Catholics believe that the Holy Eucharist is really the Body, Blood, Moea oa, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, under the appearances of bread and wine. While this belief can seem strange to non-Catholics, it is backed up by Sacred Scripture, as well as early Christian historical documents.
The Gospels tell us that on the night Jesus was betrayed He shared a Passover meal with the Twelve Apostles, the Last Supper. The Passover is the ritual meal eaten by the ancient Israelites on the eve of their liberation from bondage in Egypt. God instructed them to slaughter a lamb without blemish, put some of its blood upon the doorframe of their houses, and then roast and eat its flesh (Exoda 12:5, 7-8).
Jesu o ile a, whom the Bible calls “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), is the fulfillment of the Passover lamb. Just as the Passover lamb was without blemish, so Jesus is without sin. Just as the people put the lamb’s blood upon the wood of their doorframes, His blood was upon the wood of the Cross.
Ka tsela e tšoanang, the Last Supper is the fulfillment of the Passover meal, eaten as it was on the eve of mankind’s liberation from sin. On this night the Lamb of God gave His own Flesh and Blood to be eaten by the faithful sacramentally under the form of bread and wine.
ho nka bohobe, hlohonolofatsa e, roba eona, le ho aba har'a Baapostola le, o ile a re, "Nka, ja; hona ke 'mele oa ka " (Matthew 26:26). Ebe O ile a nka senoelo ', eo O ile a boela a hlohonolofatsa, le ba fa, a re, "Lino ea eona, kaofela ha lōna; bakeng sa hona ke mali a ka a selekane, eo a tšolohe bakeng sa ba bangata bakeng sa tšoarelo ea libe " (Matthew 26:27-28). Le hoja Jesu a atisa ho bua metaphorically nakong ea tšebeletso ea hae, ka motsotso ona bohlokoa O ile a bua ka ho hlaka. "Sena ke 'mele oa ka,"O ile a re, without further explanation. "Hona ke mali a ka." Ho thata ho nahana ka moo Morena a ka be a bile ho feta ho toba.
mokgatlo ea Jesu ea selallo ka Selallong Last phethahatsa tummeng Bohobe Hae ea Bophelo thutong, recorded in the sixth chapter of The Gospel According to Saint John. Thutong ena e prefaced ke le katiso ea mahobe 'me tlhapi, in which thousands are miraculously fed from a tiny amount of food (John 6:4). This event is an Eucharistic metaphor, occurring as it does during Passover and involving the same formula Jesus would later use at the Last Supper—taking the loaves, ho leboha, le ho aba bona (John 6:11). Ha sechaba se khutle ka letsatsi le hlahlamang ho batla pontšo e tsoang ho Eena, hopola kamoo baholo-holo ba bona ba ne ba 'nile ba fuoa manna lefeelleng (bona Ex. 16:14 ff.), the Lord tells them,"Ke 'na bohobe ba bophelo; he who comes to me shall not hunger, 'me o ea lumelang ho' na mohla nke ke ka nyoroa " (John 6:35).
Leha ho le joalo Mantsoe a hae a ho etsa hore Bajuda ba sa phutholoha, Jesu o ntse sekhahla, Puong ea hae ea ho hōla butle-butle ho feta ka ho hlaka, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; haeba leha e le mang a ja bohobe bona, o tla phela ka ho sa feleng; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh” (6:51). Because He equates the Bread that is to be eaten with His Flesh that is to suffer and die, we know He cannot be speaking symbolically, for this would mean His Flesh that suffered and died was merely a symbol!
To this the people ask, "Ke joang monna enoa a re fa 'mele oa hae ho ja?" (6:52). Ho sa tsotellehe consternation bona, Jesus speaks all the more emphatically,
"Kannete, kannete, Ke re ho lōna, ntle le hore le je nama ea Mor'a motho le ho noa mali a hae, o na le na bophelo ka ho u; a ea jang nama ea ka le ho noa mali a ka o na le bophelo bo sa feleng, 'me ke tla mo tsosa ka letsatsi la ho qetela. Bakeng sa nama ea ka ke lijo tsa sebele, le mali a ka ke seno ka sebele. O ea jang nama ea ka le ho noa mali a ka o nna ka 'na, le 'na ke mo. Joalokaha Ntate a phelang nthomile, 'me ke phela ka lebaka la Ntate, kahoo o ile a ea jang 'na o tla phela ka lebaka la ho' na. Bona ke bohobe tse theohileng leholimong, se kang bo-ntate a ja 'me o ile a hlokahala; ea jang bohobe bona o tla phela ka ho sa feleng " (6:53-58).
Non-Catholic Christians, who interpret John 6 symbolically, often point to the saying of Jesus that follows His Bread of Life Sermon: “It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (6:63).
Jesus cannot mean His own Flesh, Leha ho le joalo, when He says, “The flesh is of no avail,” because that would mean His death on the Cross was of no avail!
