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Ink Slingers

Was the Eucharist Ever a Little Snack?


An acquaintance recently joked, “
-slippery slope! The Eucharist started out as ‘snack time’ for the Catholics and look where that went!

I’m not sure he knows how a slippery slope works.

The Eucharist is a Christian teaching that has remained constant for 2000 years. That is no slippery slope. The real slide is on the protestant side, slipping away from His Church (John 16:13; Matthew 16:18; Matthew 28:16-20) with thousands of competing denominations all claiming to be “Bible only.” The Eucharist has been the pinnacle of our services since Acts; they are the ones who have slid into little snacks. I don’t care if he doesn’t believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but I do care when Church teaching is misrepresented.

The Eucharist has never been “snack time.” About an hour of reading the first Christian writers (If one can stop after only an hour; we couldn’t!), beginning with the Gospels and epistles, then onward 300 years until the New Testament was codified (and on and on …) makes it crystal clear that these men believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the bread and wine. And these were the same men who picked and prayed our New Testament into life.

The apostles were Jews. They knew about manna from heaven. They knew what the Passover was ~ the sacrifice of the innocent lamb whose blood saved them from death. They ate their lamb. They watched Jesus bless food, break it, and feed 5000. He told them to eat His flesh in John 6. When some left out of horror, Our Lord said again that they had to eat His flesh. At the Last Supper, when He lifted up the Passover bread and wine and said, “This is My Body; this is My Blood,” they were floored. They got it. After the resurrection, with some disciples in Emmaus, He was known in the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:30-32). Paul told the Corinthians that they would be guilty of a sin against the Lord, his body and blood, if they came unworthily (I Corinthians 11:27-29).

The Didache, a catechism written in the 90’s (yes, the 90’s!), directs Christians to confess their sins before partaking in the Eucharist so that the sacrifice would be pure. Since the sacrifice of Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, what He did 2000 years ago is just as efficacious now. He is our perfect sacrifice for sin!

Ignatius of Antioch, writing in the year AD 110, said that he desired the Eucharist, the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Justin the Martyr, AD 100-165, wrote, “For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which, our blood and flesh is nourished, is both the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus.”

And on and on they wrote of the Real Presence of Jesus in the bread and wine, long before the New Testament was even bound and called sacred by Church councils. Men like Irenaus of Lyons, Tertullian, Origen, Clement, Augustine, and the council of Nicaea. The first Church council was in Jerusalem, recorded in Acts 15, when the question of circumcision was hashed out by Church leaders, then explained to the people. We believe what Jesus said to the Twelve in John 16, that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth. He still does. And we still follow. 

So I encourage my non-Catholic friends as they insult the Church, to at least make sure the facts are straight. When you falsely say that the Eucharist began as a little snack, your entire witticism falls apart.

To know what the Catholic Church teaches, go to its catechism online or pick up a print copy. Those of us who love our Church will call out blatant untruths and bad jokes. And tell good ones about ourselves!

Want to read some good Catholic jokes? Click here and here.


Categories
Allison Bible Faith Formation Ink Slingers Spiritual Growth

How Genesis 24 Foreshadows Christianity

One of the things I miss about Protestantism is my husband’s preaching. One of his favorite sermon topics was Old Testament types. A type is a person, event, or thing in the Old Testament that foreshadows something in the New Testament. That’s why learning that the Ark of the Covenant is a type of Mary was such a Eureka! moment for him as we studied Catholicism. There are many types in the Old Testament, like the Ark of the Covenant, that give us a glimpse of the New Testament. Genesis 24 is another ancient story that foreshadows Christianity.

rebekah and servantElderly Abraham dispatches his chief servant to locate a bride for his son Isaac. He finds the beautiful virgin Rebekah and silently prays. She treats him kindly and he showers her with golden bracelets and a ring (which she puts in her nose but nevermind that). Although her family initially resists, she agrees to leave immediately with the servant for her new home of Abraham’s to marry Isaac. They go; they wed; they’re comforted and happy; the end.

