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The Bread of Life
Wednesday, April 26th Gospel Reflection
“Jesus said to the crowds, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.’” (Jn 6:35)
This Gospel reading comes from The Bread of Life Discourse. Traditionally, the focus is on the Catholic belief of Transubstantiation (the bread is literally Christ’s body) versus the Protestant belief of Consubstantiation (the bread is a representation of Christ’s body). In this reflection, one should consider the Catholic view of Transubstantiation in light of history.
Thomas Aquinas, who was a Catholic priest, philosopher, and theologian, lived between the periods of 1224-1274. This was nearly three hundred years before the Protestant reformation; however, the attack on the Real Presence was coming. He wrote on the Eucharist, “Some men accordingly, not paying heed to these things, have contended that Christ's body and blood are not in this sacrament except as in a sign, a thing to be rejected as heretical, since it is contrary to Christ's words. Hence Berengarius, who had been the first deviser of this heresy, was afterwards forced to withdraw his error, and to acknowledge the truth of the faith.”
All was quiet after this heresy was quelled, but it came up again during the Protestant Reformation. This time, due to the invention of Gutenberg’s printing press in the 15th century, it was impossible to keep heretical information from being promulgated faster than the individuals could write or speak out against it. As a consequence, the Real Presence in the Eucharist was lost outside of the Catholic and Orthodox faiths.
As believers in the Real Presence, let us pray continuously for our Church to be reunited back under the true Body and Blood of Christ. Let us pray knowing that Christ “will not reject anyone who comes to [him], because [he] came down from heaven not to do [his] own will but the will of the one who sent [him].” (Jn 6:37-38) Tradition and history speaks for itself – Christ is present in the Eucharist and we can trust the apostolic institution that has been passed down this Truth from generation to generation.
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