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Holy Eucharist

The testimony of Scripture and the Early Church is clear. When Jesus recited the prayers over the Passover bread and wine at the Last Supper, saying “This is my body” (Mt 26:17-30, Mk 14:12-26, Lk 22: 7-22), the Church has always believed that the Eucharistic the substance of the elements were transformed into his literal Body and Blood. This is called the transubstantiation miracle which happens daily at Mass all over the world.  The Catholic Church has been proclaiming the Eucharist mystery for the past 2000 years. 

The Eucharist is a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Father, a blessing by which the Church expresses her gratitude to God for all his benefits, for all that he has accomplished through creation, redemption, and sanctification. Eucharist means first of all “thanksgiving.” 1361 The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of praise by which the Church sings the glory of God in the name of all creation.(Catholic Catechism)

I regret that so many Christians do not take literally this command of our Lord. Most denominations believe Jesus was talking figuratively and that  he never meant for us to receive His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity at communion. So why do Catholics are so strict about this particular teaching of Jesus? I suppose the shortest answer to this is: Because that is what Jesus told us to do! 

But how do we know that the Apostolic teaching included faith in the Eucharist as Real Presence? The Scripture is clear, in 1Cor 11:27,28, written only twenty years after Jesus’ death, St. Paul tells us that the bread and cup of the Lord’s Supper is so sacred that the person who partakes without examining his conscience, ‘sins against the body and blood of the Lord’, could even make himself ill. 

Further more, there are records of the early Fathers of the Church as well as Apostolic writings that attest to that the early Christians took literally Jesus’ teaching that “the bread I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51). By examining these early writings, we discover that  the Eucharistic “traditions that you were taught” (2 Thes 2:15), are interpreted precisely the same way by the RCC of today as they were two millenia ago. 

So what did the Apostolic Fathers write about the Eucharist?

The Didache, 50 – 100 AD:

Also called the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, the Didache is a manual of catechetical instruction and liturgical procedure. It is the oldest existing document of Christian antiquity and it says: 

Consecrated Eucharist is sanctified: ‘Let no-one drink of your Eucharist but those baptized in the name of the Lord, for concerning this also did the Lord say: “Do not give to dogs what is sacred” (Chapter 9).
“Upon us, however, you have bestowed spiritual food and drink, and eternal life through your Servant”. (Chapter 10)
“If anyone is holy, let him advance [to the altar]; if anyone is not, let him be converted” (Ibid). 

Eucharistic Sacrifice:

“On the Lord’s Day (Sunday), assemble in common to break bread and offer thanks, but first confess your sins, so that your sacrifice may be pure” (Chapter 14) 

St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, 35-107 AD

A disciple of the Apostle John, who wrote the letters to various local churches on his way to Rome to be thrown to the beasts i the arena. The letters reveal internal conditions of early Christian communities. 

“From the Eucharistic and prayer they [ Donastic heretics] hold aloof, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who suffered four our sins…And so, those who question the gift of God perish in their contentiousness” (Smyrnians,7). 

The Eucharist is “the medicine of immorality, the antidote against death, and everlasting life in Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 20:2). “Take care then, to partake of one Eucharist; for one is the Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one the cup to unite us with His Blood” (Philipians 4). “Let that Celebration of the Eucharist be considered valid wich is held under the  bishop or anyone to whom he has committed this” (Symerians, 8:1). 

Ever since the begining of Christianity, not only faith in the Eucharist and the Real Presence is explicitly expressed, but so is our own hierarchical Church structure, with the local bishop passing on his authority to the priest. There is a wealth of records that attest to the doctrine of the Eucharist in the  Catholic Church throughout its history, from as early as the first century, as shown above.  I used the writings of Daniel Gallilo “Christ Lies Here Slain” as a reference for this post, and would not hesitate to recomment it to those who are interested in further readings on the Holy Eucharist.  

Recent Eucharistic Miracle

It is well documented that various Eucharist Miracles have taken place in the history of the Church. I believe the most recent ones are those that have taken place through Julia Kim, a pious Catholic woman, who since the early 90’s has been involved in twelve Eucharistic miracles; of which the most recent one happened in February this year. These miracles are currently being investigated by the Vatican.  

Besides the mysterious events related to the Eucharist, Julia Kim is also known to occasionally feel the pains of the Crucifixion and tortures endured by Jesus, especially during Good Friday.

  

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