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April 2, 2011 / vivator

the Eucharist – eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His blood

Catholic teaching on Eucharist is certainly one of the toughest for non-Catholics to understand.  Not surprisingly it is also one of the mostly attacked and caricatured.  The following clauses of the Catechism of the Catholic Church summarize the teachings of the Catholic Church on the Eucharist (underlined emphasis is added):

At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Saviour instituted the Eucharist sacrifice of his Body and Blood.  This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal [Passover] banquet “in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.

Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1323

At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ’s Body and Blood.

Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1333

Thus Catholics do believe that (1) the bread and wine at the consecration truly becomes the Body and Blood of Christ, which the faithful consume and (2) Eucharistic celebration (or the Mass) is not just a memorial of his death and resurrection but also the same sacrifice Christ offered on the cross made present.  Both of them certainly scandalize or at least puzzle non Catholics and maybe even some Catholics.

We look first at the first one. Catholic belief that we literally consume the Body and Blood of Christ is indeed a hard teaching – it is not something new or only started during Reformation.  Almost two thousand years ago Christ disciples who heard it directly from Him said so (John 6:60) and then left Him (John 6:66).

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

John 6:53-56 (RSV, underlined emphasis added)

Most, if not all Protestants usually argue that Christ spoke metaphorically – His words are not to be taken literally, after all Christ also claimed He is the Way (John 14:6), the light of the world (John 8:12), the true vine (John 15:1) etc.  But did Christ always speak metaphorically? Looking at the above quoted verses there is Greek word “alethos” translated into English as “indeed” (in RSV and KJV).  According to Strong concordance (# 230) it means: truly, of a truth, in reality, most certainly.  This word appears in a number of verses in (Greek) New Testament, translated as “of a truth”, “certainly”, “surely”, “indeed”, “really”, “truly” (Matthew 14:33, 26:73, 27:54; Mark 14:70, 15:39; Luke 9:27, 12:44; John 1:47, 4:42, 6:14, 7:40, 8:31; Acts 12:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 John 2:5) and it never refers to something non-real, untrue or symbolic.  Food and drink is something to be consumed – thus when Christ said that his flesh is food indeed and his blood is drink indeed (John 6:55), He meant we are to consume His Flesh and Blood.  Some may use John 6:63 where Christ said (RSV), the flesh is of no avail, to deny Catholic belief. But here Christ did not say “my flesh is of no avail” – in other words He did not talk about His Flesh. The Greek word translated as flesh is sarx, which may mean flesh of human and animal or body or human nature.  Compare with Matthew 26:41 where Christ told His disciples that the spirit is willing but (their) flesh (Greek sarx) is weak.  Keep in mind that in John 6:63 Christ also said: “It is the spirit that gives life” and “the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life”.

Scripture also refers Christ as the Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7).  He is the Lamb of God, without blemish (1 Peter 1:19), who takes the sins of the world (John 1:29).  Jewish Passover begins on fifteenth day of Nissan (the first month of Jewish calendar) and according to Scripture (Exodus 12:1-9) they choose un-blemish lamb (or goat) on the tenth day which they kill and consume on fourteenth day of Nissan.  Note that they (Jews) do not offer the lamb as burnt offering but must consume the lamb (Exodus 12:8), only what remains on the next day must be burnt.  This lamb of Old Testament prefigures Christ, the Passover Lamb of New Testament (1 Corinthian 5:7).  According to the fourth  Gospel  He was crucified (sacrificed) on fourteenth day of Nissan (John 18:28). On the other hand the first three (synoptic) Gospels refer the Last Supper as Passover meal (Matthew 26:17-18, Mark 14:12-14 and Luke 22:8-11) and He was crucified on the next day, i.e. on fifteenth day of Nissan. The Gospel according to John does not mention the Last Supper – we know Christ and His disciples had it (John 13:1-2), but it would be on thirteenth day of Nissan, which means it was not Passover meal.  The Last Supper of the first three Gospels, which was Passover meal, does not mention any lamb because Christ Himself is the Lamb.  Just like the lamb of the Old Covenant we have to consume Him literally, not symbolically.  Does this mean Catholics are allowed to partake the Eucharist only on fourteenth or fifteenth day of Nissan?  Does the different date of crucifixion (with respect to Jewish calendar) pose a problem?  To be Passover Lamb of New Testament Christ had to be crucified on fourteenth day of Nissan as according to the fourth Gospel. The Last Supper, being a Passover meal, must fall on the same day (as according to Matthew, Mark and Luke) – but how can Christ be the Passover Lamb when He was not yet crucified? The following paragraph will give the answer.

Now we look at the second Catholic belief that in every Mass the same sacrifice of Christ on the cross is made present.  It is not repeating or re-sacrificing of Christ – His sacrifice on the cross is once for all (Hebrews 9:12, 26).  But this would not satisfy those who are against this belief – we need more explanation from Scripture.  We know that Christ sacrifice on the cross took place in c. 30 AD but, interestingly, Scripture says (Revelation 13:8) that the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world, i.e. from the time of creation, not on fourteenth or fifteenth day of Nissan in c. 30 AD.  In addition the Greek word translated into “slain” is esphagmenou – it is the passive form in perfect tense of Greek verb sphazo (to slay). Unlike the English perfect tense, the Greek perfect tense indicates continuation and present state of a completed past action – in this case it was completed at foundation of the world, though in human time His sacrifice appeared to take place almost two thousand years ago. he has appeared once for all at the end of age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26). This explains why Christ was the Passover Lamb of the Last Supper (of the first three Gospels) even though He was not yet crucified.  Also whether He was crucified on fourteenth or fifteenth day of Nissan makes no difference.  For the same reason Catholics believe the same and single sacrifice Christ made on the cross can be made present in every Eucharistic celebration (or Mass).    Christ is the Passover Lamb of New Testament and partaking the Eucharist is participating in Passover meal of the Last Supper. Thus Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1323 also refers Eucharist as Paschal (Passover) banquet.  Some might argue that the phrase “foundation of the world” in Revelation 13:8 is to be applied to those who names not written in the book of life. However Hebrews 9:24-26 says that if Christ did not offer Himself in heavenly sanctuary then He, like Old Testament High Priest, must do it repeatedly, interestingly, not from the year He was crucified, but from the foundation of the world.

