Since Christ Himself has said, “This is My Body” who shall dare to doubt that It is His Body? – St. Cyril of Jerusalem
I’ve been a Christian my entire life. I was baptized as a Presbyterian when I was an infant, I went on to attend Mass with my mother, and a Presbyterian church with my father. What one we went to depended on a multitude of factors, but it would be easy to say that I was a Christian without a denomination.
As I grew older, I was drawn more to evangelical Protestantism, partly because of the music, partly because of the message, but mainly because it aligned with my political worldview. I admired the reformers because I seen them through a lens of anti-authoritarian freedom fighters, on the level with Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, James Madison, and all my other heroes from American history.
But I was never truly sold on Protestant theology. On the surface, I was happy with where I was at, but when I dug down to what a particular church really taught and believed, it never satisfied me. My primary concern was how all these churches that interpret the Bible so literally, would just gloss over John chapter 6 like it never even existed. So I began to examine it myself, and where it led me still amazes to this day.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, 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 last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”
John 6 52-58
I have yet to meet a Protestant who takes this literally (they wouldn’t be Protestant if they did), but while many churches claim the title of “bible believing” or “bible based church” they just gloss over this. At communion services you never would hear John 6, or anything close, and you could count on hearing the words “symbol”, “represents” and “symbolic” at least a handful of times, but never an explanation why we aren’t taking Jesus at His word. The whole doctrine of Sola Scriptura goes out the window when they start adding how it’s a symbol of His body.
Toward the conclusion of His discourse John tells us that “many of His disciples” left and returned to their former lives. Jesus never makes an attempt to alleviate their concerns. In fact, when the murmuring first started, He doubled down on His statement. When asked if they (the Apostles) also wanted to leave, Simon Peter answered him,
Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
He never tried to clarify it to the Apostles, and they accepted it because they knew He was the Messiah.
Nowhere in the entire discourse, does Jesus say that it’s a symbol. This always bothered me; how can churches that claim to accept the entire Bible literally say this is just a symbol?
It was this line of thinking that was the first thing to start drawing me towards the Church that Christ founded. If the Eucharist contains the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ, then what else that the Church teaches is true? I discovered that the answer to that is… everything. Once you breach that wall there is no going back and RCIA is in your future for sure. It was the truth and beauty of the Eucharist that confirmed for me that I belonged in the Catholic Church.
Remember next time you are at Mass, do not to take communion out of habit, but really focus on the beauty and miracle that happens right before your eyes. Every time the priest says the words of institution, a miraculous event takes place, never take that for granted.
I thank God for the instrumental role that the Eucharist played in bringing me home to where I belong in His Church.
If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion.- St. Maximilian Kolbe
(Article originally appeared at Catholic365.com )