By what authority do Catholics say that the Eucharist or host is the body, blood, humanity, soul and divinity of Jesus? The answer to this question is so simple that most Protestants look past it. Even the fundamentalists, who believe the Bible at its face value, have difficulty with the concept of Jesus being in the bread and the wine.
It is all about the Bible — where Jesus says, “This is my body.” He doesn’t say, “This is a symbol of my body.” We take the Eucharist in remembrance of him because it is him.
Starting in John 6:51, Jesus says, “I myself am the living bread come down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread, he shall live forever. The bread I will give is my flesh for the light of the world. Let me solemnly assure you that if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will have no life within you. For my flesh is real food, and my blood is real drink. “
From the very beginning of the Catholic Church we have believed this. The same church that said that this was the real Jesus in the Eucharist is the same church that said that the Bible was the Word of God at the Council of Rome in 390 A.D. The Eucharist goes back to the very beginning.
When Jesus tells his disciples to “do this in remembrance of me,” he is telling them that He didn’t want the Eucharist to become a meaningless ritual. Instead, he wanted all believers to understand that the reason we eat Jesus’ flesh and drink his blood is because we have a relationship with him. This is why the Bible says it.
I Corinthians 11:29 says, “For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.” That is why many among you are sick and infirm and so many are dying.” Would the Bible say something as grave as this about a mere symbol?
There are multitudes of texts in the Bible that reiterate the real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Some of them were prophesies from the Old Testament. Others were from the words of Jesus, while others were instructions given to us in the Epistles.
By what authority do we Catholics take the Eucharist as the real body and blood of Jesus? God’s authority: by the Bible, the Magisterium of the Church from its beginning through today, and by tradition as it has been recorded since Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.
The next time you take communion, remember…