Jesus uses the word “flesh” differently here than He does in the sermon. Here it refers not to the actual body, but to bodily or worldly thinking, reasoning with the flesh instead of the spirit (bona John 3:6, 12; 6:27; Pauluse a Eang ho Baroma e 8:5-6 me puso ea hae Lengolo la pele le eang ho Bakorinthe 2:14-3:3). Jesus is simply saying that it is impossible to understand His Bread of Life teaching by human reason alone; one needs to think in a spiritual way.
Mokete oa selallo e ne e le bohareng bophelong ba Bakreste ba pele, ba ileng "ba inehetseng hore ba ruta baapostola ba 'le botsoalle, ho pshatloa bohobe le lithapelo " (Liketso ea Baapostola 2:42). Paul identifies both the manna and the rock that spewed forth water for the Israelites as Eucharistic metaphors. "All ba ja e tšoanang lijo phahametseng matla a tlhaho le tsohle noa e le 'ngoe e phahametseng tlhaho seno,"O ile a ngola a re. "Etsoe ba noa ho tloha Rock a phahametseng tlhaho e lateloa bona, le Rock ne e le Kreste " (Pauluse a Lengolo la pele le eang ho Bakorinthe 10:3-4).
Even more explicitly, he goes on to admonish the Corinthians for their lack of reverence in receiving the Eucharist, mongolo:
“Whoever, Ka hona, jang bohobe kapa dino senoelo sa Morena ka tsela e sa tšoanelehe tla ba molato oa ho silafatsa 'mele le mali a Morena. 28 Motho a ke a hlahloba ka boeena o, me ho joalo le ja bohobe le ho noa ba senoelo. 29 Bakeng sa leha e le mang ea jang le lino ka ntle ho lemoha 'mele jang le lino kahlolo ka boeena o. 30 Ke ka lebaka leo ba bangata ba u fokola 'me a kula, 'me ba bang ba shoeleng " (Lengolo la pele le eang ho Bakorinthe 11:27-30).
How could the unworthy reception of ordinary bread and wine amount to a sin against the Body and Blood of Jesus?
Early Church Teachings
We know the Catholic Church’s teaching on the Eucharist is in harmony with how the early Christians understood It. Ancient historical writings from the Apostolic Age forward affirm this. Take the writings of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, ka mohlala. Not only was Ignatius a Christian Bishop, but he had learned the faith seated at the feet of the Evangelist John, the one who wrote John 6!
In about A.D. 107, Ignatius was arrested and taken to Rome to die a martyr’s death in the Colisseum.
On his way there, he composed seven letters, which have come down to us and which all reputable scholars agree are authentic.
a hae Lengolo ho Smyrnaeans, he uses the Church’s Eucharistic teaching to defend the belief that Jesus had a real human body against the Docetists, who denied He had truly come in the flesh:
“Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, me u bone kamoo fapana maikutlo a bona ba lokela ho kelello ea Molimo. ... Ba ila le selallo le thapelong, hobane ha ba bolele hore selallo ke Nameng ea Mopholosi oa rōna Jesu Kreste, Nama e le 'eo a utloa bohloko bakeng sa libe tsa rōna le halalelang, oo Ntate, Ka molemo oa hae, raised up again.” (6:2; 7:1)
Sehlopha se e tšoanang le eo a utloa bohloko 'me a shoa ka Cross bakeng sa libe tsa rōna' me a khutlela bafung, ka Ignatius o ile a hlalosa, se teng ho rona ho selallo Halalelang (bapisa le. John 6:51).
Saint Justin le Martyr, writing around the year 150, only about fifty years after John’s death, ile a re: Bohobe selallo le Veine ba amohetse "ha e le tloaelehileng le sebelisoang malapeng bohobe kapa seno tloaelehile hore batho ba,"Bakeng sa Ke" nama le mali a eo incarnated Jesu o ile " (pele ho kōpa tšoarelo 66).
Hoo e ka bang 185, Saint Irenaeus oa Lyons, tichere eo Saint Polycarp oa Smyrna (D. joalokaha. 156) Hape o ne a tseba John, ile a bua ka selallo ho sireletsa tsoho 'mele khahlanong le Bognostic. "Ha 'mele ho sa bolokoa,"Ile a pheha khang ea Saint, "joale, haele hantle, ha ha Morena re lopolla ka mali a hae; le leha e le senoelo sa selallo sa ja mali a hae kapa ke Bohobe boo re bo qhetsolang ho ja 'mele oa hae (1 Bakor. 10:16)" (khahlanong bokhelohi 5:2:2).
ka 217, Irenaeus 'seithuti se, Saint Hippolytus oa Roma, perceived Liproverbia 9:2 as “refer[ring] to His honoured and undefiled body and blood, which day by day are administered and offered sacrificially at the spiritual divine table, as a memorial of that first and ever-memorable table of the spiritual divine supper” (Commentary on Proverbs).