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Justin Beaudoin wrote:

Dear Friend,

I'm a little confused how you think the bread becomes the literal Body of Christ and the wine becomes the literal Blood of Christ. My Bible says:

This is my Body . . . This is my Blood. (Matthew 26:26-29)

He was not speaking literally because He was seated with them in a literal body holding the cup and bread in his physical hands. Jesus specifically identified the drink in the cup as fruit of the vine in verse 29. Therefore, the physical nature of the elements of the supper had not changed.

Now, I know that Jesus often spoke in metaphors — a figure of speech that represents that very thing.

  • Jesus called himself the vine in John 15:5, but did he mean that he was a piece of vegetation?
  • In John 10:9  He said, I am the door, but he was not saying that he would turn himself into a piece of wood.

Another point is that when Christ said,

"This [Communion] do in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19), it is a memorial of his accomplished work. If He literally became the bread and body, then it would no longer be in remembrance.

In Matthew 26:26-29, when Jesus was holding the cup and the bread and stating this was the blood of the New Covenant, if He was turning the elements into His Literal body, then He was in His Body while holding another Body in His Hand. Although Christ had the nature of God and man, He was not in two separate bodies.

So if you believe the bread becomes the literal Body of Christ and the wine becomes the literal Blood of Christ you are:

  1. Denying Christ's finished work on the Cross. Jesus cried, It is finished. A sacrifice that needs to be repeated is neither a perfect nor a complete sacrifice.

  2. You are denying the priestly office of Christ. If the Communion elements were his literal body and blood, then the elements themselves would become the sacrifice for sins. For anyone besides Christ to offer our Lord's Body and Blood to God as a sacrifice of sin is to rob our heavenly High Priest of His glory.

  3. You are denying Christ's human nature. If his literal body can be in more than one place at the same time, then he did not have a body like ours, and Jesus was not the last Adam in that He did not have our nature.

This is what I am reading in my Bible. Maybe I'm missing something.

Please respond, with your thoughts.

May God bless you. Amen

Justin

  { What am I missing from a correct Catholic understanding of Holy Communion and the Last Supper? }

Mike replied:

Hi Justin,

The problem I see with your understanding of the Eucharist is that Jesus is not a human person.
If he was, you may have a point on some of your arguments.

He is the Divine Person, with both a human and divine nature. The Divine Person, the God-Man, Jesus died for the salvation of mankind, so that one Divine Death on Calvary would be perpetuated thought history. It is finished . . . but perpetuated throughout history.

Re: Number 2 in your list:

The priest acts in the person of Christ at every Mass. It isn't another sacrifice. He and the people at every Mass are entering into that one sacrifice of Calvary.

You said:
In Matthew 26:26-29, when Jesus was holding the cup and the bread and stating this was the blood of the New Covenant, if He was turning the elements into His Literal body, then He was in His Body while holding another Body in His Hand.

Catholic's believe Jesus Christ is True God and True Man.

  • Why couldn't God be able to hold his own body in his own hands?
  • He is God?
  • Why couldn't God through his ministerial priesthood allow men to hold God's own body in their hands? Once again.
  • He is God . . . isn't he? : )

    Besides the Oral Tradition, check out the Biblical basic, for the Catholic priesthood.

You said:
For anyone besides Christ to offer our Lord's Body and Blood to God as a sacrifice of sin is to rob our heavenly High Priest of His glory.

Well then, according to your Biblical interpretation, it appears St. Paul is robbing Jesus, our heavenly High Priest of His Glory. See these Bible passages:

I became your father in Christ Jesus ... be imitators of me.
1 Corinthians 4:14-16
St. Paul pens the earliest written account of the institution of the Eucharist
1 Corinthians 11:23-25
 

You said:
Another point is that when Christ said,

"This [Communion] do in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19), it is a memorial of his accomplished work.

Yes: We agree! [The Last Supper or the Eucharist] is a memorial of his accomplished work but it's more! This is what the Catechism states the following. Note CCC 1339 - 1340

The institution of the Eucharist

1337 The Lord, having loved those who were his own, loved them to the end. Knowing that the hour had come to leave this world and return to the Father, in the course of a meal he washed their feet and gave them the commandment of love. In order to leave them a pledge of this love, in order never to depart from his own and to make them sharers in his Passover, he instituted the Eucharist as the memorial of his death and Resurrection, and commanded his apostles to celebrate it until his return; "thereby he constituted them priests of the New Testament."

1338 The three synoptic Gospels and St. Paul have handed on to us the account of the institution of the Eucharist; St. John, for his part, reports the words of Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum that prepare for the institution of the Eucharist: Christ calls himself the bread of life, come down from heaven.

1339 Jesus chose the time of Passover to fulfill what he had announced at Capernaum: giving his disciples his Body and his Blood:

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying,

"Go and prepare the passover meal for us, that we may eat it. . . ."

They went . . . and prepared the passover. And when the hour came, he sat at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them,

"I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."

. . . . 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."

And likewise the cup after supper, saying,

"This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood."

1340 By celebrating the Last Supper with his apostles in the course of the Passover meal, Jesus gave the Jewish Passover its definitive meaning. Jesus' passing over to his father by his death and Resurrection, the new Passover, is anticipated in the Supper and celebrated in the Eucharist, which fulfills the Jewish Passover and anticipates the final Passover of the Church in the glory of the kingdom.

"Do this in memory of me"

1341 The command of Jesus to repeat his actions and words "until he comes" does not only ask us to remember Jesus and what he did. It is directed at the liturgical celebration, by the apostles and their successors, of the memorial of Christ, of his life, of his death, of his Resurrection, and of his intercession in the presence of the Father.

1342 From the beginning the Church has been faithful to the Lord's command. Of the Church of Jerusalem it is written:

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. . . . Day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts.

1343 It was above all on "the first day of the week," Sunday, the day of Jesus' resurrection, that the Christians met "to break bread." From that time on down to our own day the celebration of the Eucharist has been continued so that today we encounter it everywhere in the Church with the same fundamental structure. It remains the center of the Church's life.

1344 Thus from celebration to celebration, as they proclaim the Paschal mystery of Jesus "until he comes," the pilgrim People of God advances, "following the narrow way of the cross," toward the heavenly banquet, when all the elect will be seated at the table of the kingdom.

You see, Jesus is the New Passover Lamb for all who believe in Him.

Under the Old Testament, if you were a Jew of Jesus' times, you couldn't just have mom make lamb cookies for you to eat. No, you had to eat the Passover lamb as a practicing Jew. {Kudos to Scott Hahn}

In the same sense, Under the New Testament Covenant, you couldn't just stay at home on Sunday morning and only have a personal relationship with the Lord. No, you had to renew your Covenant with a body of faithful believers at Church and, if you are in a state of grace, eat the New Testament Lamb of God, Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. We have a related post [here].

I'll have to admit Justin, I'm a little surprised that you have quoted all these verses from Matthew and Luke but nothing from John Chapter 6.

  • If these are the Word of our Divine Savior, shouldn't they be considered?

Let's step back for a moment though. Although neither of us were there, we do have a historical record of what the very first Christians believed about the Eucharist. They are the Early Church Fathers, the very first Catholic Christians that succeeded the Apostles.

If you have time, check out my web site dedicated to them.

I've pulled these postings from our knowledge base as well; you may find them helpful:

Hope this helps,

Mike

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
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The Early Church Fathers Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter. The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. The Early Church Fathers on the importance of the Roman Catholic Church centered in Rome.