The Catholic Defender: The Wedding Feast Invitation

Posted by John Benko - September 1st, 2013

At Mass, I loved the second reading from Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24A, “Brothers and sisters: You have not approached that which could be touched and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness and storm and a trumpet blast
and a voice speaking words such that those who heard begged that no message be further addressed to them.  No, you have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering, and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the just made perfect, and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.”

Consider this scripture! What is really being talked about in this passage? In the Old Testament, Moses at Mount Sinai brought the people of Israel  to the base of the mountain.  They heard the voice of the Lord and were afraid.  They asked Moses to speak to them for the Lord.  The people were in great fear of God.

For us Christians who proclaim the truths of the Catholic Faith, we have something even greater.  We do not hear the voice of thunder coming from clouds of smoke, but we hear the voice of the Lord through His Catholic Church.

Jesus told Pontius Pilate, “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” We do not hear the Lord’s voice through smoke and fire, but through His Church.

Consider the next passage, “No, you have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering, and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the just made perfect, and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.”

This is clearly speaking of the Holy Mass.  It is speaking of the Catholic Church.  The Church is the “New Jerusalem”, which is not the old city of Jerusalem that sits on seven mountains, but it is a city set upon a hill that all will know it, that all will see it, even it’s enemies (Matthew 5:14-16) it will be a city placed in every nation (Malachi 1:11) and it is based on the new and everlasting Covenant (Matthew 26:27).

Notice the importance placed in the intercession of the Saints who are the “firstborn enrolled in heaven”.  That is our Catholic Hall of Fame.  The angels who sing before the throne of God, the heavenly host sings, “Worthy are you, Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things; because of your will they came to be and were created.”

The “spirits of the just made perfect” sings “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come”.  This is echoed in the Mass where angels stand with us before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  They sing, “To the one who sits on the throne and to the lanb be blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever.”

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing.” This is taking place in the heavenly Kingdom and we are part of this heavenly worship in taking part in the sacrifice of the Mass.  “Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne and from the Lamb.”

“Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant,” it is so important to understand this act here is fulfilling God’s promise to His people through the Prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31-34).  We now have access to the King of Kings through this Covenant.  In fact, when we receive the Eucharist, we are renewing the Covenant.  Can’t do this through a counterfeit!

“The sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than of Abel”, yes, we have the Cup of Salvation offered to us at each Mass.  St. Paul asks us this question, “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ?” The answer is most certainly, yes!

We are all invited to this heavenly banquette, it is a wedding feast invitation.  What remains on the other side of this vale is still a mystery.  We have the hope of salvation that comes from our God.  The Catholic Faith, do not forsake it! Make the Mass the center of your life.


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*BEST OF DTB #100* The Catholic Defender: The New Changes in the Mass

Posted by John Benko - September 19th, 2011

As you compare the new Mass Prayers and Responses you will note the wording changed in the Roman Missal.

I have the changes in blue so it is easy to see the changes from the older version.

One note I want to show is that the basic order and construction of the Mass is not altered or changed.

The Lord’s Mass continues to be his order of worship.


Through it we are given the New Covenant totally and undefiled.

In the 1960′s I remember some people had problems with changing the Latin Language to the vernacular and so some departed from the Faith.

Please consider this before over reacting.

Allow the Holy Spirit to work through his Church as she journeys into the future.

This is Jesus Church and he will not allow it to go where he is not directing it.

As always the Mass will begin with the procession of the celebrant reminding us that the Church is on journey through time and space.

What a great reminder of this as we prepare for what we are about to participate in. The Liturgy is renewing our commitment to follow and serve the Lord.

Here we are able to keep the Commandments honoring God because he is God. We honor the day of the Lord keeping it holy. We are about to participate with the Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist.

The following is taken from our Sunday Bulletin and Our Sunday Visitor:

Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent, these will be the new changes for the faithful:

Greeting
Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.

The New Version
Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.

