Friday, March 18, 2011

Why am I Catholic? (Part III: Eucharist)

I say the "Eucharist" because it is miraculously Christ among us, in the form of bread and wine. Just like the Son of God is Jesus the Son of man, so is the Son of God the bread and wine made present and accessible to those of us who believe, physically and spiritually uniting us with him and each other.

St. Paul asks: "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?"(1 Corinthians 10:16). St. Paul tells us that he received directly from Christ instructions regarding his presence in the bread and wine: "For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and after he had given thanks, broke it and said, 'this is my body, that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.' ... Therefore whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:23-27).

In John 6:53-69 we read: "Amen, Amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life … For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him … Many of his disciples who were listening said, 'This saying is hard; who can accept it?' … 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. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God." I too stand with St. Peter and echo his words.

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