Communion: Real Presence Of Jesus Or Symbolic Of Jesus?
Why does it matter whether Communion is the Real Presence of Jesus Christ (Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity) or simply a symbol of Jesus' death on the Cross? Well, the truth is, if Catholic and Orthodox Christians are wrong about the Real Presence of Jesus in Communion, then we commit idolatry for worshipping and adoring a piece of bread. However, if Catholic and Orthodox Christians are right about Real Presence Communion, then Protestants who actively deny the doctrine of transubstantiation, end up denying Jesus.
In this article, I plan to provide biblical, historical and scientific evidence to prove that the Eucharist is truly the Real Presence of Jesus Christ.
The origins of animal sacrifices trace back to the Garden of Eden. The sin committed by Adam and Eve were atoned for by the sacrifice of an innocent animal. It was this animal's skin which then covered their nakedness. The Book of Exodus provides us with a detailed blueprint for the sacrificial rites of the Passover, which laid the foundations for understanding the Last Supper.
According to Jewish Tradition, the paschal lamb would even be offered and roasted in a crucifixion type of way. The Passover was both about remembering the past and making it present, in the same way that at every Catholic Mass, the One Sacrifice of Jesus becomes re-present on the Altar. The Early Christians understood the Last Supper through the lens of the Passover and therefore, knew it was absolutely essential to eat the Lamb. A symbol of the Lamb’s flesh was not enough.
“They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes.” (Ignatius of Antioch - A.D. 110).
Every little detail of Catholic Mass originates from Ancient Jewish Worship:
The Bread and Wine offered by Melchizedek in Genesis prefigured the Last Supper offered by Jesus. When consecrated by a validly ordained priest, the essence of the Bread and Wine transforms into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, despite maintaining the appearance and taste of Bread and Wine. If Jesus is our New Sacrifice, then it make sense for there to also be a New Priesthood.
“When there is a change of priesthood, there is necessarily a change of law as well.” — Hebrews 7:12
“Yet he commanded the skies above, and opened the doors of heaven; he rained down on them manna to eat, and gave them the grain of heaven. Mortals ate of the bread of angels; he sent them food in abundance.” — Psalms 78:23-25
If Jesus is our New Moses who provides us with a New Covenant, a New Passover and a New Priesthood, then He also provides us with a New Promised Land and a New Heavenly Banquet. The Manna was miraculous bread from heaven. It was the Israelites’ daily bread to sustain them on their journey towards the Promised Land. When Jesus teaches us to pray ‘give us this day our daily bread,’ we aren’t praying simply for provision, but rather for the New Manna from Heaven – the Eucharist.
“The house of Israel called it manna; it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” — Exodus 16:31
By providing the Israelites with Manna made from honey, God provided them with a foretaste of the Earthly Promised Land (the land flowing with milk and honey). The Manna was a temporary miracle which ceased when the Israelites entered the Promised Land. If the Eucharist is the New Manna from Heaven and our source of spiritual nourishment, then every time we receive the miraculous Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord in Communion, we receive a foretaste of Heaven.
“I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”” — John 6:48-51
If Jesus is the New Manna from Heaven, then one thing Communion cannot simply be is a symbol. If the Original Manna was miraculous bread from Heaven, then the New Manna cannot be normal bread and wine. If so, it would make the Original Manna superior to the New Manna. The only plausible conclusion is that Communion is truly the miraculous Bread of the Divine. Moreover, the fact that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the ‘House of Bread’ foreshadowed how He would become our future source of spiritual nourishment.
“But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” — John 6:61-63
It would be cannibalism if Jesus were speaking about eating His dead flesh. Yet, Jesus was speaking about eating the flesh of His living resurrected body. As His body would no longer be bound to space and time, He could appear anywhere, including the Eucharist. The New Manna provides us with a foretaste for the bodily resurrection, that through eating the resurrected Body of Christ, we may become more Christ-like.
“It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” — John 6:63
Protestant Reformer, Ulrich Zwingli, asserted that John 6:63 proved that Jesus was speaking symbolically. But notice how Jesus said, “the flesh is useless,” and not “my flesh is useless.” If Zwingli’s interpretation were true, then it would also mean that the Incarnation and the flesh that Jesus offered on the Cross was also useless, which is theologically inept. The only logical conclusion would be that Jesus was speaking literally, which is affirmed by the Early Church.
“When [Christ] gave the bread he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my body,’ but, ‘This is my body.’ In the same way, when he gave the cup of his blood he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my blood,’ but, ‘This is my blood’ … We ought . . . not regard [the elements] merely as bread and cup, but as the body and blood of the Lord, into which they were transformed by the descent of the Holy Spirit.” (Theodore of Mopsuestia - A.D. 405).
“Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne…”— Revelation 5:6
The scientific evidence provided by comprehensive studies from miracles around the world prove that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist.
Buenos Aires, Argentina – 1996:
Here the consecrated Communion Host began to bleed and develop into human cardiac tissue. Several scientific studies revealed that the tissue belonged to someone who had struggled to breathe – typical of a crucifixion. White blood cells were found in the sample, which indicated that the tissue was ‘alive’. In normal circumstances, the white blood cells would have disintegrated in less than 15 minutes outside the body. A similar miracle happened in Sokolka, Poland in 2008.
Chirattakonam, India – 2001:
After the priest exposed the Most Holy Sacrament for adoration, three red dots appeared in the Eucharist, which developed into a face with a Crown of Thorns. Currently, the Eucharist remains in India for people to worship.
Tixtla, Mexico – 2006:
Forensic scientists conducted various tests on a consecrated Host which confirmed that blood effused from inside the wafer. The blood tested AB positive – the same blood type found on the Holy Shroud of Turin, believed to be Jesus’ burial shroud, and found in all the other Eucharistic Miracles.
Jesus is literally and truly present in the Eucharist. It’s the most beautiful thing to adore our Lord face to face knowing that at every Mass, the Ministerial Priest offers up to the Father the One Eternal Sacrifice of Jesus Christ and that we as Kingdom Priests, get to participate in receiving the Communion Sacrifice as a foretaste of the Heavenly Promised Land to come...