Wafer Worship

I’ve already briefly discussed how the Catholic church takes a hyper-literalist approach to Jesus’s “I am the bread of life” father-mike-schmitz-carrying-monstrancediscourse 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.

http://ncronline.org/news/catholics-america/knowledge-and-belief-about-real-presence

Accept Jesus as your Savior by faith. Catholic ritualism and legalism won’t save.

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4 thoughts on “Wafer Worship

  1. John 6:30 begins a colloquy that took place in the synagogue at Capernaum. The Jews asked Jesus what sign he could perform so that they might believe in him. As a challenge, they noted that “our ancestors ate manna in the desert.” Could Jesus top that? He told them the real bread from heaven comes from the Father. “Give us this bread always,” they said. Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” At this point the Jews understood him to be speaking metaphorically.
    Jesus first repeated what he said, then summarized: “‘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.’ The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’” (John 6:51–52).
    His listeners were stupefied because now they understood Jesus literally—and correctly. He again repeated his words, but with even greater emphasis, and introduced the statement about drinking his blood: “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; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (John 6:53–56).
    Notice that Jesus made no attempt to soften what he said, no attempt to correct “misunderstandings,” for there were none. Our Lord’s listeners understood him perfectly well. They no longer thought he was speaking metaphorically. If they had, if they mistook what he said, why no correction?

    On other occasions when there was confusion, Christ explained just what he meant (cf. Matt. 16:5–12). Here, where any misunderstanding would be fatal, there was no effort by Jesus to correct. Instead, he repeated himself for greater emphasis.

    In John 6:60 we read: “Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?’” These were his disciples, people used to his remarkable ways. He warned them not to think carnally, but spiritually: “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” (John 6:63; cf. 1 Cor. 2:12–14).

    But he knew some did not believe. (It is here, in the rejection of the Eucharist, that Judas fell away; look at John 6:64.) “After this, many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him” (John 6:66).

    This is the only record we have of any of Christ’s followers forsaking him for purely doctrinal reasons. If it had all been a misunderstanding, if they erred in taking a metaphor in a literal sense, why didn’t he call them back and straighten things out? Both the Jews, who were suspicious of him, and his disciples, who had accepted everything up to this point, would have remained with him had he said he was speaking only symbolically.

    But he did not correct these protesters. Twelve times he said he was the bread that came down from heaven; four times he said they would have “to eat my flesh and drink my blood.” John 6 was an extended promise of what would be instituted at the Last Supper—and it was a promise that could not be more explicit.

    He continues: “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me” (John 6:57). The Greek word used for “eats” (trogon) is very blunt and has the sense of “chewing” or “gnawing.” This is not the language of metaphor.

    Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Cor. 10:16). So when we receive Communion, we actually participate in the body and blood of Christ, not just eat symbols of them. Paul also said, “Therefore whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. . . . For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Cor. 11:27, 29). “To answer for the body and blood” of someone meant to be guilty of a crime as serious as homicide. How could eating mere bread and wine “unworthily” be so serious? Paul’s comment makes sense only if the bread and wine became the real body and blood of Christ.

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    1. RE: “They no longer thought he was speaking metaphorically. If they had, if they mistook what he said, why no correction? On other occasions when there was confusion, Christ explained just what he meant (cf. Matt. 16:5–12). Here, where any misunderstanding would be fatal, there was no effort by Jesus to correct. Instead, he repeated himself for greater emphasis.”

      Catholic apologists point to Jesus’s refusal to correct the offended Jews who had interpreted Jesus’s “bread of life” discourse literally as a “proof” that He was speaking in literal terms.

      But Jesus certainly did NOT explain precisely, without symbolism or metaphor, what He meant on all other occasions as you claim.

      “The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

      “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” – Matthew 13:10-15.

      In John 4, Jesus tells the Samaritan woman that He provides water that gives eternal life. Catholics interpret John 4 symbolically and John 6 literally but the spiritual symbolism of both discourses is exactly the same. John 4 doesn’t say that many of the Samaritans heard the woman’s testimony and rushed to drink the water from the well so they could also be saved. It says because of her testimony, “Many of the Samaritans from that town BELIEVED in him.”

      Throughout the entire John 6 “bread of life” discourse (verses 25-71) Jesus emphasizes seven times that it is “belief” (personal acceptance not intellectual belief) in Him as the Savior that gives eternal life.

      Jesus said “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” but the meaning would HAVE to be symbolic because of the uncountable number of Catholics who consumed consecrated wafers over the ages without absolutely ANY evidence of a relationship with Christ or of having any spiritual fruit. Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Josef Goebbels, Klaus Barbie, Hans Frank, Benito Mussolini, Ante Pavelic, and Al Capone are examples of Catholics who consumed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of hosts in their lifetime. I could also include several former popes on the list as well such as murderer Rodrigo Borgia aka Pope Alexander VI. Did eating hosts give those folks eternal life? Literally eating a bread host does NOT give anyone eternal life.

      Catholics give lip service to grace and the spiritual realm but for them it’s all about works and material sensibilities. For Catholics it’s not about accepting Jesus as Savior by faith it’s all about the physical ritualism of doing, doing, doing and hoping their own merits are enough to save them.

      “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.” – John 6:63

      “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” – John 4:23-24.