Closely related to sacrificial nature of the Eucharist is the Catholic Ministerial Priesthood – through whom the Eucharistic sacrifice is made present.  We cannot find such priesthood in any Protestant or post-Reformation churches.  Catholics believe ministerial priesthood is New Testament Levitical priesthood.  Protestants usually say that Levitical priesthood was abolished with the coming of Christ, our High Priest. Yet Scripture says that Levitical priesthood will continue offering sacrifice forever (Jeremiah 33:17-22) and God will take some as priests and levites from all the nations (Isaiah 66:21), i.e priests no longer have to be Jewish and descendants of Aaron.  Levitical priesthood of Judaism still exists today – male Jews with the surname Cohen (or Cohn, Coen, Katz, Kant and other variants) are priests and they were born priests (Hebrew word for priest is kohen).  However after the destruction of Jerusalem Temple in c . 70 AD sacrificial system of Judaism came to an end, i.e. their priests no longer offer sacrifice, not even on Atonement Day (Yom Kippur) and on fourteenth day of Nissan.  Yom Kippur is the only day of  Jewish calendar year when the High Priest can enter the Holy of Holies of the Sanctuary (housed in Jerusalem Temple) to offer blood atonement through-out generations (Exodus 30:10) – yet they have stopped doing it for almost two thousand years. Christ, the New Testament High Priest of the order Melchizedek, offers Himself as atonement in heaven, not in man-made sanctuary (Hebrews 9:24).  Because of this He needs to do it only once for all, at the end of age, not every year like High Priest of Old Testament (Hebrews 9:26).  The atonement through-out generations stated in Exodus 30:10 is fulfilled in every Holy Mass, where His sacrifice is made present through the ministry of priests.  When Christ instituted the Eucharist in the Last Supper He also consecrated His disciples to be His priests.  They in turn ordained the bishops as their successors and so on.  The ministerial priesthood was later extended to include presbyters (from which we get the English word priests).  For more detail of New Testament priesthood my readers can read my earlier posts on this topic at:

Priesthood of the Old and New Covenants

and

The Year of the priests

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62 Comments

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  1. Steve N / Apr 4 2011 8:40 pm

    Great explanation of the Church’s understanding of how the the mass is a re-presentation of the same sacrifice of Christ, not a new sacrifice, in the Mass as well as the real presence of Christ’s Body and Blood.

    Besides what you mentioned there about the Bible saying that the Lamb was slain (perfect tense) before the foundation of the world, there is also the use of the aorist tense in Hebrews with respect to the offering by Christ of His Sacrifice to His Father; which tense can be interpreted to denote the point of entrance into a state. –Such as “he ruled” (aorist) is really “he began to rule”.– If we see Christ as entering into a continual state of offering his sacrifie to the Father, which must be if He is to be interceding for our newly committed sins, then the aorist supports this.

    Thus the use of “offered” (aorist tense), which tense is used for this word pretty much exclusively throughout Hebrews, cannot be used to support the meaning of “offered” as completed as the sole interpretation.

    peace
    steve

  2. Christian / May 14 2011 8:17 am

    Thanks for another comprehensive essay.

  3. GADEL / Jun 13 2011 10:18 am

    You are always interesting to read.

    Pax in Christo

    Godwin Delali Adadzie

  4. gsmj / Oct 2 2011 6:19 pm

    I do not know where to post this: you asked me “Who told you that Catholics believe the Pope can save?”

    I do not recall ever saying that Catholics believed that the Pope can save. What I said was that the Pope cannot save. I hope you do not disagree with that statement.

    • vivator / Oct 2 2011 6:24 pm

      Non-Catholics who read what you wrote will have impression that Catholics believe Pope can save.

      • gsmj / Oct 2 2011 6:54 pm

        I came from the Philippines, and believe me, I know some Roman Catholics there who believe such, that the saints can save them, that idols are to be worshiped (yes, worshiped not venerated). I know these are not the official doctrine of the RCC (I never intended to mean that implicitly or explicitly). I know that these individuals or groups do not represent the broader RC community.

        I meant to say what I explicitly said that if anyone believed that Muhammad, Buddha, 300 million gods of Hinduism, the Pope, themselves, their pastors etc etc etc saves, that they are wrong.

      • vivator / Oct 4 2011 6:50 pm

        I think you should include Martin Luther, John Calvin etc. in the list.

      • gsmj / Oct 5 2011 1:16 am

        when I meet someone who believes that Luther and Calvin saves, I’ll edit the post.

      • rjp / Oct 14 2011 12:51 pm

        I can say, having lived in both worlds – Catholic and “non-Catholic” – that ‘gsmj’ is correct about the state of Roman Catholic beliefs. I have tested umpteen Catholics on “what saves them” using James G. McCarthy’s evangelism card deck – and barely one in twenty Catholics will even mention the name of Christ. In fact they’ll pick everything other than Christ: “Believing in God,” “Doing Good Works,” “Keeping the Commandments,” “Loving Your Neighbor,” or some of the other 10 options presented. I tested both of my parents, lifelong Catholics, and neither mentioned Christ.

        These findings are consistent with my experiences in the Catholic church for the first 22 years of my life. My case was not like the many non-practising Catholics in their formative years who were only later exposed to the Christian gospel and then ‘returned’ to Catholicism with their new-found bible sensibilities – trying to make Catholicism “fit” with the true gospel, sometimes as staunch apologists (Scott Hahn, Francis Beckwith, Robert Sungenis, etc).
        Vivator’s quip above that “you should include Martin Luther, John Calvin etc. in the list” [of Protestant saviors?] does not ring true of evangelicals. When I do the above-mentioned test with young fourth-grade evangelicals, they inevitably ask: “Where is the Jesus card?” – a question rarely asked by adult Catholics when tested.

        So when I hear the machinations and rhetoric of the Roman Catholic apologist, I am thankful to the Lord that I witnessed for myself the real Catholicism, the one that is understood by my family and by people around the world, without correction by the Roman Catholic magisterium.

      • vivator / Oct 15 2011 1:57 pm

        Many Catholics do not know their faith and this is the reason why they become easy and favourite target of the so-called “evangelization”. I was one of them when I became evangelical at the age 30. Contrary to your charge I did not return to Catholicism and tried to force it to match biblical Christianity. First there is no single definition of what you call as biblical Christianity. One good example is Calvinists and Arminianists contradict each other while both claim to be biblical Christians and declare that the (same) Bible is their highest and only authority. Second I did my home-work and I learnt from what Catholic Church really teaches, not from distorted ones from former Catholics like McCarthy, William Webster etc. You are welcome to read my post (and comment) about the Eucharist where you left your comment and my other posts as well. With all respect, your parents, your family and your Catholic friends are not the real source of Catholicism. If you insist they ate it no surprise you were misled – you rely more on perception than facts. For comparison I watched many American movies and they gave me impression that in USA you can easily get a gun and shoot one another.

        I understand you try to defend gsmj but you missed the point. The point is he wrote he will include Luther and Calvin if he meets someone who believes that they save. If that is his criteria then he should apply it to the rest – which he did not. Scripture says in Matthew 7:12 “whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.”

      • rjp / Oct 21 2011 8:20 am

        We both agree that Catholics are ill-informed about the gospel – but we differ on the root cause of such ignorance. You blame Catholics who “don’t know their faith” but I blame the Roman church that perpetuates a false gospel. You say that “parents, family, and friends are not the source of Catholic doctrine” while I say they are the result of it – and why, in your words “Many Catholics do not know their faith.”
        I regret that you missed seeing what I saw in your own formative years. I regret the fact that you were offended by evangelicals that you considered offensive toward Catholicism. I regret that you see contradictory interpretations of the bible by evangelicals while ignoring the contradictory doctrines of Rome.

