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The Eucharist



Jesus is clear in the Bible about how he will give his body to us in the Eucharist.  
John 6:22-71 talks about Jesus being the Bread of Life:

" I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will not thirst." John 6:35

"This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.  I am the living bread that came down from Heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world. " John 6:50-51

"Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you."-John 6:27

Verses 53-58 really drive the point home:

"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.  Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.  This is the bread that came down from Heaven.  Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever." John 6:53-58

If the Eucharist were only symbolic, as some say, Jesus would not have said, "My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink."  Those listening were disturbed by what Jesus said; if he were being symbolic he would have clarified what he had said.  But in verse 66, many of his disciples left because they found the statement hard to accept.  Then Jesus said to the Twelve:

"Do you also want to leave?"  Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life." John 6:67-68

The disciples finally are shown what Jesus means in the above episode at the Last Supper:

"While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it and giving it to his disciples said, "Take and eat; this is my body."  Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins." Matthew 26:26-28 (This also occurs in Mark 14:22-25 and Luke 22:19-20.)

Jesus shows he is present in the Eucharist to the disciples who were on the Road to Emmaus:

"And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.  With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight." Luke 24:30-31

The early Christians devoted themselves to the celebration of the Lord's body and blood:

"They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers." Acts 2:42

Paul, too, spoke of the Eucharist:

"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 this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes." 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

"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." 1 Corinthians 10:16-17.

Paul even talks about making a good examination of conscience and being in the right state of soul before receiving our Lord.  (That will be talked about in the Confession portion of Catholic Belief and the Bible.)

What else can we take from the Bible about the Eucharist?  Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, literally means "House of Bread."  From all these things and from the countless Eucharistic miracles that occur, we can see that it truly is the Body and Blood of Christ.