But I have yet another question.
In the Gospel of St. John 6 I've heard it quoted, quoted, quoted, and re-quoted as applying to the Eucharist. We read the following, I"m beginning in verse 47â€¦
â€œTruly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.
Notice St. John, quoting Jesus, says that Jesus said if you believe in Jesus you have eternal life. â€œHe who believes in the Son has eternal life, he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him." â€“ the Gospel of St. John 3:36 in the Roman Catholic Bible. Jesus said, â€œIf a man believes in Me though he die yet shall He live for he"s passed from death to life" â€“ the Gospel of St. John 5:24according to the Roman Catholic Bible. Belief is the key to eternal life.
â€œI am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.
Jesus is saying that the manna that fell in the wilderness in the book of Exodus is a symbol of Him. It is the type, He is the antitype.
Now I am told that this refers to communion, the Lord's Supper at the Eucharist. The Lord"s Supper â€“ the Eucharist, comes of the Jewish Passover. The Last Supper was a Jewish Passover meal called a â€œseder". But Jews had to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem at Passover time; this was not at Passover and it was not in Jerusalem. Whatever applies to the Lord"s Supper does not apply in the direct sense because it's not the Last Supper. It's the wrong time of year, it"s the wrong place. It is, first of all, talking about how the Exodus was a symbol of Jesus â€“ the manna.
â€œI am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh."
He would give His flesh for the life of the world.
Then the Jewsâ€¦
â€¦that means the Judeans, not all Jews but the religious establishment,,,
â€¦began to argue with one another, saying, â€œHow can this man give us His flesh to eat?"
Those influenced by the Pharisees would have had this argument.
So Jesus said to them, â€œTruly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 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, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever."
Unless you eat His flesh and drink His blood you cannot live.
I'm told this is the Eucharist and it is the key to eternal life. That's what I was taught in Catholic school. The context, however, going all the way back to verse 32 is the Exodus. No fewer than three places Jesus says in the same passage that the key â€“ the key â€“ to eternal life is belief. But I am told the bread and wine was transubstantiated, turned into His literal body and blood and then eaten. How do I account for this? Well, the first problem I had as a Catholic looking at this was this: Just reading onâ€¦
â€¦in verse 59â€¦
â€¦He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum"â€¦
â€¦not at the Last Supper in Jerusalem when the Lord"s Supper communion was instituted.
Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, â€œThis is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?" But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, â€œDoes this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? â€œIt is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothingâ€¦
How can eating His flesh be the key to eternal life if â€œthe flesh profits nothing"? â€œEating the flesh" meant believing His words. I will prove it.
We have to read this as a literary unit, as a â€œgospel". In John 1 of this same gospel St. John writes that â€œthe Word became flesh" (Jn. 1:14) â€“ the Greek word â€œsarx". â€œLogos" became â€œsarx". Jesus is the Word of God incarnate.
Look at the New Testament, first of all in the book of Revelation 10:10. This Same St. John, the same apostle who wrote this in the Apocalypse, saysâ€¦
I took the little book out of the angel"s hand and ate itâ€¦
Belief equals eating the Word of God; you make it part of yourself. He was the Word incarnate, it becomes incarnate within us, it becomes part of us. He ate the Word.
Let"s look at the book of the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel 3â€¦
Then He said to me, â€œSon of manâ€¦
â€¦just as Jesus is called â€œSon of Man"â€¦
â€¦eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel." So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll.
So he ate the Word of God.
The Hebrew prophet Jeremiah said the following in 15:16â€¦
Your words were found and I ate themâ€¦
The Word becomes flesh. You â€œeat" the Word by believing it. â€œHe who believes has eternal life". Jesus says in John 6, the flesh profits nothing. How could it possibly be the key to eternal life? You have three problems; that's what I discovered as a Catholic.
The first problem was on one hand I was being told that the sacrament of the Eucharist was the key to eternal life, but the catechism told me salvation comes by the sacraments of baptism and penance â€“ that"s how sin is taken away. It contradicts itself. Which sacrament saves? Now in fact by reading the Bible I came to realize no sacrament saves â€“ Jesus saves. It's not an ex opere operato ritual called a â€œsacrament". The sacraments are emblems; it"s believing in Him through faith and repentance. That is the first problem. How can the Eucharist be the key to eternal life if your own catechism says it"s other sacraments?
The second problem: Once more, in the first church council of the book of Acts of the Apostles chapter 15, the apostles, including Peter,outlawed the consumption of blood as a pagan demonic practice. Cannibalism was outlawed as pagan and demonic. Christians were told not to do it. If it is literal blood, you can"t drink it. The apostles were told by the Holy Spirit to forbid its consumption. â€œThe flesh profits nothing". That"s the second problem.
The third problem is, again, Jesus was a Jew. This had to be celebrated at Passover in Jerusalem. What He would have said, the Hebrew prayer, would have been, â€œZa guphe sha ani ashbar b"ad"chem zot asu l"zichroni; ha"cos ha"zot he ha"brit ha"had asch zot asu l"zichroni." â€œThis is my body I"ve broken for you, this cup is the cup of the new covenant of my blood poured out for you, do it in remembrance of Me." (Lk. 22:17-20) The apostles and Jesus were Jewish; they understood it would have been a memorial if they understood what it meant at all. Obviously the Sanhedrin and the people they influenced did not. It"s a memorial. â€œDo this in remembrance of Me". Consumption of blood was a pagan practice, not a Jewish one.
That is my question. If your own catechism says salvation comes by baptism and penance, how can it come by the Eucharist? If the flesh profits nothing, how can it be talking about literal flesh, given the fact that the apostles condemned its literal consumption? The doctrine of transubstantiation was formulated in its present form in the Middle Ages by Thomas Aquinas based on Aristotle"s â€œphilosophy of accidents" which was debunked by modern science, chemistry, and physics. I won't go into that now, but that is my question. If the flesh profits nothing, if Jesus said the key is belief â€“ eating His flesh is believing the Word, if the consumption of blood was outlawed, how can it be what I was told as a Catholic and what you were told? It can't possibly be if you"re not allowed to consume blood and the flesh profits nothing. Please answer my question. I've yet to find a priest who can, maybe you can.
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