By Efrain Cortes
"I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasure of this life. I desire the bread of God (2), which is the flesh of Jesus Christ...and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible."
(St. Ignatius of Antioch 110 A.D.)
Fellow Catholics, 2000 years ago, Our Lord Jesus Christ uttered what could very well be, the most controversial words spoken in his three years of public ministry. It was 2000 years ago that Our lord Jesus Christ shocked the crowd who followed him onto the shores of Capernaum with the following words:
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."
The gospel of John tells us in the following verse that at the words of Christ, the Jews quarreled among themselves and said, "how can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
And in John 6:60 we read the following: "Then many of his disciples who were listening said, this saying is hard; who can accept it?"
Well, the shock and disbelief which was expressed 2000 years ago by the crowd who followed Christ, seems to be echoed today by thousands of poorly catechized Catholics in the United States. Yes fellow Catholics, the teaching of Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist remains to be a "hard saying" for some, even today.
But from the time Christ uttered those controversial words on the shores of Capernaum 2000 years ago, the Roman Catholic Church has taken Christ at his word, and has understood and consistently taught that at the words of consecration the body and blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ become truly present under the appearance of bread and wine - did you know that fellow Catholics? I ask this question because according to a Gallup poll which was conducted in the United Sates in the Spring of 1992, only 30 percent of Catholics believe that they are actually receiving the body and blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread and wine, 29 percent believe to be receiving bread and wine which "symbolizes the spirit and teachings of Jesus" and, in so doing, are "expressing their attachment to his person and words," 10 percent understand their action to be receiving bread and wine "in which Jesus is present," and 23 percent hold that they are receiving what has become the body and blood of Christ because of their "personal belief."
In other words, only 30 percent of Catholics surveyed in 1992 believed in the biblical, and traditional teaching of the Real Presence. And when these findings are broken down further, we find that a staggering 70 percent of Catholics in 1992 no longer believed in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist. This is a long stretch, when one considers that at the time of Ignatius of Antioch, who is quoted above, a Catholic Christian would have gladly marched to his death for the deeply held belief that the Lord Jesus Christ is truly present in the most holy Eucharist. But how many Catholics today would be willing to march to their death for this most ancient doctrine? Or better yet, how many "Catholic" politicians? But let us not allow ourselves to be distracted. For the moment, let us continue to build the biblical case for the Real Presence, Shall we?
Exactly where did the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence originate, from whom did the church receive this doctrine? Well, as we have already seen, the doctrine originated 2000 years ago on the shores of Capernaum and the church received this teaching from Jesus Christ himself. but what exactly did Jesus mean when he told the crowd: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world?" Was Jesus simply referring to his impending death on the cross, or was Jesus simply speaking in a figurative sense? is it possible that Catholics have gotten it all wrong for the past 2000 years, has the Catholic Church just gone off the deep end? Well, let us delve into some "scripture fun" and get to bottom of it all.
Now, as we have already seen in verse 52 of John 6, the Jews Quarreled among themselves at the words of Christ. Now, the reaction of the crowd at the words of Our Lord, should serve as evidence that the crowd understood Jesus in the literal and not the "figurative" sense. In fact, verse 52 makes it quite clear that this is precisely how the crowd understood Jesus. Verse 52 tells us that the crowd objected by demanding: "how can this man give us his flesh to eat?" So you see, they understood exactly what Jesus was saying, and in fact, it was the crowd's literal understanding of the words spoken by Christ that lead the crowd to quarrel among themselves. But what does Jesus do at the sight of the commotion which his "shocking" words had caused? Does he attempt to take back those "shocking" words, does he attempt to explain what he had said, does he tell the crowd that they had misunderstood him? No, instead Jesus persists! In verse 53 Jesus tells the quarreling crowd: "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you." and for the next five verses Jesus hammers away at the crowd with even more explicit language:
54 "whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven..."
Incidentally, the Greek word that is used in these verses for the word "eat," is a word that means literally, to munch or gnaw. Jesus seems to want to make it absolutely clear that he means exactly what he is saying. And there should be no confusion that this is precisely how the crowd understood it, for as it has already been pointed out in verse 60, there were those in the crowd who objected by asking, "this saying is hard; who can accept it?" Now, Jesus' reaction to objections is quite consistent in the scriptures. Whenever Jesus is mistakenly believed to be speaking literally and is faced with objections Jesus is quick to explain himself to the audience. We see this repeatedly in the very gospel of John (John 3:3-5, John 11:11-14, John 8:32-36, John 8:39-44, and John 16:18-22). However, when Jesus is rightly believed to be speaking literally and is faced with objections, Jesus simply repeats what he has said to the audience. We see an example of this in the gospel of Matthew (9:2-6). Now the question is this:
In the account in John 6, when the crowd vehemently objects to Jesus' teaching, does Jesus explain himself to his audience, or does the Lord Jesus repeat himself? As we have seen, Jesus repeats himself six times in six verses, confirming that he intended to be understood literally. And as a result of Jesus' unwavering stance, we are told by John in verse 66 that, "many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him." This, is an astounding revelation by the apostle John. You see, Jesus had come specifically to save sinners. In fact, in the parable of the "Lost Sheep" in Luke 15:1-7, we are painted a vivid picture of Jesus' compassion and concern for those who are lost to sin. But yet, in John 6 we find that Jesus, for the sake of his teaching on his Real Presence, is willing to lose many of his disciples to their former way of life (sin). Would Jesus have allowed this to transpire over a simple misunderstanding?
