Here is a snippet from St Ignatius who lived in the first century AD and died shortly after the turn of 2nd century. Here is is take on the Eucharist as the real presence of Jesus for us, with us, in us on the journey…
"But consider those who are of a different opinion with respect to the grace of Christ which has come unto us, how opposed they are to the will of God. They have no regard for love; no care for the widow, or the orphan, or the oppressed; of the bond, or of the free; of the hungry, or of the thirsty. They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not theEucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which theFather, of His goodness, raised up again. Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death in the midst of their disputes."
Even the early church held firmly to the belief that Jesus was truly present body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist.
As Moses points out in the first reading for this weekend "in order to show you that not by bread alone does one live, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of the Lord."
Does not the Eucharist come to us through the word of the Lord as Jesus himself takes the bread and says "take this all of you and eat it, this is my body given for you" and then the wine "take this cup, cup of my blood, shed for many for the forgiveness of sins."
If human words effect change in our life for instance a deputized law officer comes to you and saying you are under arrest changes your life. Or an umpire in a baseball games calls you out as opposed to safe then it changes your reality in the game. How much more does Jesus' word effect change in reality. Jesus' word raises the little girl from the dead, multiplies the loaves and fish, raises the centurion's servant, brings Lazarus from the grave, forgives the sins of the paralyzed men and has him walk again. How much more does his word effect a change in the bread and wine, in particular through his deputized official the ordained priest at the altar.
"but by the word of Lord…"
Even St Paul in the second reading reminds us (1 corinthians 10:16-17), "the cup of blessing that we bless is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread we break, is it not participation in the body of Christ?"
Then of course Jesus' own words should solidify our belief and stance, "the bread that I give will be 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. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise whim on the last day."
Some suggest that Jesus was only speaking symbolically. Then why would he let his disciples walk away after he makes this statement. Why would he not accommodate his words to fit them rather then let them walk away? Not only doe she not accommodate them he intensifies his words by saying you have to "chew" on my flesh.
St Thomas points out that we lost eternal life through act of eating it is fitting we region eternal life through eating.
Drinking blood was forbidden in the OT. One could not eat flesh of animals with blood for life was in the blood. God does not want us to share life of animals; but the blood of Christ is the blood of God, he does want to share divine life with us.
Christians worship Christ because Christ is God. Catholics worship the Eucharist because the Eucharist is Christ.
The Eucharist is the one place on Earth where Jesus is completely present on earth: body, blood, soul, divinity. He is really, totally, objectively, completely present.
When we say Amen at communion we are acknowledging that Jesus our personal savior has to come to be present not only to us but in us: real presence meets real union.
Jesus is here in the Eucharist. He did not just rise. He is risen. His resurrected presence comes to us.