Tuesday, August 14, 2012

So that's why Jesus is the Lamb...

I want to take it back to the Old Testament to explain better. Let’s start with Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22) When God tested Abraham and tells him to sacrifice Isaac, Isaac asks where the lamb is and Abraham responds that God will provide the lamb.  (This is important!) And when the angel of God stops Abraham, God provides a Ram. So they are still waiting for the lamb.

Now let’s go to Exodus to the Passover (starting at Exodus 11)

The tenth plague was that the angel of death would pass over Egypt killing every firstborn. To be spared from the plague the Israelites were told to take an unblemished lamb, slaughter it at twilight, take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door frame where they were to eat the lamb, that same night they were to eat the meat with no leftovers.  In Exodus 12:14 it says “and this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.” The Church teaches that when Jesus established the New Covenant with His death and resurrection, He didn’t abandon the promises made to the Hebrew people but fulfilled them.

Now let’s look at how Jesus fulfilled the Passover. Jesus is the Lamb of God.

On Palm Sunday as Jesus is arriving in Jerusalem, so are the Passover lambs. This is showing that Jesus is taking the place of the Passover lamb. Also every year on Passover the unblemished lambs were inspected before being given to the families. Now, you are probably thinking what does this have to do with Jesus? A lot actually. Jesus is the lamb, and just as the unblemished lambs where inspected, so was Jesus, by Pilate, the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders. Also, during the Passover meal Jesus celebrated the Last Supper. During the Passover meal, Jesus takes the unleavened bread, blesses it, breaks it, and gives it to the disciples saying, “This is My body,” showing that He is replacing the Passover lamb. And with the wine, blesses it, and gives it to the disciples saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which is poured out for many.” Now, the Passover lamb was to prevent pain and suffering of loss of a loved one for the Israelites. Jesus as the Lamb is to save the world from pain and suffering, to open the gates of heaven.

To Summarize: The Israelites had to eat the Passover lamb. It was not enough to that they simply sacrificed the lamb-- they were instructed to also eat it. When we have the Eucharist we also eat the lamb, Jesus the Lamb of God. So that is why recieving the Eucharist is not cannibalism-- we are not eating human flesh, Jesus, but the Lamb of God, Jesus. J

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Eucharist: Real or Not?

I remember in seventh grade, I was sitting in religion class watching my teacher jump up and down yelling, "Jesus IS the Eucharist!" Then looking around at all my classmates who had the same bewildered look on their faces. We all thought she had gone batty!

A week earlier we had taken a religion test and one of the short answer questions was: "What is the Eucharist?" So, being the typical seventh graders we were, this seemed like an easy question. Most of our answers were along the lines of, "The Eucharist is a symbol of Jesus," or "The Eucharist symbolizes the last supper and Jesus giving of himself."

So, when our teacher came in jumping up and down yelling, "Jesus IS the Eucharist!!! It's not a symbol!!! Jesus IS the Eucharist!!!" We seriously thought she had gone off the deep end.

See, the thing with catholics is that we see the Eucharist as a little wafer and think "symbol." that's because, well, let's be honest, it looks like cardboard, feels like cardboard, and tastes like cardboard, we think "how can this be Jesus?" It took me a long time before I believed that the Eucharist was really Jesus. In seventh grade, I couldn't figure out why my teacher was getting so worked up about a silly test. Yes, everyone in the class got that question wrong, but I couldn't see how she could really believe that little wafer was Jesus.
"When Our Lord said, "This is My body," the entire substance of the bread was changed into His body; and when He said, "This is My blood," the entire substance of the wine was changed into His blood." (Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism)


This is kinda a crazy concept for us to grasp. And why would Jesus want to be a piece of bread? Well, think about it, God became food that we eat, and people eat a lot. And when we eat, food litterally becomes a part of us. It  goes into blood stream, our skin, our cells, into our very being. God chose the best way to be consumed into our very person because He wanted to be as close to us as possible.

"In the Holy Eucharist we become one with God like food with the body"
 Saint Francis De Sales

When we recieve the Eucharist we recieve Jesus, as catholics we believe that Jesus is fully in the Eucharist. So, like my teacher said, "Jesus IS the Eucharist!" At Christ's words, "This is My body," all limitations are stripped away and we stand in the very presence of God It is at the Eucharist that we make Saint Paul's wish our own: "All I want is to know Christ and to experience the power of his resurection, to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death, in hope that I myself will be raised from death to life" (Philippians 3:10-11, Good News Bible)

"Not to go to Communion is like someone dying of thirst beside a spring."
St. John Vianney