The Eucharist What is the Eucharist, anyway? Well, Eucharist is a Greek word that means “Thanksgiving”. It refers to the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus truly present in Holy Communion. What was once an ordinary piece of bread and an ordinary cup of wine, has now been changed (transubstantiated) into Jesus. In other words, just like Jesus changed the substance of water into wine at Cana, the priest, through the power of Jesus given to him at his ordination, changes the substances of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus at the consecration. Select Language Powered by TranslateSo what are some of the biblical references to this? Well, starting in Genesis 14:18,Melchizidek, the High Priest, offers bread and wine as sacrifice. The Bible says inHebrews 7:17 that Jesus is priest forever, in the line of Melchizidek. Melchizidek is abiblical type (foreshadowing) of Jesus. A biblical type is an OT person or event thatprefigures a person or event in the New Testament. Jesus offered Himself at the LastSupper in the form of bread and wine, so He is both priest and victim.In Leviticus 24:1-8, God directs the Israelites to create the Bread of the Presence (see alsoExodus 25:30, Exodus 35:13, Exodus 39:36, Numbers 4:7, 1 Samuel 21:6, 1 Kings 7:48, 2Chronicles 4:19, 1 Maccabees 1:22, 2 Maccabees 10:3, Matthew 12:4, Mark 2:26, Luke 6:4,& Hebrews 9:2:The LORD said to Moses, "Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil from beatenolives for the lamp, that A LIGHT MAY BE KEPT BURNING CONTINUALLY.Outside the veil of the testimony, in the tent of meeting, Aaron shall keep it in order fromevening to morning before the LORD continually; it shall be a statute FOREVERthroughout your generations. He shall keep the lamps in order upon the lampstand of puregold before the LORD continually."And you shall take FINE FLOUR, and bake twelvecakes of it; two tenths of an ephah shall be in each cake. And you shall set them in tworows, six in a row, upon the table of pure gold. And you shall put pure
frankINCENSEwith each row, that it may go with the BREAD as a memorial portion tobe offered by fire to the LORD. EVERY SABBATH day Aaron shall set it in order beforethe LORD continually on behalf of the people of Israel as A COVENANT FOREVER.In the Catholic Church, there is a lamp that burns continually near the tabernacle where theEucharist is kept, behind a veil, in a golden tabernacle. During the Mass on the Lords Day,it is placed on the altar, or table for sacrifice, with incense. And according to Jesus in Luke22:19-20, the bread that is now become his body (his real PRESENCE) and the wine that isnow become His blood is to be a memorial sacrificial meal for the New Covenant that alsoforgives sins. There are LOTS of parallels here between the Bread of the Presence and theEucharist.Another Old Testament type is the Passover. In Exodus 12:7-8, God told Moses to markthe doors of the Jewish homes with the blood of the slain lamb, using a hyssop branch,and to eat the lamb, with bitter herbs, as well, so that they and their children could live,before finally leaving Egypt for the Promised Land. Just so, we are commanded byJesus, the slain Lamb of the New Testament, to eat His body and to drink His blood, sothat we can live forever in the real Promised Land, Heaven. Jesus was given bittervinegar to drink during the crucifixion, with a hyssop branch. In Christianity, theEucharist at Mass has replaced the Jewish Passover meal. The Church is now the newIsrael. In none of the gospel narratives is an ovine passover lamb mentioned during theLast Supper. Why? Because Jesus is the Passover Lamb for all time. A lot of non-Catholics say that the Eucharist is only a symbol of Jesus, but no Jewish Passover wouldhave been a real Jewish Passover unless the REAL Passover Lamb was eaten. Thatmeans that the bread and wine the apostles ate at the Last Supper had to be the REALPassover Lamb, or Jesus. And the bread and wine we now consume at Mass is now thesame Eucharist, or Jesus.Another prefigurement of the Eucharist in the Old Testament is the manna from Heaven.In Exodus 16:4ff, God feeds the Israelites struggling in the desert with bread fromHeaven. The Israelites were forbidden from storing more than one day’s supply of themanna (except for the day before the Sabbath), so that they would learn to trust in God’sprovidence. Just so, Jesus feeds us with the bread of heaven, His body and Blood, whilewe struggle in our lives, which can certainly resemble wandering in a desert at times.When we say the “Our Father” prayer – “Give us this day our daily bread”- we are askingGod to give us the Eucharist always.In 1 Corinthians 15:45, Jesus is described as “the new Adam”, meaning that throughAdam sin entered the world, and through Jesus salvation entered the world. However,there is more to it than that. Adam ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, anddied as a result. Conversely, Jesus was hanged on a tree (Acts 10:39); He commanded usto eat of the fruit of this tree (his Eucharistic flesh) at the Last Supper, so that we will liveforever and never die.