Instead, we read in verse 67 that Jesus then turned to his chosen twelve and said, "Do you also want to leave?" You see, Jesus risked it all for the sake of this "hard saying" fellow Catholics! The man who would willingly give his life to a horrific death on a cross, in order that he may save sinners, was unwilling to simply explain to the crowd that they had misunderstood him, in order that he might save them from their sin. This incredible inconsistency can only make sense when we accept that the crowd did not "misunderstand" Christ Jesus. The crowd understood him perfectly and because of it, they quarreled and went back to their former way of living, and Jesus Christ did not stop them because he meant exactly what he had said, and the only thing that Christ was unwilling to do in order to save sinners, was to compromise the truth!
We see it earlier in John 6:27 that Jesus Christ promised the crowd that he would indeed give them this food to eat. Jesus said:
"Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the son of man will give you."
Now, as good Catholic Christians we all know that when Jesus says he is going to do something, he does it! In John 11:11 when Jesus says he is going to raise Lazarus from the dead, he does it! in Matthew 8:13 when Jesus tells the centurion to go home for his servant has been healed, we see that at that very hour the servant was healed! And in Luke 9:22 when he tells his disciples that the son of man will suffer, be killed and rise again on the third day, do not all of these things come to pass? When Jesus says he is going to do something, he does it! And so, when Jesus tells the crowd that he will give them food that will "endure for eternal life," does he do it? yes he does!
In Luke 22:14 we read the following:
"Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, This is my body which will be given for you; do this in memory of me. And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you."
It was at the Last Supper, that Jesus did what he said he would do! For it is at the Last Supper that Jesus equates his body and blood in the Eucharist with his body and blood on Calvary. For he tells the apostles that the body and blood which they are about to receive under the appearance of bread and wine, is the same body and blood that will be given and shed for them at Calvary.
Take note that Jesus Says, "this is my body." He does not say this a "symbol" of my body. Only those plagued with former President Clinton's, "it depends what is, is syndrome," could come away with such a faulty interpretation.
Another detail that must be pointed out, is that when Jesus, who is God declared at the beginning of time, "Let there be light!" Then By his almighty power, There was light! And so when that same God, who is Jesus Christ, declared, "This is my body!" then by his almighty power the bread and wine, are no longer mere bread and wine, but the body and blood, soul and divinty of our Lord Jesus Christ! And this is what the Roman Catholic Church has consistently taught for 2000 years. Now, let us make a couple of quick biblical points: In the Old Testament, when the Jews offered up the sacrificial victim (Exodus 12:1-20) what did the Jews do with what remained of the sacrifice? They ate it! Now, in the New Testament, what is left of the sacrificial victim, Jesus Christ? Given Jesus' bodily resurrection, and since Jesus is truly divine and truly human, what is left of his sacrifice on the cross is his body and blood, soul and divinity! And as in the Old Testament, what do we do with what is left of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross? According to Our Lord Jesus Christ, we must eat it! For he tells us in John 6:55 that, "my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink." When Jesus says he is going to do something, he does it!
Now, we can continue to make the biblical case for the Real presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist, but hopefully the case has been sufficiently made. Let us now move on to a bit of historical evidence, and quote some of the earliest Catholic Christians regarding the real presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist, and in doing so we will hopefully establish the consistency of this most ancient Roman Catholic doctrine:
"I am speaking as to sensible people; Judge for yourselves what I am saying. The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?"
(St. Paul 1 Corinthians 10:15-16, 56 A.D.)
"But concerning the Eucharist, after this fashion give ye thanks. First, concerning the cup. We thank thee, our Father, for the holy vine, David thy Son, which thou hast made known unto us through Jesus Christ thy Son; to thee be the glory for ever."
(The Didache, 60 -100 A.D.)
"In the same way, my brothers, when we offer our own Eucharist to God, each one should keep to his own degree."
(St. Clement of Rome/third successor of Peter, letter to the Corinthians, 96 A.D.)
"Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to god: For there is one flesh of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of his blood..." Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to Smyrnaeans,7,1(c.A.D. 110),in ANF,I:89
"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 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." Justin Martyr,First Apology,66(A.D. 110-165),in ANF,I:185
"He acknowledged the cup (which is a part of the creation) as his own blood, from which he bedews our blood; and the bread (also a part of creation) he affirmed to be his own body, from which he gives increase to our bodies." Irenaeus, Against Heresies,V:2,2(c.A.D. 200),in NE,119
We could continue quoting from the earliest Catholic Christians, and on down the line to our current, Pope John Paul II, and back to the mouth of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the shores of Capernaum 2000 years ago, but you get the idea.