        I just finished (and recommend!) Wafa Sultan’s book “A God Who Hates” where she shares an experience which ought to resound with you:

        “If you strike up a conversation with the most open of them [Muslims] and point out that some of the teachings of Islam contradict the most basic things about the life they are now leading, they will not hesitate for a moment to express the conviction that they themselves are at fault. The error lies, they will say, not in Muslim teachings, but in their own behavior, which differs so greatly from what these teachings impose.” p.227

      • vivator / Oct 21 2011 6:14 pm

        Before you can say Catholic Church perpetuates false gospel you must (1) define first which church has the true gospel, and (2) what is the criteria you use. I give you example between supralapsarian and infralapsarian Calvinists, which one perpetuate true gospel? How do you know?

        Recently I read in CNN about the first openly gay ordained as pastor in PCUSA.
        http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/10/10/first-openly-gay-pastor-ordained-in-the-pcusa-speaks/
        Whom you blame? The pastor or his church, i.e. he is he the product of false gospel of his church? Here I applied the same approach you used in evaluating problems in the church.

        I am surprised that you can tolerate the contradicting doctrines among evangelicals but show zero tolerance “contradictory” doctrine of Rome. It is contradictory according to your interpretation and your interpretation is not authoritative, unfortunately.

        I have no comment on Wafa Sultan book – your authority is supposed to be the Bible only, not her book. What she wrote is not applicable to Catholics. It is irony to know that you enjoy reading books written by former Catholics and former Muslim (Wafa Sulatan claims to be Muslim but no longer believes in Islam) who books meet your agenda but ridicule those written by former evangelicals who became Catholics.

      • it is What it is / Oct 27 2011 9:31 pm

        Who has the greater sin: the bible believer who interprets the bible wrongly – or the “infallible” teacher who teaches contradictory doctrines? James 3:1

        For a correct understanding of sola scriptura: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sola_scriptura

      • vivator / Oct 31 2011 8:30 pm

        You define contradicting doctrines according to your fallible interpretation – your interpretation is neither authoritative nor trustworthy. I suggest you also examine doctrines of your church – do they contradict those of other church? If yes, who has the correct doctrines and how do you know? Using the Bible as judge won’t work as all claim to follow Scripture and only Scripture. Even within Calvinism itself, infralapsarian and supralapsarian Calvinists teach contradicting doctrine. Granted that Catholic theologians also disagree with each other. A good example is whether the Election of the Elect is conditional or unconditional. The Dominicans believe the latter while Franciscans and Jesuits believe the former. That’s why we need Magisterum to decide and this Magisterium would be meaningless unless God protect it from making error. As for the Election of the Elect until today the Catholic Church does not make any dogmatic declaration whether it is conditional or unconditional. Perhaps the Church will do it in the future or leaves it as mystery best known to God Himself. Scripture says (Deut 29:29) God may not reveal everything to us.
        Does Scripture support infallible church? Just read 1 Tim 3:15 – you are entitled to disagree that the church Paul wrote refers to the Catholic Church but certainly it does not refer to any of those churches established in fifteenth century or later.

      • it is What it is / Nov 1 2011 7:54 pm

        Whether 1 Timothy 3:15 refers to the Catholic church or not, perhaps the surrounding context can say – Starting only two verses later at 1 Timothy 4:1:

        1 “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,

        2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,

        3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” ESV, 1 Tim 4:1-3

        So, no, 1 Tim 3:15 doesn’t look like the Catholic church so much as 1 Tim 4:3 does.

      • vivator / Nov 1 2011 8:12 pm

        You may read what already wrote on 1 Tim 4:1-3 at:
        https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2007/09/22/forbidding-marriage-is-the-doctrine-of-demons-1-timothy-41-3/
        I can understand why you don’t like relating the church in 1 Tim 3:15 with the Catholic Church. My question is which church do you believe deserves that designation? Did that church officially make such claim? Or perhaps the church in 1 Tim 3:15 became “extinct” after Paul wrote 1 Tim?

      • it is What it is / Nov 8 2011 11:00 am

        The first three chapters of Galatians show how quickly the church defected from the gospel:
        “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” Gal 1:6-8

        Now to throw your question back at you: WHERE IS THAT church today?
        Looks eerily similar to the Roman Catholic church:

        How does this verse stack up against Rome’s cooperative view of salvation: “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Gal 3:3

        “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” Gal 3:10,11

        no mention here of cooperation: “…yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”
        Gal 2:16

        With respect to the idea of personal interpretation, me thinks you have been hoist by your own petard. This is a helpful piece by James Swan:
        http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3489

        An excerpt:
        “To put it bluntly, those that have chosen to become Roman Catholics have to use their own private judgment to do so. One who converts to Rome had to engage in private judgment when making a decision to become Roman Catholic. Those touting Catholic certainty over against Protestant uncertainty are putting forth a double standard. They are claiming that their position is certain, while anything else is uncertain. But their own decision to become Catholic comes from their own private judgment. Svendsen notes of the convert to Rome:
        “The fact is, he had to engage in the very same principle of private judgment that we all must use to decide among the various options; namely, a thinking, objective reasoning process, apart from reliance upon the system to which he would eventually subscribe. But it is that very same principle of private judgment that leads him to Rome and others of us away from Rome. Certainly Rome condemns the decision we reached, but she cannot condemn the principle we used to that decision, since it is the very same principle that all Roman Catholics must use to decide that Rome is the ‘true’ church. The Roman Catholic cannot introduce a double standard at this point and still be consistent.” [Upon This Slippery Rock, 34].

        Swan goes on to quote Eric Svendsen’s, Upon This Slippery Rock: Countering Roman Claims to Authority [New York: Calvary Press, 2002]:

        1. When the Roman Catholic apologist asks, “How do you know your private interpretation of the Bible is correct over against the private interpretation of every other denomination?,” we should respond by asking a question of our own: “How do you know that your private interpretation of Roman documents is correct over against the private interpretation of other Roman Catholics?”

        2. When the Roman Catholic apologist asks, “how can you be certain that you are in the truth since all you have to go on is your own fallible private judgment that your church is right?”, we should counter with a similar question: “How can you be certain that you are in the truth since all you have to go on is your own fallible private judgment that Rome is right?”

        3. When the Roman Catholic apologist asks, “How do you know you’ve picked the right denomination?,” we should respond by asking, “How do you know you’ve picked the right infallible interpreter?”

        4. When the Roman Catholic apologist insists that the principle of Sola Scriptura has resulted in 25,000 denominations, we should in turn insist that the principle of Scripture plus an infallible interpreter has resulted in an even greater number of religious cults.