But look closer. Abraham is a picture of Father God, desiring a bride for His Son. The servant is a picture of the Holy Spirit ~ actively searching, praying, leading, and giving gifts for the journey. Isaac is a picture of Jesus, awaiting the arrival of His beloved to take into His home and love. Rebekah is a picture of the Church ~ chosen, blessed, helped, and travelling.

sending the holy spirit

Do you feel the same “cool!” or “amazing!” response that we do? Isn’t it cool and amazing to see real history and real theology intertwined like this? We can never grasp all that there is to know about God, but we need never cease learning for He is infinite and our souls can never be too full of God. There is connection between the very beginning of written Scriptures to the very end, as round and round, it is intertwined like a great ball of yarn in the Father’s Hands. He wants people home with His Son and He sends the Comforter to find us, decorate us, and bring us to the arms of Jesus!

Rebekah’s family sent her off with these words:
“Sister, may you grow into thousands of myriads;
May your descendants gain possession of the gates of their enemies! (Genesis 24:60)”

Yes Lord, we pray this for Your grateful Church.

(And if my daughter ever comes home with a nose ring, I’ll tell her she looks beautiful like Rebekah!)

Categories
Adrienne Communion Doctrine Faith Formation Ink Slingers Mass Sacraments Sacred Scripture

Bible 101: Beginning with a Beginner

Gospel of John Chapter 1, NAB

“In the beginning…” Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1

I’ve been attending Mass all my life, and thus whether or not I was listening, I have been exposed to the whole Bible, most all passages as least once, and many passages (especially those in the Gospels) more times than could ever be counted. Yet… until recently I couldn’t have told you squat about squat in the Bible. So, here’s my attempt to help the me of yester-year (or, maybe even last year, or the year before). And for anyone out there who is at a similar place of complete indirection, I am inviting you into the Bible with me! I’m no Bible scholar, I’ve taken no formal classes, I have no credentials to do this … come, join me!

I’m planning to do a series on this subject, but have no plan laid out, except to get you to a place that you should be able to figure out where to find something in the Bible, beginning with the Gospels and the New Testament. Did I already lose you?

Many years ago I was watching an episode of Friends where the guys are in a hotel, and Ross steals the Bible from the nightstand drawer. Chandler asks Ross (a Jew) what he’s going to do with it, because it’s a New Testament! “Huh!” I thought. Yes, it was a light bulb moment. That’s how I learned that the New Testament has Jesus in it. The Old doesn’t. Thank you, Friends! I’m still impressed that at that time I even knew it was Jesus who separated Jews from Christians (Christians accept Jesus as the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament, the Jews do not and are still preparing for the Messiah).

When I was just beginning Catholic apologetics, I knew I needed (and had) Scripture on my side, and I would find my self asking the question, “I wonder where all in the Bible we can find out what Jesus actually said and did?” The answer was painted in the cupola of my parish church…. it would be Matthew, Mark, Luke and John… you know, the four Gospel writers. It was then I finally learned what distinguished the Gospels from other books in the Bible. Though, that left me wondering what was in the remaining 69 books…. I mean, isn’t the Bible supposed to be about God, and Jesus? Why only four books for Jesus? We’ll get to that in my series of rambling posts on beginning Scripture!

So, journey with me, your utterly unqualified tour guide, through the Sacred Scriptures! I’m hoping for an interactive learning experience. So please leave your questions (and encouragement!) in the com boxes, and for the Biblically enlightened among us, please, share your knowledge in the com boxes!

Up Next…

Next time we will be exploring Scripture in the Mass!  You’re on pins and needles, aren’t you?  I can see it in the glow of the screen on your face.  I love your enthusiasm!!

Homework

I will be assigning homework with each post to keep things interactive.  Today’s homework is to either find your Bible at home, or click the link below!  There.  You have a Bible at your fingertips.

Find readings for any day of the week and find also the Bible online here: http://www.usccb.org/bible/.