The Eucharist Problem

I listened to a YouTube video by WordOnFire with Brandon Vogt and Bishop Barron entitled “The Eucharist Problem.” What is this problem with the Eucharist? It was a good discussion and got me thinking to dig deeper into scripture. Why is it that Catholics believe the Eucharist offered at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the body and blood of Jesus Christ? It even goes deeper than that, the true Catholic teaching is that the totality of Jesus is present. His body, blood, soul and divinity are truly present in that manna from heaven. How can this be? If it is so, it would have to be one of the hardest teachings of Jesus there is. So where is the evidence contained in Sacred Scripture?

In the Old Testament, all the people that crossed the parted waters when they left Egypt were given a manna from heaven to feed them on their journey. Considering that at the end of their journey the able body men were numbered in the hundreds of thousands. That would be a lot of manna each and every day of the journey. And the Bible says all were fed. God did this for 40 years day after day. Truly, God can create enough food to nourish a group of several million and do it from seemingly nothingness. Jesus referred to the bread from heaven in John Chapter 6

Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.”

John 6:32-33 (RSVCE)

Jesus takes it one step further two verses later by saying

“I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.

John 6:35 (RSVCE)

Even with these sayings you can still take things figuratively. By that I mean Jesus could be speaking of His Word which gives life. I have enjoyed the writings and podcasts from Dr. Scott Hahn for some time and one of the earliest ones I listened to was “The Fourth Cup.”

When it came to Bible Study, this one certainly fit the bill. Dr. Hahn researches the meaning behind the last words of Jesus and how that ends up being the fulfillment of the Passover meal. It’s a great study and a download copy can be obtained at

In his presentation Dr. Hahn researches the Passover meal and shows that to truly partake of the Passover meal, all participants HAD to eat the flesh of the lamb. This was the law and Moses was very good about making sure they all understood this. For them to be saved from the angle of death during the Passover, they all had to eat of the sacrificial lamb.

As a side note, it would not have been good to be a vegetarian during the first Passover celebration.

Dr. Hahn also researched the scripture in John chapter 6. He noted a clear distinction in the words Jesus used. When Jesus talked about eating His flesh he used the word for “chew.” Just like the first Passover the participants had to chew the meat of the sacrificial lamb, the followers of Jesus needed to “chew” His flesh to be saved from eternal death. This can also be found in an article on NewAdvent called “The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.

John 6:51 (RSVCE)

Isn’t it possible that Jesus meant this figuratively? Couldn’t He have meant to eat His words of eternal life? To gnaw on the gospel readings? To meditate on His words, day and night?

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

John 6:52 (RSVCE)

The Jews were having a hard time understanding what He really meant. Surely He could not be asking them to resort to cannibalism. But Jesus does not explain, instead He continues insisting they will need to eat His flesh.

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 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.

John 6:53-57 (RSVCE)

Jesus doesn’t apologize or explain it using other words, He said it not once, not twice, but 5 times. And one of those times it was not just eating His flesh, He states you have to gnaw on it. Many of the disciples were getting ready to abandon Jesus after that one.

Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”

John 6:60 (RSVCE)

So did Jesus say “Hold on folks, I was only talking figuratively.” No, He offered no explanation but simply asked His Apostles, “Will you also go away?”  John 6:67 But Simon Peter (always the first to proclaim Him as Christ) said, “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.” John 6:68-69

In hindsight we can look back on verse 51 and understand now what He really meant:

I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.

John 6:51 (RSVCE)

Jesus is using the future tense. What future event would start this new covenant of the body and blood of Jesus in the Eucharist?

And when the hour came, he sat at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

Luke 22:14-20 (RSVCE)

Jesus is making Himself fully present in the Eucharist. His body, blood, soul and divinity is offered each and every day somewhere in every city in America. One last word to ponder on. When Jesus is telling the multitude to eat His flesh and drink His blood He wanted to convey to the people that the words He had just spoken about eating His flesh and drinking His blood are spirit and life.

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. But there are some of you that do not believe.

John 6:63-64 (RSVCE)

In Romans chapter 8 we hear what happens to a mind that is set on the flesh.

For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God really dwells in you.

Rom 8:7-9

Jesus said “for the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”” Their wish is fulfilled each and every day during the celebration of the Mass.

In the YouTube earlier entitled The Eucharist Problem, the problem that is being referred to is the latest Pew Research finding that 69% of practicing Catholics no longer believe it is the true presence in the Eucharist. They no longer believe what Jesus said is true. And for this reason, they no longer receive the “spirit and life” offered by God in the Blessed Sacrament. If people only knew what was being offered to them, they would be at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass each day. When the Priest consecrates the manna from heaven and Jesus enters into the host, the only thing you can say is what Thomas said when he finally believed

“My Lord and my God!” 

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

John 20:28-29

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For security, use of hCaptcha is required which is subject to their Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.