The majority of non catholics believe the Eucharist does not contain the real presence of Christ. They believe the Eucharistic offering of bread and wine is simply symbolic and Christ is not really present in the offering.
The problem with their claim as a symbolic act is like a paper cup of water with a hole at the bottom of it. The cup becomes empty and void of its substance. And in comparison a symbolic act of the Eucharist is also empty and void of its substance : the body – blood – soul and divinity of Jesus Christ.
Another problem with how they can come to the assumption of symbolism , is that it contradicts their doctrine of Sola Scriptura (the bible alone). No authority other than the written word of God in the bible is needed to understand its passages, what the words on the page say is what it is and that’s it! There is no outside authority needed to help explain any passage.
Sola Scriptura seems to have been abandoned for the following passages, otherwise how can anyone come to the conclusion that the Eucharistic offering is symbolic in nature.
This is a clear indication that Sola Scriptura is greatly flawed, but that is another topic.
Let’s examine the following verses.
I have intentionally used the King James version, since it is a protestant bible, and that is what they will refer to.
John 6 53 -58, Matthew 26:26-28 , Mark 14: 22-24, Luke 22:19-20 , Paul 1 Cor 11:23-26
Note that in all four gospels and Paul’s letter, the bread is referred to as “This is my body”, and the wine as “This is my blood”. Nowhere in any of the above passages does a single word imply a symbolic act.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians ( Paul 1 11:27-29 )
27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
How can someone be guilty of the body (bread) and blood (wine) of the Lord, if it is symbolic ?
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
How can someone eat and drink the body and blood unworthily and cause
damnation to himself, by not discerning the Lord’s body, if it is only symbolic ?
Unless the flesh Jesus sacrificed for us on the cross for the forgiveness of sins was
a symbolic act. And of course we know that is not the case.
Catholics however proclaim the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. His body – blood – soul and divinity is contained in the species of the bread and wine.
During the celebration of the Eucharist the priest re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice Jesus made to the Father for us on the cross.
CCC. 1365 Because it is the memorial of Christ’s Passover, the Eucharist is also a sacrifice. The sacrificial character of the Eucharist is manifested in the very words of institution: “This is my body which is given for you” and “This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood.” In the Eucharist Christ gives us the very body which he gave up for us on the cross, the very blood which he “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
As Jesus himself told the apostles in Matthew 28-20
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and , lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ: The Eucharist is the most wonderful gift that Jesus has given us. To partake in this sacrament is Life itself!
Jesus commanded the apostles to “do this in memory of me”. And what did Jesus do, He makes himself available to us until the end of the world in the species of the bread and wine. What a holy and wonderful experience to receive the body-blood – soul and divinity of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.