Why do catholics believe they are eating the actual body of Christ?

by Alex
(Michigan)

QUESTION: Why do catholics believe they are eating the actual body of Christ?

ANSWER: Catholics believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist because Jesus Himself repeatedly re-affirmed numerous times in the Bible His Real Presence.

Below are some verses in the Bible that talk about the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist:

Jn 6:53-56
Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him."

Jn 6:51
I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.

Jn 6:53
Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.

Jn 6:54
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.

Jn 6:55
For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.

Jn 6:56
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.

Jn 6:60,66
Then many of his disciples who were listening said, "This saying is hard; who can accept it?" ... As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.


The last quote is particularly important. In this episode, many of Jesus' own disciples found it difficult to accept Jesus' teaching that He is the "bread of life" and that we have to "eat this Bread" in order to have life. If Jesus was only saying "I am the bread of life" in a symbolic manner, He would have corrected and clarified Himself with His disciples, saying that He did not mean it literally.

But what happened? Jesus did not clarify or modify His teaching. In the process, several of His disciples actually left Him. This proves that Jesus meant His words literally and not symbolically.

Aside from the Bible, there are many real world miracles that prove Jesus' real presence in the Eucharist. The most famous if this is the miracle of Lanciano. See this article for more details on this miracle: http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/lanciano.html.

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Q: Why didn't Christ Jesus offer the disciples His actual Body and Blood at the last supper, when the most literal Host was available, instead of using wine and bread to convey His presence?

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