        This too is helpful: http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2011/11/reformed-tiber-swimmers.html

      • vivator / Nov 15 2011 9:56 pm

        Let me deal first with your belief that the Bible supports monergism. You claimed that the Bible says nothing about cooperation. I suggest you read Phil 2:12-13 and 1 Cor 15:10. In Rev 3:20 while Christ took the initiative to knock He would not come in unless the person opens the door. Most likely you will argue that those verses talk about a person who is already regenerated. So let’s look at Calvinist belief on regeneration. It was developed from presumption that being dead in sin (Col 2:13) is analogue of physical dead, i.e. a dead person can do nothing – that’s why he must be first regenerated and this regeneration must be monergistic work of God, i.e. no cooperation and no kicking and screaming either. Once he is regenerated then he can believe in Christ and do works as stated in Phil 2:12-13 and 1 Cor 15:10. Thus to Calvinists regeneration precedes faith and this belief belongs to Calvinist tradition, not from Scripture. Scripture nowhere says regeneration precedes faith or vice versa (as according to Arminianism) – the Greek word for regeneration occurs only twice in New Testament (Mat 19:28 and Titus 3:5). Does Scripture support Calvinist presumption that being dead in sin is analogous to physical dead? In John 5:25 Christ said that the dead shall hear the His voice, i.e. they can hear His voice without being regenerated (if they were pre-regenerated then the verse should say “the living” or “the regenerated dead”). Scripturally “being dead in sin” is not analogous to physical dead and this implies regeneration before faith is not scriptural but Calvinist tradition. Note also that Rev 3:20 is conditional statement – it starts with “if” not “when”. If the person inside was already regenerated before Christ knocks the door, it means he/she has option to (1) open the door and welcome Christ or (2) ignore Him (perhaps he/she is in bad mood and wants to be left alone – even Christ is not welcome). Is the latter attitude the product of being regenerated monergistically, if such regeneration ever happened in the first place?
        The best analogy to explain Calvinist monergistic salvation is using damaged car to represent human. A damaged car can neither do self-repair nor make request to be repaired. The Mechanic must first regenerate it monergistically (repair and fill the tank with gas). Once the car is regenerated then it will “work” when the Mechanic (Driver) drives it (thus satisfying Phil 2:12-13 and 1 Cor 15:10).
        I don’t see your point of quoting Gal 2:6 and 3:3 and 10-11. First Catholics never believes that we are justified by obeying the Law – it is Protestant’s myth that comes from their ignorance. Second Catholics do not believe that we can produce righteousness to be counted in our justification. Our righteousness comes from God through Christ and with our cooperation it becomes inherent part of us. Scripture says: He who does what is right is righteous (1 John 3:7) and we must abide in Christ and He in us and apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). You may read and comment on what I wrote on Justification where I compared side by side Catholic and Protestant position at: https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/223-2/
        I will deal with the issue on authority and the identity of the true Church founded by Christ next time.

      • vivator / Nov 20 2011 9:14 pm

        This is to reply to the rest of your comment including those you borrowed from other sites.

        From Scripture we know that Christ promised His disciples He will send the Holy Spirit to be with them FOREVER (John 14:15) and who will guide them into all the truth (John 16:13). In Luke 10:16 He told His apostles that who hear them hear Him. Christ also made solemn promise that the gates of Hades will not prevail against His Church (Matthew 16:18). Certainly Christ did not give empty promise or mere lip service. He can and will fulfill His promises. Scripture says (Numbers 23:19) says: God is not man, that He should lie or a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? In 1 Timothy 3:15 Paul simply echoed the promise of Christ that the Church of the living God is the foundation and pillar of truth. You don’t need to throw my question (where is the true church?) back to me but just read Scripture, which is supposed to be your only authority, isn’t it?

        Certainly the devils want to destroy the Church Christ built through creating counterfeit churches. If you care to learn church history you will realize that there were a number of versions of early Christians. Perhaps the earliest heresy was the Gnostics, followed by others like Marcions, Montanism, Arianism etc – to name just a few. The verses you cited (Gal 1:6-8) talk about those heresies, not about the true Church. Following the divine promise of Christ the true Church that started from apostolic time must survive the last two thousand years and still exists today. If the true Church did not survive or had to go underground until Reformation (as you wish it happened) it will imply that Christ cannot keep His promise. There are only two Churches that have apostolic origin: the (Western) Catholic and the (Eastern) Orthodox Churches. Why I chose the former over the latter I can share it if you wish. But for sure I will not choose any church that came to exist in fifteenth century or later. I would not waste my time to count how many denominations out there – it makes no difference; regardless how many or how few they are, none of them has apostolic origin. The other reason why I will not choose them is their error in understanding the Eucharist, which is the centre of worship of both Catholic and Orthodox Churches, i.e. it is Christ Himself! On the other hand the centre of your Sunday service worship is not the Scripture but the pastor because most of what you heard during his/her lengthy sermon is his/her own words and only few words of God (I was once an Evangelical). You are welcome to read and to comment on what I wrote on Eucharist and why all the Reformers got it wrong in:

        https://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/the-eucharist-eating-the-flesh-of-christ-and-drinking-his-blood/

    • tom / Apr 18 2013 7:47 am

      Christ is the only savior, so the Pope cannot save. But in a secondary sense, the Pope can save as in 1Corinthians 9:22 and 1Timothy 4:16

  5. vivator / Oct 6 2011 5:36 pm

    Let me ask you, did you ever meet any Budhist who says Budha can save or any Muslim who says their prophet saves? They have no concept of salvation-saviour because they, unlike Christians, don’t believe in Fall. Many Catholics wrongly think that they can go to heaven by being good person but so far I never met any, including many Pinoys, who say Pope can save them. You don’t want to include Luther and Calvin simply because you don’t want to disrespect the founding fathers of your church, which you don’t need to do for others.

  6. gsmj / Oct 8 2011 12:28 pm

    You don’t want to include Luther and Calvin simply because you don’t want to disrespect the founding fathers of your church, which you don’t need to do for others.

    >>You know that how?

    Thanks for the suggestion for how to make the post better, but unless there is anything false with the statements I have made, the phrases I have said will remain.

    Thank you.

  7. jeff / Dec 13 2011 11:05 am

    The Eucharist – eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His blood?

    How can people eat a piece of bread and drink alcoholic wine or grape juice and think they will be forgiven of their sins. This can’t be. To be forgiven one must understand that Christ in you the hope of Glory. You need to eat His Word and drink His Spirit. This is a hard teaching because you are like the religious Nicodemus who came to Jesus at night. You blind guides. The Old Testament had a physical Ark; the new has a Spiritual Ark. The Old Testament had physical Giants; the new spiritual giants. The old is very physical; the new is very spiritual.
    Jesus said “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me”. The Eucharist is not automatic salvation to all who eat it but for the believers when together to remember Jesus.
    Please be careful what you believe in, you may have the largest sect yet. People need to receive Jesus into their lives before they die. Then do the Eucharist to remember Jesus.

  8. Claire / Dec 24 2011 4:20 pm

    I am in no way trying to be disrespectful with this question, but when those of the Catholic faith are taking communion and believe it to be the actual body and blood..we all know what it feels like to have flesh in our mouths and all know the taste of blood…. How do they deal with the texture of flesh and the taste of blood? Our son, a former Baptist minister and who recently became a Catholic, became quite irate with me today when I told him that ….in my opinion, I did not believe that anyone in the 21st century truly believed that they were partaking of actual flesh and blood. Is communion important….very much so. More import to stress than it being the actual body and blood is taking it while living in rebellion.

