The following essay is blatantly stolen from a dear friend and spiritual guide. He has such a talent for explaination of difficult concepts, and I really enjoyed reading this text when it arrived in my inbox last week! I hope that you enjoy it as well!!!
Nota Bene– We at the Faithful Scribbler (meaning pretty much myself and on rare occasions my husband) encourage submissions from the readers! There are a fair lot of you at this point, and should you have any words you’d like to share, in defense/promotion of the faith, I would be happy to share them with appropriate citations!
Where did Jesus get the idea for using bread and wine for His Body and Blood, Holy Communion, the bread of eternal life?
by P. Miron
Anyone, who has read or studied the bible, knows that the New Testament always improves, fulfills, and makes complete the writings of the Old Testament. In other words, everything is made better and improved by Jesus. And why not? Jesus is the Son of God!
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread, which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. 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?” 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; 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. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. 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.” John 6:47-58
Melchizedek: King of Salem, and Priest; offered bread and wine to Father Abraham as an offering for his success in battles, directed by the Almighty.
Manna: the food of physical life is a form of bread.
Aaron and his sons were set aside and consecrated by God to be the priestly people. The Levites were set aside to serve the priest.
God made Covenant Promises with the Jewish nation. First with Father Abraham for his willingness to sacrifice the life of his only son, Isaac, and then later with Moses and the promise to keep the Ten Commandments
Today in Catholic Mass, through a miraculous process called, Transubstantiation, the priest working with and through God transforms ordinary bread and wine into the very Glorified Body and Blood of Jesus. Jesus makes of Himself a living offering and a living Sacrifice.
The NT speaks of the multiplication of the, loafs and fishes. This is “the new manna,” intended, not just for physical salvation, and now not just to the Jewish nation, but to the world. God shows that He has the power and the will to feed everyone, thus in one recounting, a few fish (fish represent Christ) and a few pieces of bread feed five thousand men (plus the women and children) and the remnants were twelve baskets) similar to the “ twelve loafs of the bread of presence.”
The Prophet Micah prophesied that “a savior” would come from Bethlehem.
Isaiah prophesied that the savior would be from the family of King David.
There was a “holy of holies” that held the Ark of the Covenant. A sacred pl
ace where only the priest were allowed.
Holy bread, bread of Presence
Was placed on the solid gold altar as a reminder of God, Twelve loafs were baked each day by the priest and could only be consumed by the priest. One for each tribe of Israel.
The priest, Aaron and his sons, regularly made sacrificial offerings for the forgiveness of the Israelites sins.
All sacrificial offerings MUST include the letting of blood!
There were prescribed ceremonies and times with very specific formats.
The celebration of the Feast of Passover;
Recalling their salvation from the plagues inflicted on the Egyptians. The final plague was the killing of the first-born, ”both man and beast,” and the angel of death, would “pass over” all the doors marked with the “blood of the lamb.”
Holy Communion, the gift of Jesus Himself, is the new and ever lasting Covenant of the New Testament for “the forgiveness of sins.” In other words, this New Covenant, now perfected is based on a sacrificial offering, and there can be “no sacrifice without the letting of blood,”
Today, Catholic Priest make Jesus and His Sacrifice of the Cross present time and again, only now in an un-bloody manner, yet it is the same sacrifice and the same Jesus. The Sacrifice if offered to God, for, the forgiveness of our sins.
Christ died for us only once, but His sacrifice is “re-presented,” following His directions to:” Do this in memory of Me.”
St. Luke recounts beautifully the story of the birth of Jesus: “And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:8-14
The word Bethlehem means, “house of bread.”
Jesus was laid in a crib, and what is a crib used for? Food!
The new manna, is now the Glorified, yet real Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Himself. It is the resurrected Body of Christ we receive in Holy Communion.
The new manna, is for everyone, not just the Jewish nation, and is the Bread of Eternal Life, not merely, physical life.
Jesus gives us Himself, as the perfection of the “bread of presence,” which was only a reminder of God.
The form of the new sacrifice is similar in format to the OT sacrifice. The reenactment of the Passover Meal, where an unblemished male lamb was sacrificed.
St. John the Baptized, speaking to the Jews:” Behold the Lamb of God!” They understood this to be the unblemished male lamb offered on Passover.
So the new Covenant, the current sacrifice is not with the blood of perfect animals, but the Blood of our Perfect God!