In the New Testament, there are also several types of the Eucharist. At the wedding feastat Cana, in John 2, Jesus changes ordinary water into wine. Jesus describes himself asthe bridegroom of the Church in Luke 5:34-35. It is no coincidence that His first publicmiracle took place at a wedding, where He changed one substance into another, thusprefiguring the transubstantiation of the wine into blood at the Last Supper.Another example is the multiplication of the loaves, in John 6:11, where 5000 peoplewere fed with only 5 barley loaves. Just as thousands were filled with just five loaves,Jesus feeds millions of believers throughout the centuries with his Eucharistic flesh.At the Last Supper, in Matthew 26, Jesus held up the bread and said – “This IS myBody”. Notice He didn’t say –“This represents my Body”, or “This is a symbol of myBody”. Although curiously questioned by a former President of the US, the word “is”has a very definitive meaning. Jesus also said that his Body and Blood at the Last Supperwas shed for mankind – Us. So it is also a sacrificial meal, in addition to being amemorial meal (do THIS in memory of me). And why was it shed? Jesus said it wasfor the remission of our sins. So the Eucharist is a sacrificial, memorial, and sin-forgiving meal for us. The exact scripture is as follows:Matthew 26:26-28: Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, andgave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and whenhe had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my bloodof the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.Jesus goes to great lengths to tell his believers about the Eucharist. He mentions both themanna in the desert and the multiplication of the loaves as bread that only provided fortemporal needs. He then explained that His body and blood was "real food", & wouldgive us eternal life, not just fill our stomachs. The Jews who heard him said that it was a“hard saying”, and walked away. Why would they walk away and leave someone whothey had seen raise the dead, multiply the loaves, cure the sick, walk on water, etc., if“eating his body” and “drinking his blood” was only a symbolic statement? Theyunderstood his meaning perfectly, that it was a literal statement, and not symbolic. Toliterally “eat someone’s flesh” and to “drink someone’s blood” was a pejorative term inthose days, as seen in Isaiah 9:20, Jeremiah 46:10, and Deuteronomy 32:42.Jesus couldn’t have been more outspoken about the reality of the Eucharist being Hisactual body and blood. The key scriptures are as follows:John 6: 30-66: So they said to him, "Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believeyou? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it iswritten, `He gave them bread from heaven to eat." Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, Isay to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you thetrue bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and
gives life to the world." They said to him, "Lord, give us this bread always." Jesus said tothem, "I AM the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes inme shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All thatthe Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. For Ihave come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; andthis is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, butraise it up at the last day. For this is the will of my Father, thatevery one who sees the Sonand believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." TheJews then murmured at him, because he said, "I am the bread which came down fromheaven." They said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?How does he now say, `I have come down from heaven?" Jesus answered them, "Do notmurmur among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me drawshim; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, `And they shall all betaught by God. Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not thatany one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly,truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I AM the bread of life. Your fathers atethe manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down fromheaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I AM the living bread which came down fromheaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall givefor 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 toyou, 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 lastday. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh anddrinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live becauseof the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came downfrom heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever."This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. Many of his disciples, when theyheard it, said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" But Jesus, knowing in himselfthat his disciples murmured at it, said to them, "Do you take offense at this? Then what ifyou were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life,the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there aresome of you that do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did notbelieve, and who it was that would betray him. And he said, "This is why I told you that noone can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." After this many of his disciplesdrew back and no longer went about with him.An important note is that "I AM" is the name of God, as told to Moses in Exodus 3:14.Here Jesus uses the name of God to say that "I AM (GOD is) the bread of life." Alsonotice above that if you eat Jesus flesh and drink Jesus blood, you abide in Him, and Hein you. Why is this important? Because of
