La Eucaristía Y La Misa
The Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence is the belief that Jesus Christ is literally, not symbolically, present in the Holy Eucharist—body, blood, soul and divinity. Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist because Jesus tells us this is true in the Bible:
“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh. The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?' 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 6:48-56).
Furthermore, the early Church Fathers either imply or directly state that the bread and wine offered in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is really the body and blood of Jesus Christ. In other words, the doctrine of the Real Presence that Catholics believe today was believed by the earliest Christians 2,000 years ago!
This miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him.
This is a common question asked by both Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Many non-Catholics, when attending a Mass at a Catholic wedding, find themselves being gently told that they should not come forward to receive Holy Communion. Of course, they wonder, “Why? Catholics are allowed to receive communion in our church, so why can’t we receive Communion with the other Catholics here?”
Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, meaning that what appears to be bread and wine is really Jesus’ body and blood—not just a symbol of his body and blood. When Catholics receive Holy Communion, it is an expression of the unity among all those in communion with the Catholic Church throughout the world, who maintain the belief in the Real Eucharistic Presence of Christ. Therefore, only those who believe in the True Presence may participate in this sacrament of oneness with Christ and his Church. “… [T]he celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice is wholly directed toward the intimate union of the faithful with Christ through communion” (CCC 1382).
Ultimately, Catholics believe that we cannot celebrate this unifying sacrament with other Christians while there are disagreements about the Eucharist itself. However, Catholics pray for the day when we can reconcile with other Christians and share in the unity of God’s people through the Holy Eucharist.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops expresses this desire for unity:
“We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ's prayer for us ‘that they may all be one’” (John 17:21).
I don‘t know! In Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22, Jesus says of the bread, "This is my body." He says of the wine, "This is my blood." Not "this is symbolic of," or "this represents," He says "this IS." In John 6, He repeats Himself, like He does nowhere else in Scripture, to emphasize the fact that He expects us to eat His flesh and drink His blood and that His flesh is real food and that His blood is real drink.
Anyone who says He is speaking symbolically, and not literally, simply is refusing to look at all of the facts. Fact #1: The Jews took him literally, verse 52. Fact #2: His disciples took him literally, verse 60. Fact #3, the Apostles took him literally, verses 67-69. If everyone who heard him speak at the time took Him literally, then my question is: Why does anyone today, 2000 years after the fact, take him symbolically?
Also, in verse 51, Jesus says that the bread which He will give for the life of the world is His flesh. When did He give His flesh for the life of the world? On the cross. Was that symbolic? If you think Jesus is speaking symbolically here when He says that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood, then you must also conclude that Jesus' death on the cross was symbolic...it wasn't really Jesus hanging up there...it was symbolic flesh and symbolic blood.
Jesus is clearly talking about the flesh that He gave for the life of the world...He did that on the cross. Those who believe He is talking symbolically here in John 6, have a real problem when it comes to John 6:51. Did Jesus give His real flesh and blood for the life of the world, or was it only His symbolic flesh and blood?
*This two-minute apologetic question is courtesy of the Bible Christian Society.
Yes! No matter where or when you go to Mass, you will always know what you’re going to get!
Jesus Christ celebrated the first Mass with His disciples at the Last Supper, the night before He died. He commanded His disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). The celebration of the Mass then became the main form of worship in the early Church, as a reenactment of the Last Supper, as Christ had commanded.
Each and every Mass since commemorates Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross through the Holy Eucharist. Because the Mass “re-presents” (makes present) the sacrifice on Calvary, Catholics all around the world join together to be made present in Christ’s timeless sacrifice for our sins. There is something fascinating about continuing to celebrate the same Mass—instituted by Christ and practiced by the early Church—with the whole community of Catholics around the world…and in heaven.