1. Matthew 26:27-29 says, "Then he took a cup, an after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” If the wine became His blood, then why did he say “this fruit of the vine” when referencing it after he had blessed it and declared it His blood? If the Real Presence is correct, wouldn’t it not be “fruit of the vine” but instead His blood?

My first impression is that you are overthinking what is occurng in the verse. When we take the Eucharist it has been transubstantiated spiritually. It still looks and tastes like bread and wine. The question you ask serves to cloud the reality of Christ’s miraculous abilities.

Think of this - after Christ had risen nobody recognized Him until He reintroduced Himself. On the road to Emmaus Jesus simply appeared to some disciples. They were distressed about what had happened. Here is a key - their eyes were opened only after Jesus gave the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to them. (Luke 24:30-31) Besides the obvious parallel to the last supper, the significance of what happened is that the truth was revealed only after the bread was broken. The Eucharist reveals Jesus for who He is.

  1. In 1 Cor. 11:17-34, Paul admonishes the Corinthian church for selfishness when eating together. So, Paul seems to be referring to the meal, but then he goes into talking about the “Lord’s Supper”. There does not seem to be a clear delineation between the agape feast (if that is what he was referring to) and the Eucharist. He seems to be envisioning it more as a meal than a sacrifice.

In the very early church the breaking of the bread occured in people’s homes, usually at a dinner. The context of the story is placed there. The purpose of the letter is to correct abuses occuring at some of those dinners.

The dinner Tradition reoccurs a every mass. For those receiving the Eucharist, the Bread and Wine of Life must be fed to them. When people in the communion line reach the Eucharistic minister, the minister recites the words “The Body (or Blood) of Christ” then presents the spiritual food to the communicant, in essence “feeding” the receiver.

The sacrificial nature of the action is the presentation of Christ to His Father. You need to get the right perspective on this point. You of course agree that Christ was sacrificed at Calvary. How does this translate to the sacrifice of the mass? Well, we know that Christ, being God, is not limited by time or space, He transcends it. When the bread and wine become the Body and Blood, it actually becomes Christ. (If not, we Catholics & Othodox would be guilty of idolatry) The sacrifice at Calvary is then present on the altar, but in a non-bloody spiritual sense. After all, it is Christ.

  1. In 1 Cor. 11:27, Paul says, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread of drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord.” Why does he refer to eating bread? If it is no longer bread, then why does he refer to it as bread?

It retains the appearance of bread and wine. What we put in our mouths and ingest tastes like bread and wine. It is the Spiritul Body and Blood of Christ.

There is another paradox in the quote you cite above. Can someone “be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord” if it remains merely bread and wine? NO! Paul just called it the body and blood of the Lord! Jesus is the Bread of Life (John 6:22-71). Jesus Himself interchanges the words “bread and wine” with “my flesh and blood” during the above discourse.

These things you seek will never have a full explanation. We humans cannot fully comprehend the Lord. Christians from the beginning have accepted without questioning the Real Presence in the Eucharist. As Jesus said, “Blessed are they who have not seen and yet believe.”

Subrosa


#11

Hi BigTurkey, and God bless you for searching for the truth.

I’m sure you would agree that the scriptures that you have posted can and have been used by either side to “support” their position, and ultimately it comes down to “we say, they say”. So why not look at what the early Christians thought about the issue? (If indeed you haven’t already)

Ignatius of Antioch (a personal student of John the Apostle)
Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2-7:1** [A.D. 110]).**

. . . and are now ready to obey your bishop and clergy with undivided minds and to share in the one common breaking of bread – the medicine of immortality, and the sovereign remedy by which we escape death and live in Jesus Christ for evermore (Letter to the Ephesians 20 [A.D. 110]).

Justin Martyr
We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration * and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these, but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus (First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]).

Irenaeus
He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own blood) from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receive the Word of God and become the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported) how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life — flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord and is in fact a member of him? (Against Heresies 5:2 [A.D. 189]).

Clement of Alexandria
"Eat my flesh)" [Jesus] says, “and drink my blood.” The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children (The Instructor of Children 1:6:43:3 [A.D. 191]).

staycatholic.com/ecf_the_real_presence.htm*


#12

Hi BT, and God bless you for searching for the truth.