    • vivator / Dec 25 2011 1:31 pm

      Thank you for your comment. After consecration Catholics believe the bread and wine become truly the Body and Blood of Christ while they retain their physical appearance like taste, texture and physical composition. The technical term for this belief is Transubstantiation.
      Wish you a Merry Chrismast!

  9. Timmy / Jan 9 2012 11:56 am

    Can you help explain to me the Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation at the last Supper please?

    • vivator / Jan 9 2012 8:27 pm

      The definition given by Catechism of the Catholic Church is:

      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.”
      Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1376

      By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1640; 1651).
      Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1413

      For more information you can read at:
      http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/eucha4.htm

  10. Jeph / Feb 1 2012 12:50 pm

    Viva, would you ever believe St. Augustine if he tells you that faith is what all is necessary to eat the “Living Bread” referred to by Christ in John 6, and that it has nothing to do with physical, literal biting and chewing?

    • vivator / Feb 6 2012 9:32 pm

      Since Scripture is supposed to be your only authority why don’t you quote from Scripture, not from Augustine’s work, to prove your point?

      • Jeph / Apr 5 2012 4:19 pm

        Because even if I appeal from Scripture, it’s very unlikely that you will end up believing anything I say. So I thought that maybe, appealing to St. Augustine (which is often dubbed by the RCC as the greatest doctor of the church) would work.

        Now, you wanna see what St. Augustine has to say concerning “how” we should “eat” the Bread of Life referred to by Christ in John 6?

      • vivator / Apr 7 2012 9:20 pm

        I defended Catholic teaching on Eucharist using Scripture, which is supposed to be only your ONLY and HIGHEST authority. You may disagree with what I wrote but I wonder why you rely on Augustine? It seems to me because you cannot argue using Scripture, you pull me in other direction.

        To answer your question. Augustine wrote many books and he was respected by not only by Catholic but also Protestant (especially Reformed) scholars. Luther and Calvin and other Reformed scholars quoted a lot from him. Augustine works can be misinterpreted just like Jehovah Witnesses and Iglesia ni Christo misinterpret John 14:28 to support their belief. If you simply google “Augustine on Eucharist” you will find what you are looking for – “click and you will find”. I have a number of posts on Augustine, which you can find by clicking “Augustine” tag on top left of my blog. You will be surprised to know that he believed in many things rejected by you and your church.

      • Jeph / Apr 8 2012 3:18 pm

        Vivator,

        I am not appealing to St. Augustine as my highest authority, and I know very well that he held many views which are not acceptable within evangelicalism. But so you’d know, the reason I am making use of him is to show you that,

        1) the modern Catholic interpretation on the eucharist is a man-made doctrine and is alien to St. Augustine’s mind back in the days,

        2) that St. Augustine held to a somewhat similar interpretation of the scriptural texts (which surrounds the topic at hand) with the evangelicals,

        Now as I’ve said in my previous post, even if I argue with you from Scripture, you still wouldn’t believe me, would you? This is why I thought appealing to St. Augustine on this issue would be a great idea since he is the “greatest church doctor of all time” as Rome sees him, which perhaps would convince you to agree with St. Augustine’s interpretation – which is in fact similar to mine.

      • vivator / Apr 13 2012 9:18 pm

        Jeph,
        Why don’t you argue from the Bible? It is your final and highest authority, not what Augustine or others wrote, isn’t it? You cannot argue and you made excuse to cover your face.

  11. alr / Apr 13 2012 3:50 pm

    Thanks for writing this. I’m happy I can live this daily.

    I just had a simple question. A friend of mine told me that the Eucharist violates the Levitican law that talks about cannibalism. It’s quoted below:

    “For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off,” (Lev. 17:14).

    Is this just talking about animals..? I’m confused. Could you help?

  12. Lodewijk Langeweg / Dec 23 2012 3:35 pm

    When you don’t eat your body loses weight, and when you eat you maintain or augment it, because the food transforms into your body. In that sense I believe that the bread in the form of a host you eats transforms into the body of Christ.

    A closer union with Christ is not possible in this world; the understanding and experience that God loves us so much that He did not want for us to have less in any degree than He has while we are still in human appearance. Reason He gave us Himself, even His human appearance, now.

    We are not to believe that heaven is anywhere but in us. So God being in heaven is in us. Nor are we to believe anyone who says “I am the Christ”, nor anyone who points at a particular person saying “Here He is” or “there He is.” Because the second coming is in all of us.

    Who would not say if it would be otherwise to one unique person “Good for You that You are God in human appearance!” You have the full right to be perfectly happy with Yourself! But what about us?”

    God is fair; He wants for us His joy and peace, the joy and peace only God can have. So He is reading this now as you, that you may take this into consideration, and hopefully one day will have the grace of God to accept this as true.

    May God have His grace and accept His holy joy and peace as you in His fully justified love of Himself. He does not want to have it without you having it… so let Him have it as you.

  13. Lodewijk Langeweg / Dec 23 2012 3:44 pm

    PS:
    Correction: “eat”.

    No one who claims to be Christ with the exclusion of anyone else should be believed. As St. Augustine wrote:

    “Let us rejoice, then, and give thanks that we are made not only Christians, but Christ. Do ye understand, brethren, and apprehend the grace of God upon us? Marvel, be glad, we are made Christ. For if He is the head, we are the members: the whole man is He and we. This is what the Apostle Paul says: “That we be no longer babes, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.” But above he had said, “Until we all come together into the unity of faith, and to the knowledge of the Son of God, to the perfect man, to the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ.”
    ~Tractate 21 (John 5:20-23)

    • Lodewijk Langeweg / Dec 23 2012 4:02 pm

      One more thing:
      In the Old Covenant man was prohibited from consuming blood, as blood is the soul and life of the flesh of an animal. But now that Christ is come in the flesh, we are commanded to consume -assimilate- the soul and life of Christ. Meaning accepting that we have the soul and life of Christ; God in His human appearance.

      The anti-Christ may admit that Christ came in the appearance of the flesh once, a long time ago, but he will deny that Christ is come -present tense- now, in the present time.

      Pay no heed to his denial.

  14. Bob Smith / Mar 23 2013 6:37 pm

    It’s incredible that Protestants believed that Augustine didnt think that the eucharist was the flesh and blood of our savior. Augustine literally said that at the last supper that Christ held himself in his hands. I can go even further and quote from the students of the apostles, the apostolic fathers.
    Ignatius of Antioch himself believed that the eucharist is the flesh and blood of Christ, and he called out the HERETICS that didnt believe this like the docetists.

    ST. AUGUSTINE (c. 354 – 430 A.D.)