Now fellow Catholics, prepare to be shocked! 'AGAINST ALL HERESIES' will now present to you scientific proof, that will illiminate any remaining doubt that Our Lord Jesus Christ is truly present in the most Holy Eucharist. Over the centuries, Our Lord Jesus Christ has granted the Roman Catholic Church the grace of Eucharistic miracles. These miracles have served in strengthening and restoring the faith of Catholics in Our Lords doctrine of the Real Presence, I present you here with the most astounding Eucharistic miracle of them all, in the hopes that the faith of many Catholics in the Real Presence will be strengthened and restored:
Ancient Anxanum, the city of the Frentanese, has contained for over twelve centuries the first and greatest Eucharistic Miracle of the Catholic Church. This wondrous Event took place in the 8th century A.D. in the little Church of St. Legontian, as a divine response to a Basilian monk's doubt about Jesus' Real Presence in the Eucharist.
During Holy Mass, after the two-fold consecration, the host was changed into live Flesh and the wine was changed into live Blood, which coagulated into five globules, irregular and differing in shape and size.
The Host-Flesh, as can be very distinctly observed today, has the same dimensions as the large host used today in the Latin church; it is light brown and appears rose-colored when lighted from the back.
The Blood is coagulated and has an earthy color resembling the yellow of ochre.
Various ecclesiastical investigation ("Recognitions") were conducted since 1574.
In 1970-'71 and taken up again partly in 1981 there took place a scientific investigation by the most illustrious scientist Prof. Odoardo Linoli, eminent Professor in Anatomy and Pathological Histology and in Chemistry and Clinical Microscopy. He was assisted by Prof. Ruggero Bertelli of the University of Siena.
The analysis were conducted with absolute and unquestionable scientific precision and they were documented with a series of microscopic photographs. These analysis sustained the following conclusions:
The Flesh is real Flesh. The Blood is real Blood.
The Flesh and the Blood belong to the human species.
The Flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart.
In the Flesh we see present in section: the myocardium, the endocardium, the vagus nerve and also the left ventricle of the heart for the large thickness of the myocardium.
The Flesh is a "HEART" complete in its essential structure.
The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB (Blood-type identical to that which Prof. Baima Bollone uncovered in the Holy Shroud of Turin).
In the Blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of the fresh normal blood.
In the Blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.
The preservation of the Flesh and of the Blood, which were left in their natural state for twelve centuries and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon.
Does this shock you? Well, it shouldn't, for Our Lord Jesus Christ told us 2000 years ago, that his flesh and blood were true food and true drink, and he promised us that he would give us this food to eat, and when the Lord says he is going to do something, He does it!
Do you see the incredible, awe-inspiring gift that has been given us in the most Holy Eucharist? And yet, we find that today, there are these so called "Catholic" politicians such as Lexington Mayor, Teresa Issac and Kentucky State Senator, Ernesto Scorsone who take it for granted! They approach Our Lord, truly present in the Eucharist, wishing to receive the life of Christ within them, and yet they support the killing of the very life which Christ creates! Not only should Isaac and Scorsone refrain from receiving the Eucharist, as our good Bishop Gainer has asked of all "Catholic" politicians who support this atrocity, but they should also refrain from calling themselves Catholic. They cannot have it both ways, they cannot call themselves Catholics in good standing with the teaching of the church and support the killing of innocent life! And in case there is any doubt that this is exactly what these pro-abortion politicians are in favor of, let us take a vivid look at what it is that Issac, Scorsone and other "Catholic" public officials in the United States defiantly support:
This, is an abortion at seven weeks.
This, is an abortion at eight weeks.
This, is an abortion at elleven weeks.
And this, is an abortion at twenty two weeks.
What about this fellow Catholics, does this shock you? Well, it should! For this is something that Christ never intended. In fact, was it not the Lord Jesus who admonished his disciples when he said, "let the children come to me and do not hinder them." Well, would you say That the children displayed in the above photos have been hindered by the evil act of abortion, which Isacc, and Scorsone support? Now do we see why the Bishop of the Lexington diocese, does not want pro-abortion politicians to receive the Eucharist in his diocese, and why he has asked that they "forgo communion?" Open your eyes Mr. Scorsone, open your heart Ms. Isaac, and Remember the words of Paul the apostle:
"For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks damnation unto himself."
These are serious words from the apostle fellow Catholics. The Holy Eucharist is not a "wafer," it is not some "symbolic" expression of our Catholic faith. The Holy Eucharist is the whole Christ - body, blood, soul and divinity. The Lord Jesus Christ gives us his all in the most Holy Eucharist - even his heart, and we must discern his Real Presence within what appears to be, mere bread and wine, and we must approach him not only in awe and in reverence, but also in fear and in trembling. The Holy Eucharist is not a matter of politics, the Holy Eucharist is a matter of life - eternal life!
God bless fellow Catholics, and remember to keep our Catholic public officials in your prayers.