Questions Catholics are Asked:
Why do you worship wafers?
The short answer:
“We no not worship wafers. According to the
Bible, the bread consecrated in a Catholic
Mass is no longer simply bread, but Jesus
himself. It is Jesus that we worship.
This is the Sacrament of the Eucharist.”
Why do we do this?
“Because the Lord commanded us.”
The Eucharist is Biblical
The entire sixth chapter of the Gospel of John is
called the “Eucharistic Discourse.”
In it Jesus explains that only those who eat his body
and drink his blood will have eternal life.
Here is an excerpt:
“I am the living bread come down from
heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live
forever; and bread that I will give
for the life of the world is my flesh.”
Wasn’t Jesus just using figurative language about faith?
This was the reaction of some of Jesus’ listeners.
The Jews disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this
man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, Very
truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and
drink his blood , you have no life in you. Those who eat my
flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise
them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my
blood is true drink. John 6: 52-55
When many of his disciples heard it, they said,
“This teaching is difficult. Who can accept it?”
…Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no
When did Jesus command us
to celebrate the Eucharist?
The Jewish Passover tradition required the sacrificing of a
lamb. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke all describe,
in similar language, how Jesus celebrated the Passover
with his disciples the night before he died.
Here is Luke’s version:
Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had
given thanks, he broke it, and gave it to them saying,
“This is my body, which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
And he did the same with the cup after supper,
saying, “This cup that is poured out for you
is the new covenant in my blood.”
For the early church, the Eucharist was the
sacrament that explained and celebrated
Christ’s sacrificial death. Saint Paul writes to
the Corinthians to admonish them to
celebrate it worthily:
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a
participation in the blood of Christ? The bread
that we break, is it not a participation in the
body of Christ? Because the loaf of bread is
one, we, though many, are one body, for we
all partake of the one loaf.
1 Cor 10: 16-17
Paul is reminding them not only of the Lord’s
presence in the consecrated bread, but more
importantly, of the Lord’s presence in them as
members of his body. If the purpose of the Eucharist
is to unite us in Christ, then any disrespectful or
divisive attitudes are anti-Eucharistic:
Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks
the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to
answer for the body and blood of the Lord.
A person should examine himself, and so eat
the bread and drink the cup. For anyone
who eats and drinks without discerning the
body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.
1 Cor 11:27-29
Why would Jesus make himself present
in the “the breaking of the bread”
if he is already spiritually present to believers?
Just as Jesus’ bodily presence on earth
was a visible revelation of
the (invisible) mystery of God,
so the Eucharistic presence is a
It is a physically palpable way
of tasting and celebrating
Jesus’ real presence.
Are there examples of sacramental
expressions in everyday life?
Many. A “sacramental expression” is
a visible action done a certain time to express a
spiritual reality that is invisible and continuous.
A hug or handshake is an expression of friendship
Independence Day is an expression of patriotism
A Birthday or Anniversary is an expression of love
A family portrait is an expression of belonging
Jesus is God’s life given to us
in human form:
He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness,
and found human in appearance… 2 Phil 2:7
In the same way,
Jesus is truly present
in a visible human community:
Jesus gave his Spirit to the Church so that
she could continue his presence
in a sacramental way.
The Church makes Jesus present whenever she
proclaims the Word,
feeds the hungry,
clothes the naked,
visits the sick and imprisoned and
welcomes the stranger.
…and makes Jesus present
in the most dramatic way
when she celebrates the Eucharist
For Catholics, to believe in the “real presence”
in the Eucharist is simply to trust
in Jesus’ own words. This was as difficult
in Jesus’ time as it is in ours.
Since Jesus knew that his disciples
were murmuring about this, he said to them,
"Does this shock you?
…For this reason I have told you that no one can come
to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” As a
result of this, many of his disciples returned to their
former way of life and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also
want to leave?" Simon Peter answered him,
"Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life." John 6:61,65-68
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