Communion – Holy Eucharist – Part Two

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for Worship (or to bow down) was hishtakhavah.  In each occasion of the use of this word (Gen 22:5 is the first use) worship consisted of a sacrifice (or in some rarer cases bowing down).  In the New Testament Greek was used, but the same meaning was attributed to that word.  In each case, the sacrifice dealt with a food (meat in most cases, unleavened bread in others) and blood.  This was as decreed by God as a reminder of the Covenant with God and His people.

In the New Testament, Jesus ends that Covenant, and creates a new Covenant with the People of God through His Death and Resurrection.  The new Sacrifice He requires is the Sacrifice of the Eucharist, which also becomes the Sacrament of the Eucharist in our consuming of His Body and Blood.

Justin Martyr wrote between 150-155 the “First Apology” to the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius a large book in which he outlines the liturgy of the times from the times of the Apostles until that time:  “Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president (priest) in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings … and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons.”

Martin Luther, the leading “Founder” of the Protestant religions, was VERY adamant on the fact that the Eucharist WAS the body and blood of Christ.  He fought for this being the 15th of was finally 14 agreed upon “foundations” for Protestantism.  Zwingli being the leading force in NOT allowing it as a foundation, by stating that Jesus could not be everywhere.  The Lutheran Church continued to believe in the Eucharist as being the living Body and Blood of Christ for many years.  (Some “sects” of the Lutheran Church no longer accept it, some still do.)

In today’s Mass of the Catholic Church, we recreate that Sacrifice of Jesus to God on our behalf, and the accept his Body and Blood as He requires of us though the Bible.

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Communion – Holy Eucharist – Part One

Many non Catholic Christians do not believe that the Communion elements, and in actuality many Catholics don’t either, are the Body and Blood of Christ in truth, but are just a symbol.  Let’s start talking about that.

First, in Genesis 14:18 we have the bread and wine offered by the priest-King Melchizedek which prefigures the bread and wined offered by the eternal priest-King Jesus at the Last Supper.

The same victim that was offered up to save the lives of the first-born of Israel was also the victim consumed as food for bodily nourishment as the Israelites began their journey to the promised land (Exodus 12:1-20), and this prefigures the Eucharist in the same victim, the Paschal Lamb, Jesus, who was offered up for our sins to save us from the spiritual death in which He consumed in the Eucharist to provide spiritual nourishment for the journey to our promised land of heaven.

John 6 is the strongest indication FROM GOD, that the Eucharist is the living flesh of Christ Jesus:

In John 6:32-51 Jesus EXPRESSLY applies Himself to the Old Testament manna.  The manna from heaven sustained the Israelites throughout their pilgrimage in the desert, but ceased to fall when they entered the Promised Land (Exodus 16:35).  Similarly, the Eucharist nourishes us spiritually in this life of pilgrimage, but ceases (as do all other sacraments) when we enter the promised land of heaven.

John 6:51 – I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.

John 6:53 – Truly, Truly, I say to you, unless you eat (the Greek word used in all variations found is masticate, or chew/grind with teeth vs. “eat”) the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.

John 6:55 – For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

In reading John 6, one has to agree that Jesus was speaking literally and not figuratively.  His followers had been following him at this time, living, eating, and walking with Jesus, for nearly two years.  They spoke the same language and dialect as Jesus.  Day in and day out, they heard Him use different figures of speech.  They heard Him speak symbolically, using parables, allegories, and analogies (such as calling Herod a fox).  They also heard Him speak literally, meaning exactly what He said.  Many of His disciples heard Him there, “live”, and quit following Jesus Christ – never even asking Jesus to explain Himself.  They understood perfectly that Jesus meant precisely what He said.  In fact, instead of explain that His listeners were misunderstanding what He said, that He was only speaking figuratively, He, in very strong language, emphatically REPEATS the literalness of this teaching, six times in six verses (53-58).  Verse 55 saying “For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed”, this is NOT the language of symbolism!

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Easter 2008

At  the Saturday Easter Vigil before Easter of 2008 I was accepted into the Catholic Church.  This was a happy day for me, with my Superior General there as my Sponsor into the Church, my mother, father, sister and niece all present to watch me enter into the Church.

This was the beginning of my new and lasting spiritual life.  (I’m the bald guy on the right in the black suit…)

In Christ!

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