    “That Bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God IS THE BODY OF CHRIST. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, IS THE BLOOD OF CHRIST. Through that bread and wine the Lord Christ willed to commend HIS BODY AND BLOOD, WHICH HE POURED OUT FOR US UNTO THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS.” (Sermons 227)

    “The Lord Jesus wanted those whose eyes were held lest they should recognize him, to recognize Him in the breaking of the bread [Luke 24:16,30-35]. The faithful know what I am saying. They know Christ in the breaking of the bread. For not all bread, but only that which receives the blessing of Christ, BECOMES CHRIST’S BODY.” (Sermons 234:2)

    “What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that THE BREAD IS THE BODY OF CHRIST AND THE CHALICE [WINE] THE BLOOD OF CHRIST.” (Sermons 272)

    “How this [‘And he was carried in his own hands’] should be understood literally of David, we cannot discover; but we can discover how it is meant of Christ. FOR CHRIST WAS CARRIED IN HIS OWN HANDS, WHEN, REFERRING TO HIS OWN BODY, HE SAID: ‘THIS IS MY BODY.’ FOR HE CARRIED THAT BODY IN HIS HANDS.” (Psalms 33:1:10)

    “Was not Christ IMMOLATED only once in His very Person? In the Sacrament, nevertheless, He is IMMOLATED for the people not only on every Easter Solemnity but on every day; and a man would not be lying if, when asked, he were to reply that Christ is being IMMOLATED.” (Letters 98:9)

    “Christ is both the Priest, OFFERING Himself, and Himself the Victim. He willed that the SACRAMENTAL SIGN of this should be the daily Sacrifice of the Church, who, since the Church is His body and He the Head, learns to OFFER herself through Him.” (City of God 10:20)

    “By those sacrifices of the Old Law, this one Sacrifice is signified, in which there is a true remission of sins; but not only is no one forbidden to take as food the Blood of this Sacrifice, rather, all who wish to possess life are exhorted to drink thereof.” (Questions on the Heptateuch 3:57)

    “Nor can it be denied that the souls of the dead find relief through the piety of their friends and relatives who are still alive, when the Sacrifice of the Mediator is OFFERED for them, or when alms are given in the church.” (Ench Faith, Hope, Love 29:110)

    “But by the prayers of the Holy Church, and by the SALVIFIC SACRIFICE, and by the alms which are given for their spirits, there is no doubt that the dead are aided that the Lord might deal more mercifully with them than their sins would deserve. FOR THE WHOLE CHURCH OBSERVES THIS PRACTICE WHICH WAS HANDED DOWN BY THE FATHERS that it prays for those who have died in the communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, when they are commemorated in their own place in the Sacrifice itself; and the Sacrifice is OFFERED also in memory of them, on their behalf. If, the works of mercy are celebrated for the sake of those who are being remembered, who would hesitate to recommend them, on whose behalf prayers to God are not offered in vain? It is not at all to be doubted that such prayers are of profit to the dead; but for such of them as lived before their death in a way that makes it possible for these things to be useful to them after death.” (Sermons 172:2)

    “…I turn to Christ, because it is He whom I seek here; and I discover how the earth is adored without impiety, how without impiety the footstool of His feet is adored. For He received earth from earth; because flesh is from the earth, and He took flesh from the flesh of Mary. He walked here in the same flesh, AND GAVE US THE SAME FLESH TO BE EATEN UNTO SALVATION. BUT NO ONE EATS THAT FLESH UNLESS FIRST HE ADORES IT; and thus it is discovered how such a footstool of the Lord’s feet is adored; AND NOT ONLY DO WE NOT SIN BY ADORING, WE DO SIN BY NOT ADORING.” (Psalms 98:9)

    http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/num30.htm

  15. Bob Smith / Mar 23 2013 6:45 pm

    But lets go back even further to Ignatius of Antioch who was a student of the apostle John and who was ordained the 3rd bishop of Antioch .

    http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/num8.htm

    ST. IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH (c. 110 A.D.)

    I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the Bread of God, WHICH IS THE FLESH OF JESUS CHRIST, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I DESIRE HIS BLOOD, which is love incorruptible. (Letter to Romans 7:3)

    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; one ALTAR, as there is one bishop with the presbytery… (Letter to Philadelphians 4:1)

    They [i.e. the Gnostics] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that THE EUCHARIST IS THE FLESH OF OUR SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in his goodness, raised up again. (Letter to Smyrn 7:1)

    Ignatius of Antioch was a disciple or student of John the Apostle.
    Who are you going to believe, some pastor from a church that popped up 1600 years after Christ and the apostles or what the students of the apostles were taught directly from the apostles .
    Do you Truely believe that a modern day pastor knows the teaching of the apostles and Christ more than the people who were taught directly from the apostles?

    This is ludicrous.

    • havefaithinjesus888 / Feb 11 2014 2:31 am

      It is not literal physical flesh or literal physical blood, Ignatius was speaking spiritually.You have misunderstood the meaning of Ignatius’ Letters and have also taken them totally out of context. You also do not understand the meaning of the Lord’s Supper within the context of the New Testament.

      For those who are earnestly seeking the truth and an explanation of the above, I invite you to visit http://www.havefaithinjesus.wordpress.com

      Jacob Israel

      • FingersBackAtYou / Feb 19 2014 8:24 am

        So Christ contradicted Himself when He refers to the cup as “the fruit of the vine”?

        Luke 22:
        17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves.
        18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

      • vivator / Feb 19 2014 9:40 pm

        The answer is easy and straightforward. Christ said those words “I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes” in verse 18, before He said “This cup which poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” in verse 20. If you still confuse and don’t get it, during Passover meal Jews drink four cups of wine – it is not in Scripture but you can double check with your observant Jewish friends or, if you don’t have any, simply google for it. Of course you will quickly point out that parallel verses in Mat. 26:29 and Mark 14:25 make Christ say the same words after what Catholics believe He instituted the Eucharist. Since Christ and Scripture cannot contradict itself, then the same statement in Matthew and Mark should refer to same cup of wine, but not the one He instituted as His Blood. If you still insist Mat 26:29 and Mark 14:25 Christ statement refers to what Catholic believe as His Blood then you are the one who make Christ contradict Himself in Luke 22:18.

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Jul 16 2014 5:53 pm
      • vivator / Jul 16 2014 6:40 pm

        I checked the link – the arguments against Catholic belief on Eucharist are classic ones and are repudiated in my post.

  16. Bob Smith / Mar 23 2013 6:57 pm

    Lodewijk Langeweg wrote: “””One more thing:
    In the Old Covenant man was prohibited from consuming blood, as blood is the soul and life of the flesh of an animal. But now that Christ is come in the flesh, we are commanded to consume -assimilate- the soul and life of Christ. Meaning accepting that we have the soul and life of Christ; God in His human appearance.
    The anti-Christ may admit that Christ came in the appearance of the flesh once, a long time ago, but he will deny that Christ is come -present tense- now, in the present time.
    Pay no heed to his denial.”””

