The Most Blessed Sacrament

News: Commentary
by Paul Brock  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  June 21, 2021   

'Take, eat; this is my body'

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The Eucharist, Holy Communion, Bread from Heaven, the Lord’s Supper — the Most Blessed Sacrament is the "Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ," and therefore in this supreme gift, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity is "truly, really and substantially contained." 

Jesus prepared the world for this teaching in the synagogue of Capernaum, calling Himself "the living bread, which came down from Heaven." He then instituted the sacrament at the Last Supper — the night before He was crucified — commanding His followers: "Take, eat; this is my body." 

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St. Paschasius

Recognition & Denial

In the ninth century, a French monk, St. Paschasius, wrote a beautiful meditation of the Eucharist and its central reality of being the Real Presence of Christ under the appearance of bread and wine. 

Almost immediately another monk, Ratramnus, responded with a denial of the teaching.

This clash gave the Church the opportunity to define the teaching in precise clarity, which it did. 

Ratramnus was made to submit to the teaching of the Real Presence in its precise wording. 

It was that document over a thousand years later that Pope Paul VI would quote word-for-word in restating the millennia-old truth. 

Then came the 16th-century Protestant revolt against virtually all things Catholic — touched off by German Augustinian priest Martin Luther

Luther denied the authority of the Catholic Church as necessary for salvation and brought many followers with him — followers who were all Catholic.

This rejection led to other so-called reformers like Johannes (John) Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli (another heretical Catholic priest), to flat-out deny the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist — the first time in Christian history this denial actually gained serious traction among self-described Christians. 

New Testament Fulfills the Old

Looking at the Sacred Books as a whole, The New Testament does not abolish, but rather fulfills the Old Testament, and the Eucharist is at the center of it all.

In the book of Genesis, God tells Abraham to take his only begotten son, who carries the wood he is to die on, and sacrifice him on a mountain.

The New Testament does not abolish, but rather fulfills the Old Testament, and the Eucharist is at the center of it all.

Abraham’s son, Isaac, asks his father "where is the Lamb?" He responds: "God will provide the lamb." When Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, God sent an angel to stop him and then provided a ram for the sacrifice.

Being that it was a ram and not a lamb that ended up being sacrificed, the lamb Abraham said God would provide was still waiting to be seen, and this wait lasted about 2,000 years. 

The arrival of the Lamb is seen in the New Testament in Bethlehem — lying in a manger (or a feeding trough — prefiguring the teaching on the Eucharist), and the Lamb is explicitly announced at the Jordan River. John the Baptist, seeing Jesus coming towards him, says "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" 

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Answering the question that was still ringing from the Genesis account of Abraham and Isaac, John the Baptist clarified for the world that God did provide the Lamb, as Abraham said He would. 

Just as Abraham was to sacrifice his only begotten son on a mountain, God the Father sacrificed His — who also, like Isaac, carried the wood He was to die on. 

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Abraham about to sacrifice Isaac and the Crucifixion

On top of the virtually identical stories of Abraham and Jesus, the geography is the same as well. The Mount of Moriah is where God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, and that is where Jesus was crucified. 

As Jesus’ crucifixion was prefigured in the Old Testament, so too was the Eucharist. 

Cities and towns were typically named after a pagan god or ruler, and this is the history with Caesarea Philippi and Jerusalem. Caesarea Philippi for example, used to be called Paneas — after the Greek god Pan (known by the pagans who worshipped him as the god of shepherds and flocks). It’s also the same exact place Jesus established His Church, giving Peter the keys to His kingdom here. 

Likewise, Jerusalem used to be called Shalim — after the pagan god of Creation (also known as the god of dusk and dawn). 

The king of Shalim (which later would be called Jerusalem) was Melchizedek — who at the time, held the rare title of King of Shalim and also priest of the Most High God. In the 14th chapter of Genesis, Melchizedek blesses Abram with bread and wine; a rare act not really found anywhere in the ancient world. 

The Fulfillment

It is in the New Testament where bread and wine, and their fulfillment, are seen. 

In Jerusalem, specifically in the upper room a night before Jesus was to be crucified, He also offers bread and wine — but this time they were not merely food and drink that nourishes the body, but rather His own body and blood, offered for all mankind. 

"Take, eat; this is my body.”

"Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." 

This teaching is even reiterated after Jesus resurrected from the dead, breaking bread with two of his disciples who did not recognize Him

A Protestant-turned Catholic explains Scriptural fulfillment in the Eucharist
 

The 24th chapter of St. Luke's Gospel records: "When He was at table with them, He took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished out of their sight." 

Throughout Scripture, there is a common theme of God not allowing His creatures to profane the Sacred. 

  • He throws the corrupt money changers out of the temple (or His Father’s house of prayer)
  • He instituted the Eucharist in the same land where pagans worshipped the god of Shalim 
  • He even prepared the world for His Church at the same spot where centuries before, pagans offered sacrifices to their false gods 

Before Jesus ascended to Heaven, He told His disciples "I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world." He left His Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, with Himself in the Eucharist at the center of it all. 

Early Recognition of Christ in the Eucharist

In the early second century, St. Ignatius of Antioch writes: "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." 

Before Jesus ascended to Heaven, He told His disciples 'I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.'

In the middle-second century, St. Justin Martyr writes: "The food which has been made into the Eucharist by the eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, is the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus Christ." 

In the later-second century, St. Irenaeus writes: "How can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life — flesh, which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord ... receiving the Word of God, becomes the Eucharist, which is the body and blood of Christ." 

Watch the full episode of Mic'd Up — The Most Blessed Sacrament.

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