Sacraments & Sacramentals

Why Can’t Evangelicals See the Eucharist?

by Steve Ray on April 24, 2018

I was recently asked why Evangelicals cannot see the Eucharist and Real Presence in the Bible. This person said that when they read the Bible it seems so clear — especially John 6 where Jesus says “Unless you eat my Flesh and drink my Blood . . .” and at the Last Supper when he said, “This IS my flesh.”

“Why is it so easy to see for me,” she wrote, “while Evangelicals miss  it?”

alife-super-sunglasses-1There are a good number of explanations for this, but I tried to put it in simple terms. I responded:

“In answer to your question it all depends on what kind of glasses you are wearing. If you wear dark colored glasses you see things differently than if you wear clear or red shaded glasses. Every tradition, whether it is Catholic, Baptist, Mormon, or Lutheran has a tradition or grid through which they read and interpret the Bible. No one approaches the Bible objectively without any preconceived ideas or convictions.

“If one wears Baptist glasses and is convinced of the Baptist teaching, then they will see everything they read through their own Baptist ideas or tradition; they read their tradition into the text. Since they are told the Eucharist is only symbolic, they twist and tug to make Scripture fit their perspective.

“Also, as Evangelicals we (or at least I) was convinced the Catholic Church was wrong and we didn’t even understand what they believed or the basis for it. I also didn’t know that ALL Christians for the first 1500 years believed what Catholic’s now teach. And that even now ALL Christians around the world believe in the Real Presence except for a very small sliver of the Christian pie — the Evangelicals, Fundamentalists and a few other newly invented groups.

“The Catholic also has a tradition which has been handed down from the apostles. We can trace it with full confidence back to Jesus himself. When we read the Bible we have on our Catholic glasses which enables us to understand the Scriptures the way the apostles wrote it and the early Church understood it. We trust Scripture and the Tradition and this tradition is that which was taught by the apostles (2 Cor 11:2; 2 Thess 2:15; 3:6).

Be proud, yet humble, to be Catholic!”

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Descriptive Icon – can you figure it out?

by Steve Ray on December 27, 2017

On one of our last trips to Bethlehem I saw this icon that really caught my eye. What do you think?

Screen Shot 2017-12-26 at 9.48.27 AM

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What Does God See When He Opens His Eyes?

by Steve Ray on November 8, 2017

CrucifixionChurch.jpgSince we are in Capernaum today – where Jesus said, “Eat My Flesh and Drink My Blood.” I thought it would be appropriate to post again this popular blog post that explains the Sacrifice of the Mass.

Recently we went to Mass with two Protestants.  As we walked in the door — there it was, as big as life — a CRUCIFIX with the Body of Our Lord hanging over the altar.

I knew what the Protestants were thinking — I used to think the same — “CATHOLICS ARE WRONG, JESUS IS NO LONGER ON THE CROSS, HE HAS RISEN FROM THE DEAD AND IS IN HEAVEN.”  Of course they think Catholics are wrong to keep Jesus on the cross as though he had not risen and ascended into heaven.

Are they right?  Well, YES and NO.  Jesus DID rise and ascend into heaven and He IS glorified at the right hand of the Father and we are mystically seated there with him (1 Pet 3:22, Eph 2:6).  BUT the Catholic Church is ALSO correct to show Jesus on the Cross — not only to remind us of His suffering and death and to show what happens during the Mass — but because in a mystical way He IS STILL on the Cross.

God the Father sits on His throne in heaven.  And what does God see from his throne every time he “opens his eyes”?  He sees Jesus on the Cross!  Really?  Yeah, really!

PassoverLambBlood.jpgJesus is our Passover Lamb (1 Cor 5:7).  In the Old Testament the lambs were slain on Passover to save the Israelites from death.  The lamb was held over the altar, his neck was slashed with a knife and the blood was drained onto the altar.

This is why we have an altar in the Catholic Church! The altar represents the Cross (among other things). An Altar is where a Sacrifice takes place!  Jesus was slain as our Passover Lamb to save us from eternal death and to appease the wrath of God.  That sacrifice is re-presented at the Mass (see my talk Defending the Eucharist!).

Take a look at Revelation 5:5 and ask yourself — what John is telling us?  It reads,

Between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain . . .

Who IS the slain Lamb that is still standing?  Jesus is the Lamb!  Standing on a altar before the throne of God the Father is a Lamb still bearing the wounds of slaugher.  Jesus is that Lamb and he still bears the wounds of His sacrifice. That is what God sees when He “opens his eyes” — Jesus the sacrifice — Jesus on the altar — Jesus on the Cross.

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Rev 5:5-8 describes the Passover Lamb (Jesus Christ) ever before the Throne of God

Charles Wesley, the great Methodist minister and hymn writer agrees. In his hymn “Arise, My Soul, Arise” in which he says the very same thing in very poetic terms.

“Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears; The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears, Before the throne my surety stands, My name is written on His hands. He ever lives above, for me to intercede; His all redeeming love, His precious blood, to plead: His blood atoned for all our race, And sprinkles now the throne of grace.”

But wasn’t Jesus crucified once and for all, never to sacrificed for sins again?  Yes, of course!  In space and time Jesus was crucified once and for all in AD 30. But in God’s eyes the sacrifice is an eternal event and in the Mass that one sacrifice again is made present for us in space and time. What a gift from God!!

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