    Lodewijk it is in incredible that you don’t understand the basic teachings of Christ that he fullfilled the old covenant which is why we are no longer bound to follow it. Here is a link that explains this fully.

    http://www.totustuus.com/TheEucharistPart2.pdf

    “””First, the short answer:
    Indeed, Jewish law forbids the drinking of any kind of blood. This is why many followers of Jesus left Him when He spoke of the necessity of eating His flesh and drinking His blood. (Jn 6: 60) Because Jesus fulfilled the Mosaic Law, we are no longer subject to it. So we can eat pork and shellfish and cheeseburgers—milk products combined with meat.
    In Leviticus God forbids the consuming of any kind of blood. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life.” (Lev 17: 11) The blood of animals was offered on the altar to atone for sin. Because it was associated with life, it was to be used solely for this purpose. So when the Son of God was sacrificed, His blood supplanted the offering of animal blood. This is the perfect sacrifice of the Lamb of God. We indeed drink His blood. It is THE blood of the atonement for sin—of which the earlier animal sacrifices where only a sign. It was in anticipation of His blood that the prohibition against the drinking of blood was made.”””

    Locewijk, do you still eat pork, shell fish, and cheese burgers?
    If you do you are violating the mosaic law, but you know since Jesus Came we are no longer bound by the mosaic law. It’s rediculous that you would claim that the eucharist is anti Christian since the students of the apostles themselves didnt believe as you did. In fact Christians for the first 1500 years of Christianity believed that the eucharist is the flesh and blood of our lord and savior Jesus Christ. It wasnt until the reformers decided to make up their own teachings from their own fallible interpretations of Christianity that we had any comflict at all about the eucharist.

    If you had gone back the the times of the apostolic fathers and told them that the eucharist wasnt the flesh and blood of our lord and savior they would have declared you a heretic on the spot lol.

    • maxmorgan / Feb 6 2015 1:14 pm

      Why the big discussion? If you believe in Jesus as God, is there any difficulty in believing that he can do anything he wants and if he wants to be in the Eucharist as body and blood, soul and divinity, he can certainly do that with ease even if we don’t understand the mystery.

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Feb 9 2015 4:54 pm

        maxmorgan,
        If Christ had wanted you to deny your own senses – see, hear, touch – why would he perform miracles or tell Thomas to touch his wound?

      • vivator / Feb 9 2015 6:39 pm

        Maxmorgan, you tried to leave the same comment twice – I deleted the last one. You mentioned only the Real Presence of Christ but my post also discusses why Catholics do not re-sacrifice Christ again and again in every Mass.

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Feb 10 2015 7:33 pm

        maxmorgan,
        To clarify, this is why Christ would never institute the Roman Catholic understanding of the Eucharist because to do so would mean telling people to deny their own senses – not exactly what you want to do if you expect people to believe the miracles they see, hear, touch.

      • maxmorgan / Feb 24 2015 9:08 am

        Fourfingersback at you: Are you saying that our senses can comprehend all the infinite God can do?????

      • FourFingersBackAtYou / Mar 1 2015 4:10 pm

        maxmorgan, wrong question.
        Quoting you from above: “If you believe in Jesus as God, is there any difficulty in believing that he can do anything he wants…”

        Yes there is much difficulty in believing that God can “do anything he wants.”
        What God “wants” and what God does is consistent with His essential nature. God ‘does’ what He ‘is’. I.e. God loves because He ‘is’ love.

        Therefore there are things God cannot do – and there are things God will not do. God cannot lie, for instance. And God cannot be inconsistent.

        When He was accused of being demon-possessed, he said:
        23 … “How can Satan cast out Satan?
        24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
        25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.
        Mark 3:23-25

        If Christ had intended that we should DENY our senses (this wine that you see is really blood), and then ask us to trust our senses when He performed miracles… He would be inconsistent…
        thus dividing His house against itself.

  17. Gary Simmons / Mar 23 2013 9:43 pm

    Wow! This was quite a comment thread! Thank you for commenting on my blog, Viva. I thought my blog was under the radar, especially as I am just now on the road to Rome myself. Who would have thought I’d get two Catholic bloggers commenting so quickly? Sweet deal!

    In any case, your familiarity with the Catechism is quite helpful. I use it only sparingly in discussions with Protestant friends, since it’s not an appeal to shared authority.

    One suggestion I have for you: don’t read too much into the Greek. There’s nothing about ἀληθῶς that mean “literally”. “Truly” just means it is fact. It doesn’t have anything to do with whether that truth is expressed literally or figuratively. Example: John 15:1: Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ἄμπελος ἡ ἀληθινή, καὶ ὁ πατήρ μου ὁ γεωργός ἐστιν. “I am the true vine; my Father is the vinedresser/farmer.” ἀληθινός is obviously a related word. Here, Jesus isn’t literally a vine, but he is a true vine nonetheless.

    And the Greek perfect tense *usually* means “the thing is done, and this is a fact.” Textbooks overcomplicate the matter, unfortunately. If you would like to gain fluency in Greek or Hebrew, I cannot overstate the value of the materials at biblicalulpan.org.

    Peace and grace!

  18. Bob Smith / Mar 24 2013 5:01 am

    Gary, what about the Greek word trogo used by Christ in the last supper, doesn’t that mean to literally chew and gnaw? This to me shows that Jesus meant this verse literally and not figuratively.
    And we have the apostolic fathers like ignatius of Antioch , and early church fathers like Justin martyr who affirmed that literal meaning of the eucharist.
    God bless

  19. Lodewijk Langeweg / Mar 24 2013 5:10 am

    “It’s ridiculous that you would claim that the Eucharist is anti Christian since the students of the apostles themselves didn’t believe as you did. In fact Christians for the first 1500 years of Christianity believed that the Eucharist is the flesh and blood of our lord and savior Jesus Christ.”

    My apologies if I given that impression. That was not at all my intent, what I did want is to clarify that God’s Love for us is so great and eternal that also today He wants for us to have His joy -“that My joy may be complete in you”- which obviously can only mean that God is enjoying His divinity -His Self- in us, as we. That also we may have the mind that was in Christ Jesus, Who knew He had taken on the appearance of the sinful flesh, in a sense even making Himself a sin -missing the mark- just as we have. Yet remaining God, and still not find He was robbing God of His glory by considering Himself equal to God, regardless of His human “disguise” -St. Augustine called it- as a merely human servant.

    “because as He is, we also are in this world.”
    ~1 John 4:17
    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20John%204:17&version=DRA

    It is also obvious that this is not about cannibalism -literally eating flesh and drinking blood of a man’s body- but is all meant spiritually. Just like it is not literally about a physical lamb or a wooden door etc.

    To make of Jesus Christ an idol -a being outside of us and different than us- to be adored, is the opposite of His whole teaching.

    This is the second coming: in all of us. If it would be only for one particular person, God would be unfair to all the rest of us. But God is fair, and gave Himself to each and every one of us. Entirely. That also we would have the happiness only God can have, He made Himself human -also now- to make us into God, raising us up to Himself.

    In the mean time we are like dead; not enjoying our true Life, which is God. Meaning that until we enjoy God, God is not enjoying Himself in us yet, and is in that sense still experiencing the crucifixion and death.

    Each painful thought and memory is like the thorn of a crown of thorns encircling our head (for example.)

    May God come to Himself in you. Or more direct: “Please come to Yourself, dear God in this human appearance in which You are reading this now.”