      Catholics grasp their physical christ on the crucifix and all the material religious accoutrements but entirely miss the spiritual truths of Christ. You’re like Nicodemus in John 3. Christ is right in front of you in a spiritual sense through the witness of the Holy Spirit but you cling tightly to your material religiosity and even labor to defend it.

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  2. You say that the meaning of “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” HAS to be symbolic because of the Catholics that lack good fruits? That is like me saying law and order is a failed ideology because of the many corruptions and injustices that are in it, or saying medicine is not good for you because of the bad it causes on many individuals. 
    First let me correct you on one thing, in the parable of the “living water” Jesus Did NOT say the well had living water, he said  “All who drink from this water will thirst again. (meaning from the well) But whoever shall drink from the water that I will give to him will not thirst for eternity.” she asked him to give her of this water he spoke of but later on the woman discovers he is the messiah and she never asked him again, which means she understood he was speaking symbolically. I can give you many examples of the times Jesus had to explain himself because people misunderstood or misinterpreted: John 3:1-15 You mentioned we are like Nicodemus, here you can see that Jesus had to explain himself to him as Nicodemus understood him literally on being “born again” 🙂 Another Matthew 13:36:51 (he explains the meaning of the parable of the tares) Another Matthew 15:10-20 (He has to explain what defiles a man) Another Matthew 16:5-12 (metaphorical use of leaven), Matthew 17:9-13 (paralell of Elijah and John the Baptist) , Matthew 19:24-26 (camel thru the eye of a needle and rich men), Mark 4:33-34 and Luke 8:9-15 (meaning of parables in general) John 4:31-34 (metaphorical meaning of meat), John  8:21-32 (his own divinity), John 11:8-15 (sleep symbolic for death explained). In John 10:1-19 he gives the parable of the sheep and the good shepherd, and we read on verses 6&7 ” Jesus spoke this parable to them. But they did not understand what he was saying to them. 
    So Jesus said to them again,..
     Jesus goes on to expound and clarify and elaborate (10:7-18). He doesn’t merely repeat for emphasis, as in John 6. Therefore, this is a counter-example. 
    Another one is the entire chapter 16 of John 1-33 where the disciples did not understand and Jesus had to explain at lenght to clarify, and then they did understand. 
     How then can It make sense that John 6 was only symbolic? You honestly think Jesus would willingly let you leave him for a simple misunderstanding? 
    Also what do you say of 1 Cor 10:16? or 1 Cor 11:27, 29???
    Catholics don’t necessarily believe that just by receiving the Eucharist one is granted heaven, it is far more than that, in order to receive the Eucharist we must be in a state of  grace, we cannot be in sin, that is why the Corinthian verses! Confession of course is another issue we might discuss later on, I would love for you to meditate on the bible chapters and verses I gave you. 
    Also you can read on the first Christians for example Ignatius of Antioch, who had been a disciple of the apostle John and who wrote a letter to the Smyrnaeans about A.D. 110, said, referring to “those who hold heterodox opinions,” that “they abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in his goodness, raised up again” (6:2, 7:1). 
    Forty years later, Justin Martyr, wrote, “Not as common bread or common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, . . . is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus” (First Apology 66:1–20). 

    Lastly you should read or see videos on Eucharistic miracles, remember doubting Thomas? Jesus himself had to show him his wounds for him to believe he was resurrected! It is somewhat normal for disbelief, but that is not what Jesus wants: ” Jesus said to him: “You have seen me, Thomas, so you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29

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    1. RE: “First let me correct you on one thing, in the parable of the “living water” Jesus Did NOT say the well had living water…”

      Yes, of course…the water from Jesus, not from the well. My dumb slip. Thanks for the correction.

      RE: “Catholics don’t necessarily believe that just by receiving the Eucharist one is granted heaven..”

      Why not? Jesus said “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” If you claim this passage is to be taken literally then you must take it literally. Christ offered no qualifiers with this statement. Any qualifiers are your invention.

      RE: “1 Cor 10:16? or 1 Cor 11:27, 29.”

      When I take communion I’m overwhelmed by the bread and wine which represent the broken body and blood of my Lord and Savior. I am so unworthy of what He did for me on the cross, dying for all my sins. But I don’t bow down and worship the bread and wine or become scandalized if a mouse walks off with a crumb. Roman Catholics are like the disobedient Israelites, always wanting a physical idol to worship like the golden calf, the bronze serpent, or the Canaanite idols.

      What percentage of Paul’s letters or the Gospels deal with the bread and wine? Yes, I know it’s a rhetorical question. Yet Roman Catholicism has built up those few verses into an entire religious system, all under the control of the “ordained” few. Hmm. Go figure.

      I was reading Matthew 19 today and the thought struck me that Evangelicals and Catholics read verses 16-26 of that chapter with a completely different understanding. The rich, young man justifies himself by saying he has obeyed the Ten Commandments dealing with human relationships. Believers read the passage and think to themselves, “Not for a second, young man!!!,” while Catholics like father Bill Most read the same verses and think, “Hey, I can relate.”
      https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/most/getwork.cfm?worknum=127

      Jesus came to save sinners, not the religious self-righteous. Until you see yourself as a sinner without any plea outside of Christ, including your religious “good works, you’re lost.

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