John 15:4-7: Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless itabides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are thebranches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart fromme you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch andwithers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide inme, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.Some people take John 6:63 as the scripture that negates everything that Jesus just said,because it says “the flesh is of no avail”. But scripture can’t contradict scripture, nomatter how hard it is twisted out of context. John 6:63 talks about “the” flesh, or humanflesh in general. In the rest of John 6, Jesus always refers to the necessity of eating “my”flesh, which is quite a distinction. To say that the real meaning of the above scriptures isthat "Jesus flesh is useless", as some protestants do, is heresy. We are saved by the fleshof Christ sacrificed on the cross. And the rest of John 6:63 talks about his words beingspirit and life. “Spirit” is not symbolic, as in “The Father, Son, and Holy “Symbolic”.The Spirit is just as real as He can be. In other parables that Jesus told, when there wasa question as to the meaning of it, he very carefully explained it, as is the case of the
sower and the seed (Luke 8:11). However, here, he explains nothing; he just turns to histwelve apostles and asks if they also want to leave him. Why? Because He meant itliterally, not figuratively. There really was nothing to explain!In 1 Corinthians 10:16-21, Paul says the following:The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in theblood of Christ? Thebread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is onebread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Consider thepeople of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? What do I implythen? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply thatwhat pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partnerswith demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannotpartake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.Here Paul talks about participating in the body and blood of Christ by receiving HolyCommunion. This brings up an important point. The sacrifice of the Mass is not anothersacrifice of Jesus; it is the same one repeated over and over again, through space andtime. The key word is SACRIFICE, as in "This is my body...which is poured out for many forthe forgiveness of sins." Verse 18 above mentions the Jews eating the sacrifice of the altarbeing partners. Of course, the old animal sacrifices of the altar have now been replacedby the one pure sacrifice of the altar, Jesus Christ, as foretold in Malachi 1:11. So manypeople just think of Communion as a memorial only, but it is much more than just amemorial. It is the unbloody sacrifice of Calvary.Additionally, in verse 21 above, Paul talks about not partaking of the table of demonsAND the table of the Lord. That is why the Church says that one must go to confessionfirst and be absolved of any mortal sins before receiving Holy Communion.St. Paul also speaks about the reality of Jesus body and blood in the Eucharist, in 1Corinthians 11:23-30:For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the nightwhen he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said,"This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way alsothe cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often asyou drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,you proclaim the Lords death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread ordrinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the bodyand blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of thecup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinksjudgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
How can one profane the body and the blood of the Lord if the Eucharist is only asymbol? People can get sick and die if they do not discern the body of the Lord whenthey consume the Eucharist. They actually eat and drink judgment upon themselves.How can this be if it is only a symbol? The Eucharist is 5 parts. It is a memorial sacrificial sin-forgiving thanksgiving mealThe effects of taking Holy Communion are as follows:1. it unites us most intimately with Christ;2. it increases sanctifying grace in us;3. it weakens our evil inclinations;4. it strengthens us in the practice of all virtues;5. it cleanses us from venial sins;6. it preserves us from mortal sins;7. it is a pledge of eternal life. The bottom line is that Jesus Himself commanded us to eat His body and to drink His blood, so that we can have eternal life. By ignoring this command of Jesus, or by downplaying its significance, we are putting our very souls at risk, not to mention the fate of the entire world. The devil hates the Eucharist, and is trying to desecrate it and degrade it every chance he gets. By adoring the Eucharist, and by consuming the Eucharist, we are following God’s instructions and helping Jesus to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Remember - The Bible says that the devil goes around like a roaring lion trying to devour us. Evidently the devil wants us damned, so we can be his food, and spend our eternity in hell with him. Jesus, on the other hand, wants to be our food, so we can be blessed and attain eternal life with Him in Heaven.
Remember, a prayer said from the heart immediately after receiving Holy Communion isvery powerful, because you and Jesus are one flesh at that time, so please dont take thetime lightly after you receive Jesus in the Eucharist. And always remember to first seekthe love of Christ, before asking for something.