I’m sure you would agree that the scriptures that you have posted can and have been used by either side to “support” their position, and ultimately it comes down to “we say, they say”. So why not look at what the early Christians thought about the issue? (If indeed you haven’t already)

Ignatius of Antioch (a personal student of John the Apostle)
Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2-7:1** [A.D. 110]).**

. . . and are now ready to obey your bishop and clergy with undivided minds and to share in the one common breaking of bread – the medicine of immortality, and the sovereign remedy by which we escape death and live in Jesus Christ for evermore (Letter to the Ephesians 20 [A.D. 110]).

Justin Martyr
We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration * and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these, but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus (First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]).

Irenaeus
He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own blood) from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receive the Word of God and become the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported) how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life — flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord and is in fact a member of him? (Against Heresies 5:2 [A.D. 189]).

Clement of Alexandria
"Eat my flesh)" [Jesus] says, “and drink my blood.” The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children (The Instructor of Children 1:6:43:3 [A.D. 191]).

staycatholic.com/ecf_the_real_presence.htm*


#13

Love this!! Gotta keep it in my pocket!
Thanks!


#14

Hi Big
This Scripture should bug you as well.
Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

One of the things that Catholics say is that Jesus wouldn’t have let the others just walk away without explaining what he meant, but if you read the book of John you see that Jesus almost never stops and explains things in greater detail. Throughout Jesus’s ministry people would take him literally when he was speaking spiritually. This is why he often spoke in parables.
Mat 13:9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Mat 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Mat 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

I’m sure that you have experienced in you life when talking to someone about God the same thing. Some people just don’t get it or they choose not to listen. The Eucharist was the one thing that I realy questioned about my faith, so I did alot of Praying and searching. I hope this helps you as it did me.

In Him and Him Only


#15

I just don’t see how people can not see that it’s his real body and blood.In the bible Jesus says it’s his body. In the bible the apostles say it’s his body. The Church Fathers say it’s his actual body, but after all these people say it is I still don’t believe it is. I’m sorry but I’m going to believe what they say no matter what I feel it is. Feelings aren’t truth.


#16

It doesn’t “bug” anyone who understands it:

Evangelicals and Fundamentalists don’t view these verses as proof that the Eucharist is a biblical doctrine and argue against it by quoting Jesus’ words in John 6:63: “It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” They seize on the word “spirit” and interpret it as “symbolic,” arguing that Jesus’ use of “spirit” meant he was speaking symbolically, not literally.

Several questions should be asked at this point: (1) Where else in the Bible is “spirit” ever interpreted as “symbolic”? (The answer: Nowhere.) (2) Since there’s no other instance of “spirit” meaning “symbolic,” by what criteria do Protestants insist on applying that meaning in John 6:63? (3) Since God, human souls, angels, and Satan are spirits, does that mean they too are merely symbolic–and if not, why interpret “spirit” in John 6:63 as meaning “symbolic”?

catholic.com/thisrock/1990/9002frs.asp

FYI, Mark Shea, in his book This Is My Body (available through Catholic Answers), addresses your difficulty well.


#17

But his disciples never left out of disgust upon hearing a parable!

So Christ would allow people to “walk away” and risk their salvation over a misunderstanding? How absurd.

Christ wants us all to know the truth, and more importantly he wants us, everyone, to know Him. Christ would never allow his disciples to leave him based on a misunderstanding.


#18

BT:

If you have not already done so, RUN, don’t walk to your local Catholic bookstore and pick up Scott Hahn’s “The Lamb’s Supper”. I can’t say enough about this book. The Holy Spirit led me to this book, when I didn’t even know I was looking for anything!!! It pointed out each thing that I needed to hear, see, and know in profound, yet simple manner that is difficult to describe. It’s nearly a must for anyone who is as seriously interested as you seem to be in Eucharist, in particular, and it’s ties to scripture. It answers the questions you are asking and oh, so many more. You’re almost sure to find yourself at a Mass, be it RCC or Orthodox.

Yours in Christ,

Steven


#19

I second that!


#20

I think we must understand that the risk to their salvation did not come from any misunderstanding, but their misunderstamding came from their risky view of salvation.

There lies a world of difference between the two.

It was their broken standing with God that led to the misunderstanding, not their misunderstanding that changed their standing with God.


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