Now in the second Theological Proof that the Catholic Church is the only community of Churches that Christ Jesus established through His Apostles I revisit the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist with another excerpt from the Eighth Chapter of my Book Cooperating with God: Life with the Cross where I treat the Sixth Chapter of John’s Gospel. Whether you’re a Catholic or a Protestant depends solely on your interpretation of this chapter.
Discovering Jesus as the Holy Sacrament
through the Sixth Chapter of John
“In the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John (vv. 22 through 70), we see our Lord teaching an assembly of Jews at a Synagogue in Capernaum. This group of Jews is actually the same one that was treated to the Didactic Mystery of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fish the day before. After waking up and realizing that the young Rabbi was no longer there with them, they got into their boats and sailed to Capernaum to look for Him. They went in search of Jesus because they were thirsting for something; perhaps for more food, more healings, or maybe the truth. Jesus correctly discerned their needs and said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”
“Notice that the seekers do not deny their hunger for more food or miracles, but rather they move to accept Jesus’ invitation to discern how to work for the food that gives eternal life; they ask, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one He sent.” So they said to Him, “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from Heaven to eat.’
“The forthcoming lesson with our Israelite seekers is, ‘Be careful of what you ask God for; because He might just decide to give it to you.’ These Israelites asked Jesus how they could work to get the food that gives eternal life and He simply told them to believe in the one that God sent. They then asked for a sign comparable to the famous manna bread from the desert exodus that descended from Heaven, and Jesus went on to tell them that, “I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” In saying this, Jesus had just exceeded the limits of acceptable truth for many of the Jews gathered there. “The Jews murmured about Him because He said, “I am the bread that came down from Heaven.” The Jews then began to forget about all of the miracles that they had just seen Jesus perform the day before and quickly reduced the young Rabbi back to terms they could accept. “. . . and they said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know His father and mother? Then how can He say, ‘I have come down from Heaven?’” Jesus answered and said to them, “Stop murmuring among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day. It is written in the prophets: ‘They shall all be taught by God.’”
“Jesus was not teaching some sort of exclusive Gnostic doctrine or laying the foundation of John Calvin’s ‘absolute predestination’ here! All He was telling them was that, ‘If you do not believe that I am who I say that I am then stop wasting time talking to each other but, instead, pray to my Father and ask Him to give you the faith that you need to believe’. Nothing esoteric was being said here. It was just a plain old-fashioned invitation to faith and prayer!
“In vv. 47 through 51, Jesus repeats His answer to their question, by telling them that He is the Bread of Life; that He is the new manna that descends from Heaven; that this bread is greater than the old manna – He said, “. . . whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.”
“These were good faithful Jews here who were efforting greatly to discern who/what this young Rabbi is, and how they could Cooperate with God through His teaching, but they had just entered the Twilight Zone when Jesus told them to eat His flesh. Every faithful Jew knows that eating human flesh is a sin. “How can this man give us [His] flesh to eat?” Jesus could have backed down here, but He decided to push them even further, to tear down their known reality; that is, what they knew to be absolutely true. Jesus knew that the law forbids Jews from drinking blood, but He commanded them to do it anyway. He said, “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, and I will raise him on the last day. 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.”
“Then many of His disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard, who can accept it?”” Indeed, these were very hard words for a faithful Jew to accept. The young Rabbi’s teaching did not sound like a fulfilled teaching at all. It sounded like something completely new, foreign, and impossible! Jesus knew that they were scared and He could have backed down, but, instead, He persisted to press them even further. He went on to compare the miracle of the Bread becoming His Flesh to another miracle, which would also happen in the future. “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?” To paraphrase our Lord in the language of theology, ‘If you cannot believe in the transubstantiation of the Seder bread and wine into my Body and Blood, then you cannot believe in the Ascension of my Body either.’
“Verses 63 through 71 directs us back to my point about Judas Iscariots’ betrayal. The true betrayal is not found in the acceptance of the contract, or in him executing it, or even his kiss. The true betrayal of Judas Iscariot was that He did not faithfully discern the Body of Christ under the guise of bread and wine. “It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” It is true, God is Spirit and His word does give Life – Christ Jesus is the Life. The same Spirit that moved across the face of the waters and gave life to creation and came upon Mary to give life to Jesus, is the same creative power that turns water into wine, bread into Flesh, and wine into Blood. When God utters His word – it gives life and does not return back void. To accept that Jesus can turn bread into His Flesh and wine into His Blood requires us to have spiritual insight into the life, power, and will of God – “the flesh is of no avail.” It is terribly easy to believe in a spiritual-only presence of Christ Jesus in the Eucharist, but to believe in His Real Presence requires God-given faith. Judas lacked faith because he was a man of the flesh and not of the Spirit.