    Paul is the servant of the reader of the following, and Who is he trying to persuade and please here that it is God in human appearance reading it, keeping in mind that “Christ Jesus” means “Anointed Saviour”, a generic title that is valid for anyone in whom God is resurrecting as if from a grave -buried under a mass of human material, physically and mentally- and in that sense is beginning to remember -recognize, knowing again- Who He really is?

    “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”
    ~Galatians 1:10
    http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/?search=persuade&version1=DRA&searchtype=all&wholewordsonly=yes&spanbegin=55&spanend=73

    Yes, God has to be “persuaded” in His human appearance now that in truth He is God. Your longing for God is God’s longing for Himself, and your missing God is God missing Himself, which is part of this crucifixion called “human life” -if it even deserves tho be called “life”, as it is more like a constant slowly dying, as St. Augustine explained it, from the moment we are physically born into this world.
    God as you might not only cry out “O God my God, look upon me: why hast thou forsaken me? Far from my salvation are the words of my sins.”, but even feel like a worm, less than a man, and despised by your human self and that of others:
    “But I am a worm, and no man: the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people.”
    ~Psalm 21:2,6
    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2021:2,7&version=DRA

    And yet, when you read those words, at the same time internally -as if in your head- you are hearing those words sounding as thoughts in your human voice now, and they are the thoughts God now has as you:

    “Therefore, on hearing His words let no one say either: “These are not Christ’s words,” or “These are not my words.” On the contrary, if he knows that he is in the body of Christ, let him say: “These are both Christ’s words and my words.” Say nothing without Him, and He will say nothing without thee. We must not consider ourselves as strangers to Christ, or look upon ourselves as other than Himself.”
    “Let us rejoice and give thanks. Not only are we become Christians, but we are become Christ. My brothers, do you understand the grace of God that is given us? Wonder, rejoice, for we are made Christ!”
    ~St. Augustine
    http://www.finestquotes.com/author_quotes-author-St.%20Augustine%20of%20Hippo-page-2.htm

    Reading God’s thoughts in the Bible spoken in His humanity sounding in you as your human voice is the real “lectio divina.”

    Thus God in His humanity advances in wisdom, age, and grace with Himself -God- and with His human appearance, once knowing the Truth about Himself -that God being His Identity is the Truth, thus being a Savior or Jesus, saving one from one’s dream of death, started with the dream of Adam- symbolized thus:

    “And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men.”
    ~Luke 2:25
    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%202:52&version=DRA

    God has blessed you with Himself.

  20. Bob Smith / Apr 15 2013 4:01 am

    Lodew, again this is only your interpretatiion of scripture. Jesus never intended interpretatiin of scripture to be private which is why he gave the keys to the kingdom and the power to bind and loose to Peter and to a lesser degree the other 11 apostles.

    There is absolutely nothimg idolatry about the eucharist, or else the apostles would not have taught the importance of the eucharist to their students, the apostolic fathers.

    Ignatius of Antioch who was a student of John the apostle called the eucharist the flesh of our lord and savior. Now do you think that John the apostle would have taught this to his disciple ignatius of Antioch if it was idolatry to do so? Of course not. Ignatius called the eucharist the flesh of our lord and savior in110ad. If you don’t accept the teachings of the apostolic fathers who were the students of the apostles then you don’t accept the teachings of the apostles, and if you don’t accept the teachings of the apostles then how can you accept the teachings of our lord and savior Jesus Christ?

    Through the first 1500 years of Christian history not the Christian church nor any Christian called the eucharist a heresy. Calling it a heresy is a modern invention by solo scripturists who came 1500 years after Christ . Your view of the eucharist being idolatry would have been called a heresy by all of the earliest Christians starting with the students of the apostles onward.

    All of the original Christians called the eucharist the flesh and blood of our lord and savior, and the church was given the authority to interprete scripture, and not any individual interpreting scripture privately.

    My challenge to you then is to show me one apostolic father or early Church father who thought the eucharist was idolatrous and anything else but the flesh of our lord and savior.
    Ill save you the trouble, there isn’t one until the reformation in the 1500’s where the original Protestants went against 1500 years of Christian history to do it.

    The original Christian church is the Catholic Church and its the only church with apostolic succession from the time of Christ until today.

    You need to read early christian church history. There is no doubt the students of the apostles in which the apostles ordained and entrusted to pass down the fullness of worship of our lord and savior were catholic in their beliefs.

    The eucharist, apostolic succession, the church’s authority to interprete scripture and to define doctrine is what they taught and which the Catholic Church teaches today.

    Which church was given the authority by the Holy Spirit to say which books belonged in te bible and which didnt? Which church put together the first bible? The Catholic Church did in the late 5th century. Everytime you pick up the bible to read it your reading a catholic book.
    The doctrine of the trinity wasnt defined until 250 years after Christ. Who was the the church that developed the doctrine of the trinity? The Catholic Church of course.
    This is a fact
    This is Christian history which anyone can read .
    Blessings in Christ

    • anachronnyU / Apr 16 2013 7:56 am
      • Lodewiik Langeweg / Apr 17 2013 9:40 am

        Thank you.

        I did not say that the Eucharist was idolatry, only that making one of the historical Jesus is. And I’m not accusing anyone of that here.

        What I’m saying is that God loves us so much that He did not want for us to have less happiness than He has. A happiness only God can have. It is Love’s Nature to want to make others as happy as It is, so God loved to make others equally happy in His perfect limitless Charity. We are those others, and it is God’s loving will that we accept His unspeakable Gift to us: Himself, be it still in His human appearance now.
        This is the Second Coming.

        We are God’s human appearance, and those among us who accept that have the mind that was and is in Christ Jesus.

        As St. Augustine expresses it:

        “Let us rejoice and give thanks. Not only are we become Christians, but we are become Christ. My brothers, do you understand the grace of God that is given us? Wonder, rejoice, for we are made Christ!”

        But I have to leave it to God in you to accept the above as true or not.

    • FourFingersBackatYou / Sep 29 2015 6:29 am

      Bob Smith,
      In answer to your challenge above: “show me one apostolic father or early Church father who thought the eucharist was idolatrous and anything else but the flesh of our lord and Savior.”

      Irenaeus is one:
      http://triablogue.blogspot.ca/2010/03/apostolic-succession-part-12-irenaeus.html

    • ItisWhatitis / Oct 3 2015 8:07 pm

      Bob Smith,
      Re.: your challenge above “show me one apostolic father or early Church father who thought the eucharist was idolatrous and anything else but the flesh of our lord and savior…”

      This article linked below examines the writings of
      Clement of Alexandria,
      Tertullian of Carthage,
      Irenaeus of Lyons,
      Justin Martyr,
      Ignatius,
      and a contribution from Origen in order to show that the ancient church never believed, taught or even conceived any doctrine like the real presence dogma:

      https://onefold.wordpress.com/early-church-evidence-refutes-real-presence/

  21. Ron Sr. / Aug 3 2015 8:03 pm

    I wrote this after reading and rereading the Bread of Life Discourse during a debate with those that deny the Real Presence.

    The Last Supper and the 2 Types of Bread

    Blessings,

    RON SR.

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