Penitential Act, Form A
I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my fault in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; and I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

The New prayer:
I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Penitential Act, Form B
Priest: Lord, have mercy.
People: Lord, have mercy.

Priest: Christ, have mercy.
People: Christ, have mercy.

Priest: Lord, have mercy.
People: Lord, have mercy.

The New prayer:
Priest: Have mercy on us, O Lord.
People: For we have sinned against you.
Priest: Show us, O Lord, your mercy.
People: And grant us your salvation.


The Gloria:

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

The New prayer
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father. Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer; you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

At the Gospel
Deacon or priest: A reading from the holy Gospel according to N.
People: Glory to you, Lord.
The New Response:
People: Glory to you, O Lord.

Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We achnowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The New Version
I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Apostles Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

The New Version
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

Susipiat Dominus
May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good, and the good of all his Church.

The New Version
May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good, and the good of all his holy Church.

Preface Dialogue
Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you:
Priest: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.

The New Version
Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.
Priest: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right and just.
Sanctus
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power, God of might. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

The New Version
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power, God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

The mystery of faith.
A. Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
B. Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory.
C. When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory.
D. Lord, by your cross and resurrection you have set us free. You are the Savior of the world.

The New version
A. We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.
B. When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again.
C. Save us, Savior of the world, for by your cross and Resurrection you have set us free.

The Sign of Peace
Priest: The peace of the Lord be with you always.
People: And also with you.

The New Version
Priest: The peace of the Lord be with you always.
People: And with your spirit.

Ecce Agnus Dei
Priest: This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper.
People: Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.

The New Version
Priest: Behold the Lamb of, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.
People: Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

Concluding Rites
Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.

The New Version
Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.


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* BEST OF DTB #62 * The Catholic Defender: The Mass in History

Posted by John Benko - February 12th, 2011

The Mass in history has changed very little beginning with Jesus at the Last Supper and the Church taking the Lord’s command to preach the gospel to every nation.

The Eucharist is the sign of the Lord’s promise,the Eucharist is the pure offering spoken of by the Prophet Malachi.

It is written, “For from the rising of the sun, even to it’s setting, my name is great among the nations; And everywhere they bring sacrifice to my name, and a pure offering: For great is my name among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.

I have had the opportunity to go to Mass in Latin America, all over the United States, Europe, Korea, the Middle East and no matter where I have been, the Lord’s Mass is totally unified with the Church of Rome. From Jesus through his apostles, it has always been this way.

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke, and giving it to his disciples said, take and eat; this is my body. Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins”.

St. Paul refers to this cup as “The cup of blessing” which was the third cup offering in the Passover celebration.

During the Last Supper, Jesus omits the 4th cup saving this for the cross.

Jesus intentionally ties the Last Supper with his passion and death.

After receiving wine offered on a hyssop branch, Jesus from the cross says ”It is finished” marking the end of the old Covenant and the beginning of the new Covenant.

As the Israelite were saved from the Angel of Death by the blood of innocent spotless lambs blood applied on the lintel and two doorposts using a hyssop branch, the spotless Lamb of God was crucified between two thieves shedding his blood on behalf of all the world.

From this point on the Mass have become the center of Christian worship. The means by which Gods people can renew the new and everlasting Covenant. From the earliest times, “They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers” (Acts 2:42).

“On the first day of the week when we gathered to break bread…”, St. Paul raised Eutychus from the dead, then returned, “broke the bread, and ate; after a long conversation that lasted until daybreak, he departed” (Acts 20:7,11).

I often refer to this scene as the first recorded Midnight Mass! St. Paul refers to the “breaking of bread” and the cup of the “new covenant” saying, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

From the very beginning, the Mass (liturgy of the word and the Eucharist) was the center of Christian worship.

The Church in the early years had to hold Mass in secret for fear of the Jews and then of the Romans.

Mass would be held at homes where people would gather. Catacombs and caves were other places that the Christians held Mass.

