Genesis 14:18-20; Ps 110 You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 9:11-17
While at my first assignment in Victoria, I was approached by a sixth grader who was being harassed about his catholic faith by a church of christ minister. The sixth grader asked me if I would go and meet with the minister.
So we went. The minister, the moment I enter his house began to question the teachings of the Catholic church. Now, for the sake of setting things straight. I went, not to defend the Catholic faith but to ask rather why the minister insisted on picking on a 12 year old boy about his faith.
I thought it to be an unfair advantage.
The two main questions the minster asked were about Mary and the Eucharist. The question about the Eucharist was a pretty common question posed by protestant sects: why do we take JEsus literally?
That's the question. Why do we take Jesus' literally, at his word when he says "the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world...unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you...for my flesh is true food and my blood true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in them." (John 6:52-59)
Why do we take Jesus Literally?
The fact of the matter is the church has always taken Jesus literally. The church has always trusted the words of Jesus.
Not unlike the Disciples in today's gospel.
Jesus is surrounded by 5000 men, not to mention children and women. As evening drew near, the apostles approached Jesus and wanted to "dismiss" the crowd.
Jesus asked them to "give them some food yourselves." Now with a meager five loaves and two fish, things were not looking good. Yet, when Jesus asked the apostles to sit the crowd in groups of fifty, they did it.
They may have wondered what Jesus was up to. They may have questioned the reasoning for the sitting of all these people in small little communities of fifty. But they trusted int he words of Christ.
Then when Jesus blessed the five loaves and gave it to the apostles to feed the 5000 thousand, again apostles trusted in Jesus' word, they took him literally.
They may have doubted that five loaves could feed so many; nonetheless they ventured forth with what they thought to be an inadequate amount.
They trusted Jesus words.
A beautiful thing happened. Jesus proved himself reliable and trustworthy. He did not make the apostles look foolish. As the miracle came to light, Jesus' words again were seen to be trustworthy.
As it was then with the feeding of the 5000 thousand, so it is now with the every mass we celebrate. As we here those words from the Last Supper, "take this all of you and eat it this my body...take this all of you and drink of it, this is my blood."
As we go up to receive communion, we, like the apostles, are asked to trust the words of Christ. And we say "amen", we discover that Jesus doesn't make us fools but each time shows his words to be reliable and trustworthy.
Indeed this bread is what Jesus says it is, no ifs or buts about it.
Why does church Take Jesus literally? We trust his word.
His flesh is true food and his blood is true drink. We have real communion with God at the mass. We JEsus comes to meet us and communicates his real presence to us.
It is definitely worthy of a "Amen."