So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Supersubstantial Bread. The Real Presence.

Preamble

The word Catholics use to describe the change from bread to Body of Christ and wine to Blood of Christ is transubstantiation. There is good reason why Catholics, faithful to the teaching of Jesus Christ, understand that the bread and wine really do become His very Body and Blood.
The doctrine of the Real Presence is necessarily contained in the doctrine of transubstantiation, but the doctrine of transubstantiation is not necessarily contained in the Real Presence. Christ could become really present without transubstantiation taking place, but we know that this is not what happened because of Christ's own words at the Last Supper. He did not say, "This bread is my body," but simply, "This is my body." Those words indicated a complete change of the entire substance of bread into the entire substance of Christ. The word "this" indicated the whole of what Christ held in his hand. His words were so phrased as to indicate that the subject of the sentence, "this," and the predicate, "my body," are identical. As soon as the sentence was complete, the substance of the bread was no longer present. Christ's body was present under the outward appearances of bread. The words of institution at the Last Supper were at the same time the words of transubstantiation. If Christ had wished the bread to be a kind of sacramental receptacle of his body, he would surely have used other words, for example, "This bread is my body" or "This contains my body."—Canon Francis J. Ripley (1912–1998). Read more HERE.
Brian Kranick has a very informative and enlightening article at Catholic Exchange [CLICK HERE].

Here's a taste.
The Lord has left us a mystery to contemplate.  It is right there in the middle of the “Our Father” when Jesus teaches us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Mt. 6:11) This is generally recognized to mean pray for our basic daily necessities. (CCC 2837) This is true. Yet, hidden in the mundane and seemingly redundant word “daily” is the veiled, mysterious Greek word epiousios (επιούσιος). Epiousios is a unique word, sacramental-like in nature, a visible sign of a hidden reality. Epiousios occurs nowhere else in the Greek Bible except in the same Our Father passage in Luke 11:3 and the Apostle’s Didache. In fact, epiousios is not found anywhere else at all in Greek literature.  The only recorded reference to epiousios, ever, is Jesus’ prayer.
As the early Church Father and master of the Greek language Origen (d. 254 AD) concludes, epiousios was “invented by the Evangelists.” The millennia have bore out his assertion that epiousios was a new word, a neologism of uncertain etymology. The usual Greek word for “daily,” hemera, is, after all, used elsewhere in the New Testament, but not in this instance. Why did St. Matthew and St. Luke feel compelled to create a new Greek word to accurately reflect the words of Jesus? They most likely had to use a new word to faithfully translate a novel idea or a unique Aramaic word that Jesus used in His prayer. What was Jesus’ new idea? Although there are multiple levels of meanings to epiousios, Jesus is making a clear allusion to the Eucharist. “Our daily bread” is one translation of a word that goes far above our basic needs for sustenance, and invokes our supernatural needs.
St. Jerome translated the Bible in the 4th century from the original Latin, Hebrew and Greek texts to form the Latin Vulgate Bible. When it came to the mysterious word epiousios, St. Jerome hedged his bets. In Luke 11:3, St. Jerome translated epiousios as “daily.” Yet, in Matthew 6:11, he translated epiousios as “supersubstantial.” The root words are: epi, meaning “above” or “super;” and ousia, meaning “being,” “essence,” or “substance.” When they are read together, we come to the possible translations of “super-substantial,” “above-essence,” or, in effect, “supernatural” bread. This translation as supersubstantial is still found today in the Douay-Rheims Bible. Taken literally, our supersubstantial bread is the Eucharist. (CCC 2837) In his commentary on St. Matthew’s gospel, St. Jerome states this directly: “We can also understand  bread in another sense as bread that is above all substances and surpasses all creatures.”—Kranick.
Keep in mind, the next time you are praying the Our Father (Pater Noster) during Holy Mass that, indeed, the perfect timing of the Pater Noster during Mass helps us enter into the sublime reality of the Real Presence.
The Body and Blood of Jesus Christ rests upon the altar.
You are witnessing Calvary made present.
You are present with Jesus and present to Him with all those who have died in Christ and are now living in Christ.
You are among the angels and the saints gathered around the altar of God.
Then, in a most amazing act of mercy and generosity on God's part, you are permitted to receive His glorious Body and most precious Blood.
That thought should bring you to your knees in adoration and gratitude.
As you walk back to your pew, keep in mind that you bear the Presence of the Living God in you.
As we approach the season in which we recall the Nativity of the Lord, the season which recalls God dwelling among us as a little baby—the Lord of the universe humbled Himself to become a helpless infant!—keep in mind that the same Lord humbles Himself and comes to us now, again vulnerable, in the Holy Eucharist.

Will we stay with Jesus and His apostles, or reject and flee His Presence as did the faithless disciples who could not (or would not) accept the Lord's teaching?
When Christ himself promised his Real Presence in the Eucharist, many of his disciples could not accept it. "This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?" (John 6:68). But Peter had the right mentality. "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the holy one of God" (John 6:69).—Kranick.

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