This 2nd/3rd century Catacomb is located in Salzburg Austria. I had the chance to visit this site where the early Christian celebrated Mass.

There is a grave site where the Priest, Father Maximus was martyred by the Romans.

They still have original utensils and altar used by the Christians when you go up into the Catacomb. I had the chance to go in there and you can feel the reverence of the praise of voices long ago.

This is the ancient stairway that leads to the main room where the Christians would meet. Out on the ground you can see from here where the Von Trapp Family hid from the Nazis. The scene from “The Sound of Music” was filmed on location.

This Catacomb is not far from there. What a great experience it was to have been able to see this place. This depicts the way it was during that time.

About 140 A.D., a convert to the Catholic Faith would write about his experience of the Mass. St. Justin Martyr wrote the following:


No one may share the Eucharist with us unless he believes that what we teach is true, unless he is washed in the regenerating waters of baptism for the remission of his sins, and unless he lives in accordance with the principles given us by Christ.

We do not consume the eucharistic bread and wine as if it were ordinary food and drink, for we have been taught that as Jesus Christ our Savior became a man of flesh and blood by the power of the Word of God, so also the food that our flesh and blood assimilates for its nourishment becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus by the power of his own words contained in the prayer of thanksgiving.

On Sunday we have a common assembly of all our members, whether they live in the city or the outlying districts.

The recollections of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as there is time. When the reader has finished, the president of the assembly speaks to us; he urges everyone to imitate the examples of virtue we have heard in the readings.

Then we all stand up together and pray.


The wealthy, if they wish, may make a contribution, and they themselves decide the amount. The collection is placed in the custody of the president, who uses it to help the orphans and widows and all who for any reason are in distress, whether because they are sick, in prison, or away from home. In a word, he takes care of all who are in need.

We hold our common assembly on Sunday because it is the first day of the week, the day on which God put darkness and chaos to flight and created the world, and because on that same day our savior Jesus Christ rose from the dead. For he was crucified on Friday and on Sunday he appeared to his apostles and disciples and taught them the things that we have passed on for your consideration.

Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me”(Revelation 3:20). We call this “Holy Communion”.

For more information on the Eucharist, please click here:
http://deepertruthblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/catholic-defender-divine-altar-call.html

For more on the Mass, Please click here:
http://deepertruthblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/have-you-ever-listened-to-radio-or.html

For more on the Eucharist, please click here:
http://deepertruthblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/best-of-dtb-moment-of-consecration.html

For more on the Eucharist, please click here:
http://deepertruthblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/catholic-defender-discussion-with.html


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* BEST OF DTB #61* The moment of Consecration- the renewed test of faith.

Posted by John Benko - February 11th, 2011


Ask any protestant to define faith and they will usually give a sound answer like “faith is the belief in an unseen truth”. Defining faith and stepping out in it are two entirely different things. Protestants are, for the most part, people of faith only in the abstract but not in the practical.

Most protestants claim to be proponents of Sola Scriptura, a doctrine that stipulates that all truth must be found in the practical reading of Scripture. Nowhere in Scripture is this doctrine taught but that is almost beside the point. The reason is that the majority of protestants will even deny the plain words of Scripture because they simply lack the faith to accept them.

Nowhere is this more true than in the 6th chapter of John’s Gospel. This entire chapter is about the highest, most central act of Christian worship- the Eucharist.

The chapter begins with one of Jesus’ greatest miracles- the feeding of the five thousand. Notice that in verse 4, John explicitly ties the coming miracle to the Passover. This is no small thing. It is the Passover that points forward to this miracle, the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist. The allusion is clear, even if subtle.

The feeding of the five thousand is a glimpse into the sublime mystery of the Eucharist in several meaningful ways. First, there is this exchange between Jesus and Phillip and Andrew;

5* Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus said to Philip, “How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” 6 This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii * would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” 8* One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9* “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?”

