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Randy wrote:

Hi, Mike —

I'll be starting RCIA classes in the near future and I have a question about the Eucharist.

  • If the wine is turned into Blood, why do we need the wine?
  • Why can't the Blood just be there?
  • Also If the bread is turned into His Body, why do we need the bread?
  • Why can't the Body just be there?

Randy

  { Why don't we just receive His literal Body and Blood instead of the consecrated Host and Wine? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Randy —

Thanks for the question.

The Lord Jesus always wants to transmit grace to us in a manner that respects our human nature.
He created it, but he also wants to do it in a way that we are accustomed to receiving as human beings.

Examples:

  • Baptism uses water and words
  • Confirmation uses the bishop and his words
  • Confession uses the priest and his words
  • Anointing of the Sick uses oils, a priest, and words
  • Marriage uses the couple and their words.

In all the above cases: people, water, oil, etc. are things we are familiar with and associate with all throughout in our life.

Question: Could the Lord have initiated the Eucharist in a manner where:

— the grape wine would visibly change to his Precious Blood?
— the leaven bread would visibly change to a piece of His Flesh?

No, because it would defeat the purpose of communing with us in a manner we are use to receiving. Like when we gather together at dinner e.g. the Last Supper which is the New Jewish Passover, which Catholics celebrate at every Mass.

It also goes against human nature for any human to eat the raw flesh and blood of another person. We don't believe in cannibalism, despite what anti-Catholics or uneducated Protestants will claim we believe.

  • Then why do Catholics do this?

Answer:

Because Our Lord tells us to this and we obey the Lord and His Church.
See John 6:51-69.

Remember, although The Wine:

  • smells like grape wine,
  • tastes like grape wine, and
  • looks like grape wine,
  • the substance is not grape wine.

For short, the accidents of grape wine are there, but The Substance; the thing that holds it up,
is the Lord Himself - Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity under the species of Wine. The Same is true with the Consecrated Host:

Although The Host:

  • smells like unleavened bread,
  • tastes like unleavened bread, and
  • looks like unleavened bread,
  • the substance is not unleavened bread.

The accidents of unleavened bread are there, but The Substance; the thing that holds it up,
is the Lord Himself - Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity under the species of Bread.

By receiving the Lord sacramentally, we are receiving it in a manner, under the appearance of bread and wine, that we are use to consuming. By communing with the Lord through the Eucharist, we are allowing Him to work His will, in us and through us.

If that isn't cool, I don't know what is!

Hope this helps,

Mike

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
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