“Read the text again, “But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray Him. And He said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” Jesus clearly calls it a betrayal here for one not to believe that the Seder (fulfilled Passover/Eucharist) Bread is His actual Flesh. He also clearly says that it is a grace/gift from God the Father to know (have faith in) the Holy Eucharist as the Real Presence of His Son.
“It was because they lacked faith that “many [of] His disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied Him” on this day. Jesus could have backed down when they began to leave and told them to come back; that He was only speaking symbolically, but Jesus is not a God of lies. Instead, He pressed those whom He had chosen and ordained: “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.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you Twelve? Yet is not one of you a devil?” He was referring to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot; it was he who would betray Him, one of the Twelve.” Jesus put His whole earthly ministry on the life for the acceptance of this one truth!
“Those who left Jesus that day did not stop following Him because they thought that He was being merely ‘symbolic’ in encouraging them to eat His Flesh under the guise of Bread. No, these Jews knew exactly what Jesus was saying and they rejected it, and on those grounds Jesus allowed them to leave, because they had rejected the truth. To say that Jesus allowed these Jews to leave based upon some misunderstanding of what He was teaching is to say that Jesus sinned, because He allowed them to leave believing a lie. That is scandal! Truth does not work that way!
“Again, Judas Iscariot’s betrayal is directly linked to his inability to faithfully discern Christ in the New Covenant Seder Bread and Wine. That is why the narrative of John says, “So he dipped.” Notice that the Scripture does not say that Judas ate the morsel. No, the morsel (the life giving bread) did not enter Judas, but Satan did! “So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.””
“The reason why Matthew and Mark quotes Jesus as saying that it would be the one (of the Twelve) who has dipped his hand with Him (who is eating with Him) who would betray Him, is because for a person to have the audacity to eat the Holy Eucharist (New Covenant Seder) Bread and Wine and not faithfully discern it to be the true Body and Blood of our Lord Christ Jesus is a great sin and betrayal! St. Paul wrote about the consequences of this failure to discern the Body and Blood rightly in this way:
“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? Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one Body, for we all partake of the one loaf.”
- “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.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes. 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. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the Body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying. If we discerned ourselves, we would not be under judgment; but since we are judged by [the] Lord, we are being disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.”
“If all of those who profess to follow Christ Jesus were to share the same faith in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, we would all be one. The failure on the part of many to discern Christ Jesus in the New Seder Bread and Wine has always been the primary source of our divisions. Satan knows the power of the Body and Blood of the Lord and that is why he plants the seeds of heresy in the heart of the proud. St. Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth about their factions and divisions, which were being raised by the failure of some to faithfully discern the Body and Blood, while others did. About fifty years later, St. Ignatius wrote to the Church at Smyrna concerning the same problem:
But consider those who are of a different opinion from us, as to what concerns the grace of Jesus Christ which is come unto us, how contrary they are to the design of God. They have no regard to charity, no care of the widow, the fatherless, and the oppressed; of the bond or free, of the hungry or thirsty. They abstain from the Eucharist, and from the public offices; because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ; which suffered for our sins, and which the Father of His goodness, raised again from the dead. And for this cause contradicting the gift of God, they die in their disputes; but much better would it be for them to receive it, that they might one day rise through it. It will therefore become you to abstain from such persons; and not to speak with them neither in private nor in public.
“The scandalous sin of Christian denominations is intimately linked together with this sin of betrayal. It is of no coincidence that only the Catholic Church teaches that the Real Presence (Body and Blood) of Christ Jesus comes to us (Parousia) under the guise of Bread and Wine at the Sacrament of the Eucharist. It is of no coincidence that only the Catholic Church celebrates, represents, and renews the Pascal sacrifice and the glorious resurrection of our Lord in the Sacrifice of the Mass – everyday and all day long, just as it was prophesied and commanded.