If you ask most people what was the purpose of Jesus test, they might respond that Jesus was demonstrating that he could meet people in their temporal needs. That is not exactly the case. yes, Jesus does meet the temporal need of these people to eat- in an extraordinary way but He did so merely as as a stepping stone by which he drew them to a much deeper reality.

They clearly missed the point and Jesus admonished them for it.

25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27* Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal.”

So, Jesus is saying that the miracle of the fish and loaves was not simply something that stood on it’s own but a foreshadowing of something better.

And, it turns out that this, as yet to be revealed reality is to be the penultimate test of faith.

To miss this would be tragic, so let’s examine the quote in both parts.

28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29* Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30* So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform?

Protestants often leave the second part off dishonestly. Jesus tells them that the true and ultimate test of faith is they believe in Him. They respond by asking specifically the sign that they should see and believe in. The answer is the very epicenter of faith and the very summit of worship.

31* Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 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. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.” 34* They said to him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”
35* Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37* All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. 38* For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; 39* and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. 40* For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 44* No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45* It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46* Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. 51 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.”

Here, Jesus is showing that the Priestly Sacrificial offering, Passover meal, the Manna from Heaven and the miracle of the fish and loaves all pointed to an ultimate fulfillment in Him. Jesus would give us His own flesh and blood as spiritual food.

This revelation shocked the Jews but Jesus did not shrink from it one letter;



52* The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 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; 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56* He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. 58* This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.” 59* This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Caperna-um.



For those who want to spirituality Jesus words, there just isn’t anywhere to go here, especially when one examines the actual exegesis of the passage! The word eats from John 6:54 comes from the greek word τρώγων (trōgōn) which literally means to gnaw, chew or grind between the teeth. Jesus is not only being literal here but graphically so. There is no wiggle room.
60 Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61* But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62* Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?
This is now a third time that Jesus emphasizes that He is not kidding. He is not peaking in metaphors. He is speaking a literal truth. Yet, there are some who insist that verse 63 shows that Jesus was speaking metaphorically and that His flesh, which He has now said half a dozen times is the bread from heaven for us to eat, is of no avail and that He was only speaking in metaphors.
63* 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. 64* But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. 65* And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

Their interpretation is twisted to the point of breaking. What Jesus is saying here, to all present, is that their flesh is of no avail- that is, their fleshy senses. In verses 63 and 64, Jesus issues a stern and clarion challenge. Do not count what your senses and your human reasoning tell you, you either believe or you don’t.

Jesus does not admonish those offended for a lack of understanding. He never says ‘”no, no, no, you don’t understand!” or explains this parable (as He did with all His parables), He simply gives them a shocking choice, believe that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood to have life, or don’t believe and be condemned. In fact, verse 64 basically tells us that Judas betrayed Him over this very doctrine.

One of the most oft quoted verses of Scripture is 2 Corinthians 5:7 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight

Yet, how can we say that we walk by faith and not by sight, if the two are never in conflict?
This verse presupposes that, at least sometimes, what faith tells us is true in in direct opposition to what our eyes tell us to be true.

So, Are you going to believe Jesus or your own lying eyes? This is the very test, Jesus identifies as the ultimate test of your faith. Jesus conveys this truth in Mark 14:22-25 and Luke 22:14-20. Paul adds the exclamation point in 1 Corinthians 11:23-29, with frightening clarity.

Jesus lost 60 followers that day during the Passover season because they simply could not pass the test of faith. However, the true believers stayed.

66 After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. 67 Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” 68* Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

In each Mass, is the very center and summit of worship, when, through the Priest, Jesus tells us again; “Take and eat, this is my body” and “Take and drink, this is my blood”. In every single Mass, heard every single day, in every single place, the believer is challenged anew to pass this test.

As the minister holds the host up before you and proclaims ” [this is] the body of Christ”, the believer responds “Amen”.

Amen, indeed. It truly is the Body of Christ.


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