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Can the cannibalism charge be true?

Full Question

Your answer to the question about cannibalism and the Eucharist in the December 1990 issue of This Rock disturbs me. The promise in John 6 of the flesh of Christ to eat and his blood to drink sounds literal. Christ is present substantially (rather than your supernaturally); if we eat only the accidents (appearances), how do we eat Christ, who said unless we eat his flesh and drink his blood we will not have life?

Answer

Your question unnecessarily posits a conflict between a supernatural presence and a substantial one. Jesus is both substantially present (bread and wine really become his body and blood) and supernaturally present (transubstantiation occurs by the supernatural action of God; the accidents of bread and wine remain without the substances of bread and wine).

In consuming the eucharistic elements, the physical mechanisms of eating injure only the accidents of bread and wine. The process of consuming the host doesn’t involve ripping and tearing Christ’s body, despite its substantial presence. This is why the charge of cannibalism won’t work.

We can still say Christ’s flesh and blood are consumed sacramentally in Holy Communion because what is eaten is literally his body and blood, even if the physical action of eating affects only the accidents of bread and wine.










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  1. Mario Simonelli Reply

    I truly believed the Catholic version and because of that Christ showed me a more accurate way.

    THE NEW COVENANT

    We celebrate the Lord’s Supper to remember that the Lord died for our sins, making the partaking of the elements “the bread and the wine” very special for all Christians. But we should also celebrate the Supper as the introduction of the new covenant. For we read in Luke 22:19-20: “And when He had taken some bread and 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 in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”’
    What does this new covenant in His blood mean?
    This new covenant was foretold through the prophet Jeremiah. However, we will read it from Hebrews 8:7-13: “For if the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. For finding fault with them He says, behold, days are coming, says the Lord, when I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in My covenant, and I did not care for them, says the Lord.”
    ‘For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel. After those days, says the Lord; I will put My laws into their minds, and I will write them upon their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, and everyone his brother, saying, know the Lord, for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.’ When He said, a new covenant, He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.”
    The main feature of this new covenant described by the above scripture is that it will be internalised, in other words it will be made part of our character. What we need to know is the mechanism through which the law, or character of God, will be internalised in our heart. We will find the answer in the following scriptures; for in John 6:53-64 we read: “Jesus therefore 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 yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father IS IN Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me IN HIM. This is the bread, which came down out of heaven; not as the father ate, and died, he who eats this bread shall live forever.’ These things He said in the synagogue, as He taught in Capernaum.”
    “Therefore, many of his disciples, when they heard this said, ‘This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?’ But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, ‘Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you should behold the Son of Man ascending where He was before? It is the spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not UNDERSTAND.’”
    “For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did UNDERSTAND, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, ‘For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him to understand from the Father.”’
    Those who truly heard what He said, understood and believed that unpalatable statement, for we read in John 8:31-36: “Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you abide in My words, then you are truly disciples of mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s offspring, and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how it is that You say, you shall become free?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. And the slave does not remain in the house forever, the son does remain forever. If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”’
    The Apostle Paul, using plain language, explains to us the sins that we should be free from, for we read in 1Corinthians 6:9-11: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”
    If you are still struggling to understand the intended meaning of the Lord’s Supper, the following explanation should clear all misunderstandings. We all know that the food that we eat goes in the stomach and is digested to provide nourishment, strength and life to our physical body. Even so, the word of God that we eat, swallow, or believe becomes nourishment in shaping our character, having become part of the life of our conscience; consequently we live our life according to the words that our soul has eaten, swallowed, or believed. Even in our every day life when we hear a far-fetched story we use the expression that says, “Do you expect me to swallow that?” So “eat, swallow and believe,” are all saying the same thing.
    Let us remember that we should eat, swallow, or believe the Word of God to gain its wisdom, without neglecting to live the life that that Word suggests, that is to say, repent; for if we have all the mental wisdom of the word but do not repent, that wisdom has become useless. We read in James 1:22-24: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer; he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.” In other words, he returns to live through his natural fleshly self, at best deluding himself in the ambiguity of religion.

    We should also be aware, that the new covenant contains serious ramifications for those who have been enlightened, for we read in Hebrews 10:26-29: “For if we go on sinning wilfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversary. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood life of the covenant by which he was sanctified, thus he has insulted the Spirit of grace?”
    Hence, after eating the bread Word of the Lord to gain its wisdom, we must also drink the cup Blood of the Lord. Because drinking from the cup of the Lord means to live the life of the Lord. Jesus was also made to drink from a cup, for we read in Luke 22:42: “Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done.”
    It is obvious that to fully understand the parables one must dig beyond the face value of the message because if we have the light of Godliness, the Spirit will give us understanding while we meditate on the word that has been written, as the following scripture will clearly demonstrate as we read in 1 Corinthians 10:14-17: “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say. Is not the cup of blessing, which we PARTAKE a sharing in the LIFE of Christ? Is not the bread, which we break a sharing in the WORD of Christ? Since there is one WORD we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one WORD”.
    The inserted words IN BLOCK LETTERS in the above scriptures makes its rendering easier to understand, because, as you can see, the scripture is only describing normal human behaviour when people partake of the same things. In other words, those who share the same beliefs are naturally drawn together to form a body of people with one common purpose in mind. Like a political party that has a written constitution highlighting the common goals and aspirations of that party, the Jews have the Old Testament; the Muslims have the Koran that holds them together; the Buddhists have some other book, and so on and so forth. But Christians who are growing and are living Christ’s life are a beacon of light for all, because we have the bread of life, the Word of God.
    Therefore we should feast on the bread of God by constant meditation to facilitate the digestion process and at the same time share the revelations of the Word with our brothers to extract all wisdom that it contains; but most of all we should drink the life, which the Word teaches: hence behaving in a godly fashion and doing good works, through which, at the appointed time God will reveal His Son in us.
    And with that heavenly hope in mind, let us assemble to eat and drink together the symbols of the “body” Word and the “blood” Life of our God.
    Glory to God

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