I’ve already briefly discussed how the Catholic church takes a hyper-literalist approach to Jesus’s “I am the bread of life” discourse in John 6 and the Last Supper passages in the Gospels but let’s “flesh it out” even further. The focus of every Catholic mass is when the priest allegedly calls down Christ from Heaven and consecrates bread wafers and wine into His physical body and blood. The priest then offers the “host” to God the Father as a sacrifice for the sins of the participants (and anyone else who is named). The congregants line up to consume the hosts believing they wash away the stains of “venial” sins on their souls and provide the grace to avoid “mortal” sins.
Because Catholics believe the consecrated bread and wine are the actual body and blood of Jesus they reverence and worship them as such. Detailed instructions have been provided to priests for occasions in which the host is violated: when a Jesus wafer accidently drops to the floor, or is vomited up, or is carried away by a dog or rodent, or if an insect flies into the wine blood (the priest is to drink it). The priest must be vigilant in watching for people who take the wafer but do not consume it, possibly to desecrate it.
Leftover hosts are placed in the “tabernacle,” a box in the main altar. Catholics genuflect on their right knee – absolutely NOT the left knee! – whenever they pass in front of the tabernacle as a sign of respect for the Jesus wafer. Occasionally a large consecrated wafer is placed inside a gold sunburst display called a monstrance. “Eucharistic adoration” services are scheduled apart from the mass where Catholics kneel for extended periods worshipping the wafer displayed in the monstrance before them. In some older ethnic parishes the priest carries the host around the church in procession as the people bow to it in worship.
The worship of wafers seems downright silly and even blasphemous to Evangelicals. The Bible says Jesus is presently seated at the right hand of God the Father. He’s not a broken victim on Catholic altars or locked away in a box. Jesus promised when He returns there will be no doubt about it.
“Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” – Hebrews 10:11-14
“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” – Matthew 24: 26-27.
Jesus was speaking in spiritual terms when He said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:54). Billions of Catholics have eaten communion wafers who had no relationship with Christ. Obviously, physically eating a bread wafer does NOT give eternal life.
Recent research shows that 37% of people who identify as Catholics do NOT believe the consecrated bread and wine are the literal body and blood of Jesus.
Accept Jesus as your Savior by faith. Catholic ritualism and legalism won’t save.