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How shall I answer questions about the Eucharist?

(By Angie Lake)

The bread and wine become the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ through the prayers of consecration by the priest at Mass. The substance of the bread and wine is transubstantiated into the body and blood of Jesus. CCC 1376 states: “The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: “Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation.”


“The Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said “This is my body which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.”  In the same way he took the cup after supper and said. “This cup is the New Covenant in my blood.  Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:24-25 


The faith of the early Church reveals that the disciples of Jesus “remained faithful to the teaching of the Apostles, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers.”  Acts 2:42..  The breaking of the bread was the communion meal, we know today as the Eucharistic meal.  (Eucharistic means Thanksgiving)  When the Jewish people were in covenant with God they were to make sacrifices for sin offering, thanksgiving offering and praise offering. Jesus died once for all as a sin offering to God.  Scripture says, “By His own blood, He won an eternal redemption for us.”  Hebrews 9:12. . “Jesus has done this once and for all by offering himself.”  Hebrews 7:27.  Jesus satisfied the Sacrifice of Sin, but we are to continue our Sacrifice of Thanksgiving (Eucharist) and our Sacrifice of Praise.


Jesus spoke very plainly, “I am the living bread come down from heaven.  Anyone who eats this bread will live forever, and the bread that I shall give is my flesh for the life of the world.” John 6:51.  Jesus also said, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him.”  John 6:56

 There were those who did not like to hear this message and after Jesus told them they would have to eat his flesh and drink his blood the scriptures tell us, “After this, many of his disciples left him and followed him no longer.” John 6:66.  There are still those among us who do not want to believe that is what Jesus meant and so they choose to believe he really didn’t mean what he said.  Yet, he didn’t chase after those who left to tell them he really meant it only symbolically – he let them leave and go their own way.


St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Corinthians the significance of this teaching from Jesus.  “Everyone is to recollect himself before eating this bread and drinking this cup; because a person who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of Jesus is eating and drinking his own condemnation.”  1 Corinthians 11:28-29

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