“It is impossible for us to share the same faith in one Church if we do not share the same faith in one Bread. It is impossible for us to discern the divine call for us to all belong to the same one visible Church (one visible Body) if we simultaneously fail to discern the Body of Christ in the one visible Bread and Cup. We betray the Lord and His prayer when we reject His one Body for some separate faction. Recognize that Satan’s plan of deceit all along was to make us all Judases, by getting us to reject the coming of His Body.
“Sacred Scripture is absolutely clear in saying that those who fail to discern the Real Presence of Christ Jesus in the transubstantiated Bread and Wine, of the Sacrament of the Eucharist, betray the Son of God; and for those who betray Him, “It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” This is true, because it is only through the faithful discernment of the Body that we receive the Bread that gives eternal life. I am not saying that Catholics and non-Catholics alike, who have heard the Catholic teaching on the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist and have rejected it, have consequently condemned themselves to Hell. No, I am not saying that, but sacred Scripture is saying that those who reject this truth will have to give account as to why they rejected the Father’s words spoken through His own Son!
“God the Father said that “everyone who believes in Him [[His Son]] might not perish but have eternal life,” and Christ Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent.” The desire of the Father and the Son, that we live with them forever in Heaven, is realized through the Holy Eucharist, for Christ Jesus said Himself, “Whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.” “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, and I will raise him on the last day.” “Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood remains in me and I in Him.” “I am the way, the truth, and the life” “Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. And I know that His commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me.” It is impossible to accept both Christ Jesus and reject Christ Jesus at the same time – in either one or the other. Therefore, those who say that they believe that the Lord is real, but simultaneous reject His Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist are Judases. Because they reject Jesus and His words, they, consequently, condemn themselves in their betrayal of Jesus.
“This is why the Protestant (Judas’) denial of the Sacrament of the Eucharist is so detrimental to the health of their soul. In the first place, they deny that God has the power to come to them in the simple form of Bread and Wine. This is a stumbling block for them, inasmuch as it is for the Jews who deny that God can come to them in the simple form of a human being. Second, they offend God by denying Him the one thing that He desires, that is to be one with us (dwelling in us). I’ve been there. I’ve been a Protestant. I’ve been through Catechism classes – wondering in doubt whether this Transubstantiation thing could really be true. It is a scary notion to think of God in such a simple way and being so close and intimate with Him, by taking all of Him into your body in this way. The old deist in me wanted God to remain far off, but what I came to realize, through discerning prayer and study, is that it is only and always God’s word (love) that can speak things into existence and give them life.
“In regards to the motive and means, the Catholic doctrine on the Sacrament of the Eucharist is a very reasonable teaching for any Christian to believe. Concerning motive: The God who entered the world and became something natural to the world, so that those who He loves in the world could become one with Him, is the very same God who continues to enter the world by becoming something natural to the world, so that He can become one with those in the world who love Him. Concerning means: The same word that had the power to create the Heavens and earth, bring forth flesh from dirt, forgive sins, exorcise demons, calm storms, and raise the dead, is the very same creative word that has the power to Transubstantiate the New Seder bread and wine into the real Flesh and Blood of Christ Jesus.
“Here is a good question: ‘What good reason is there to ever deny the power of God’s word?’ And here is a poem for meditation:
“As the Word became Flesh and Blood,
and lived to give us true life.
So does the Word become true Healing Food;
so that all who believe and eat and drink of it
will never die.”
 Cf. Lev. 3:17; Dt. 12:23.
 Cf. Jn. 4:24.
 Cf. Jn. 14:6.
 Cf. Gen. 1:2; Lk. 1:35.
 1 Cor. 10:14-17.
 1 Cor. 11:23-32.
 Cf. Isa. 19:21; Mal. 1:11; Lk. 22:14-23; Rom. 15:16; Pesiqta I, p. 159.
 Jn. 3:16.
 Jn. 17:3.
 Jn. 6:47-48.
 Jn. 6:53-54.
 Jn. 6:56.
 Jn. 14:6.
 Jn. 12:48-50.
Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association
6 PART SERIES ON THE ‘PROOFS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’:
- Prima Sequitur
- A Visible Reality
- Time Travel, Guys Named Peter, and Folks who Wanna Be Starting Something
- The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is the New Covenant Seder/Passover Meal
- It all Stands or Falls on John 6
- It Has Been Proven to Work