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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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Jesus Meant What He Said About Eucharist

John 6:52-58: The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food [meat] indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 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 will live because of me. This is that bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

John 6:60: Many of his disciples, when they had heard it, said, “This is an hard saying; who can listen to it?”

John 6:66-69: After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. Jesus said to the twelve, “Will you also go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

The Jews murmured (John 6:41) and abandoned Jesus just as certain so-called Christians (Protestants) reject the Eucharist today. They did not believe that Jesus was God; obviously God could do all things.

Nevertheless, Jesus did not compromise or explain away his teaching in any manner. He insisted upon a literal understanding of the real presence in the Eucharist. There was no misunderstanding. Jesus allowed the Jews (who would prefer a Protestant view of Eucharist) to abandon him. It is bizarre that Protestants can assail the Eucharist and claim that certain disciples misunderstood him when Jesus acted and spoke this way. The truth is that Jesus would even have allowed the twelve apostles to forsake him rather than to give the impoverished Protestant type of Eucharist. Peter responds correctly. Like his many successors, Peter steers the Church toward the truth of Christ. Jesus is God and whatever God says is true, no matter how fantastic and deep a mystery.

For more such reading, contact me about getting my book, DEFENDING THE CATHOLIC FAITH.

2 Responses

  1. Dear Fr Joe,
    Perhaps, to some, these may sound ‘harsh words’ but for me, today, they are very reassuring. Several years ago I went through a very tough time and entered “The valley of the shadow of death”; a period of deep depresson and mental breakdown. And it meant not a presence of anything bad (such can be Satan’s deception!) but an adsence of anything good including God. With a lot of input from the Mental health teams and various psychitrists I started to slowly get better.
    Then, somehow, varous kind people started helping and I was visited by the Witnesses of Jehovah, and it was explained to me that Jesus was not God, there was only one God, and that, eventually I got it out of them that Jesus was St Michael, and my crucifix, here an the wall as I write, was an abomination and a direct contravention of the first commandment. And certainly we would never ‘eat a man’s flesh’ which was cannabalism, so their memorial supper was only done once a year. I was very vulnerable at the time and in a real quandry.

    Then, my Parish Church ran an Alpha course and I got into that, but it was run by some non conformist Evangelical Christians (our priest at the time was that way inclined and used to ‘talk in tongues’ etc) and so I was distracted to their forms of worship and belief which was very Protestant as far as ‘Holy Communion’ was concerned.

    I really was being ‘put on the spot’ as it were. I had to choose. Was I being idolotorous having a statue of Mary in my kitchen and a crucifix of the dead Jesus on my wall, and far worse than that, believeing in The Trinity. Or must I take that ‘leap of faith’ and consciously make that commitment to what was right. In the end I looked carefully around me; at the “Born agains” who offered me salvation because I had said ‘that prayer’ and put 20% in the pot, and the JWs who really wanted to steer me away from my Idolotorous ways and I would then live again on Paradice Earth for 1,000 years, And I said out loud “I believe”
    I said the Niceene Creed, I, like Peter, said “Lord, who can I turn to? You are my salvation and what the Catholic Church teaches IS true”.
    But, surprisingly, it has given me a greater empathy for others, I do not deny my faith, not even try to be politically correct when it comes to explaining our dogma, and some of my friends are Baptists and non-conformists, and yet I will always explain what and why I believe as I do.
    Even through my periods of terrible doubt and nothingness, I still respected the Eucharist if nothing else, and I still do. I have never received communion in my hands; my hands have pulled the necks of chickens, have poured alcohol down my neck, have caressed the naked bodies of women and far worse, and, if I take a look back at our Jewish heritage, they are ceremonially unclean. They have never been annointed and probably never will be, and so, a long time ago, I decided never to let the Sacred Host, the real body of Jesus Christ, truely present in the form of bread, touch these truely unworthy hands. Also I have never received communion under the form of wine as, for me, it is unecessary.

    It is risky, this decision to confirm my faith, because if I have got it wrong and the others are right then I will go to Hell or nothingness at best. If I have got it right and all that the Catholic Church teaches is true then I will have to endure a terrible time in purgatory before a heaven deviod of animals (Sorry that’s not justified but significant nontheless!). So my only consolation is in Christ. And every day I have to try to live and believe this truth even with some days of terrible doubt, but as the Priest raises The Host for adoration at the elevation and the three bells are rung I say, as Thomas did, “My Lord and My God” and I add that other apostolic request “I believe, Lord help my unbelief”

    So, Father (another serious sin according to our seperated bretheren), I thank you for being so forthright, and showing exactly where, in Holy Scripture, we get our dogma from. From the words of Jesus Himself, and it’s perfectly safe to believe them, but simply for me, I struggle to do just that at times. I would love your book and have emailed you for details, so please look out for that when you get time, but thanks again for what you do on the aether.
    Best wishes,

  2. Again, I have to apologize for how harsh this post sounds. It is directed to those who ridicule the Eucharist and not to Protestants who are Christians in love with the Lord. It was written in the heat of an apologetic battle. While my views and orthodoxy have not changed, over the years I have tried to nurture a more ecumenical posture in terms of expression. This post really does not do that.

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