[quote=Christian4life]Well, I must really be missing something here, but I don’t understand the Catholic take on communion. Protestants view it as a symbol, and that seems to make more sense to me when I look at the verses about the last supper.
Matthew 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
Well how can it literally be Jesus’s body when he was sitting right there? It seems it HAD to have been just a symbol from the beginning. If I am wrong can someone please explain this to me?
The Catholic take on the Eucharist goes back to the Gospel accounts, the Epistles, the early Church Fathers, and the 2000 year continual teaching that Christ is truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist.
Taking any one scriptural passage and trying to prove or disprove something makes for poor theology. The Scriptures do not contradict themselves, and any passage about a theological issue needs to be looked at not only in itself, but also in relation to all other passages related to it.
The Gospel writers do not say that Christ said “this is a symbol of My Body” or “a rememberance of My Body”. If you read John Chapter 6, you find first a miracle of feeding the 5000, and shortly after that you find the discourse on the Eucharist. Throughout that discourse, you find people having real difficulty with what Christ is saying. Not only does Christ not say to them “oh, you misunderstand me, I didn’t mean that literally”, but you find Him becoming more and more graphic in His description. The Greek word used for “eat” really translates into a much more graphic description of eating; it comes closer to the word “gnaw” or “gnaw on”. Note that many of His disciples leave Him, and he makes no effort to get them back; in fact, He turns to the Apostles and asks them if they are going to leave too. Note also that the next comment about the flesh and the Spirit make no sense if you take the word “flesh” to refer to the Eucharist; it would turn the whole passage upside down. It only makes sense in the context of the previous discourse if it refers to flesh as used elsewhere to mean our weakened state (e.g. the world, the flesh and the devil).
The term generally accepted in the Western (Roman) rite is “transubstantiation”. However, several centuries earlier to that, the Eastern rites used the word “homoousias”, which means same substance, as opposed to the word “homoiousias”, which means similar or like substance.
Note also that Paul tells us that anyone who eats the Eucharist while unworthy (in the state of sin) brings condemnation on himself; a charge that makes little sense if the Eucharist is just a symbol and nothing more.