Thursday, March 14, 2013

Transubstantiation Pt. 3

Previously I said I wanted to take an in depth look from the totality of the Bible as to how Transubstantiation is definitively supported with the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. As I mentioned Hiram Diaz seems to find no single verse of scripture from which to see a defense of the Catholic position.

Strange, because the totality of scriptures seem to me to be loaded with them. The first reference to a blessing of bread and wine comes in Genesis 14:18 when Abram meets Melchizedek. Abram is returning from battle when the priest (Melchizedek) comes out and blesses the bread and wine and gives it to him.

Fine you might say it's bread and wine. That doesn't support Transubstantiation on its own, but it helps build the house. We see in Hebrews 7 that Melchizedek is a type of Christ. He offered bread and wine to Abram, which is the same thing Christ offers to the Twelve that night in the Upper Room.

While they were held as slaves in Egypt the Israelites found someone who would lead them to freedom, Moses. God told the Israelites to celebrate a special feast, Passover. He would go through the land slaughtering the firstborn sons of Egypt, but the Jewish people would be spared because of blood from a freshly slaughtered Lamb on their doors.

The Passover feast had some special rules. Each family was to take a spotless firstborn male lamb from their flock, slaughter it and roast it. They were also told that the entire lamb had to be consumed, nothing could be left overnight. They were also to throw out all the leaven and eat only unleavened bread.

Interestingly enough especially later on anyone desiring to take part in the Passover feast had to be a Jew. It was a closed feast, that will come back up later.

I mentioned previously that Hiram Diaz refused to answer my question regarding whether the lamb was to be eaten. I think he knew where I would take him if he answered me. Revelation that great and terrible book that closes scripture. In between all of the frightful bits of prophesy Revelation is actually a great Passover liturgy.

Interestingly in chapter 5 we see Christ referred to as the lion of Judah and the root of David. However when St. John looks he sees a lamb appearing as though it has been slain Rev. 5:5-8. Why is the victorious Christ, vanquisher of death, crusher of sin, seen in His heavenly glory sitting on His throne as a newly slain lamb? Because as we learn in Hebrews 13:8 Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Since time began He has been the lamb slain for the remission of sin.

That being said, if even in his heavenly glory Christ is the newly slain lamb of the Passover. He must even during the Incarnation have still existed outside of time as humans know it, thus for Him the Law has always been fulfilled. Thus rendering any attempt to turn Transubstantiation into some sort of sin against the Law moot.

Let's go back to that Upper Room, Christ having "eagerly desired" to celebrate one last Passover with His apostles reclines at table with the Twelve Lk. 22:12.Christ then takes the bread and wine blessing them and sharing them with the apostles: Cf. Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; 1 Corinthians 11:21-25.

Curiously the institution narrative is absent in John's Gospel. However in John 6 we see the famous Bread of Life discourse in which Christ explains that for His disciples to have eternal life they must eat His flesh and drink His blood.

Some of you out there might now be saying sure but none of this says that a priest can say some words over a wafer of bread and a cup of wine and make it truly the Body of Christ or the Blood of Christ. Indeed that is never directly taught. However it is clear that Christ intends for the Apostles to be the beginning of a new ministerial priesthood. As such He implores them to repeat the blessing over the bread and wine "Do this in memory of Me."

The New Testament ministerial priesthood is perfectly foretold in the Old Testament as Malachi 1:11 shows. The prophet describes a time when God's name would be great even among the Gentiles and a "perfect offering" would be made to Him, from the rising of the sun to its setting.

Pretty sure you will find a Catholic Mass being offered somewhere in the world every hour of every day of every year. Save for Good Friday, no Mass that day, no sacraments at all in fact, except in cases of dire need.

So Communion for a Catholic is all about receiving the Lord whole and entire: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity with every reception of the sacrament. It is a closed feast like the OT Passover after all we have to protect the solemnity and dignity of such a great mystery.

The actual mechanics of what happens to transform the bread and wine are just that a mystery, part of the great exercise of faith.

For me the faith stands or falls on this one thing, that is why I go to such lengths to defend it. It's also why I get so angry about people who are so derisive about it, especially without a sound attempt at a refutation.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam

I know I promised a post on Transubstantiation today but I can't focus. We have a pope. Jesuit Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

Viva El Papa....Yes in Spanish, after all he's from Argentina.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Transubstantiation and Invincible Ignorance

So Saturday night I just couldn't sleep, stupid Daylight Savings Time messes me up every time. I started to cruise around some old internet faves, including Hiram Diaz's blog. I know I shouldn't go looking for a fight, but sometimes it's irresistible.

Mr. Diaz was at it again back in January attempting to refute Transubstantiation one more time. According to himself he has done it up real nice. However he still falls into the same logical pits he always has. First off stating in his post that there was in fact no scriptural basis for the most central of Catholic beliefs.

Well of course I had to respond. Citing John 6: 53-58 I reminded him that Christ in fact issued the command His own self. Five times in five verses in fact, Christ says just that. I knew what would be coming and sure enough his initial reply was a no reply. I was "question begging," sure I said I am begging you to answer to my questions.

Bottom line I still haven't gotten an answer as to how one should interpret those verses seeing as they entail a direct command from Christ. Just a lot of dancing around about how my position entails a logical contradiction, or how it violates the Levitical laws.

I'm even willing to stipulate it does violate the Levitical law, however Christ fulfilled the law. Which is another sticking point for us because we differ as to when and how the law was fulfilled.

Largely Diaz lashes about wildly kicking at a wall in a house built on rock and saying there I knocked your whole house down. Well the big bad wolf routine is amusing but ineffective.

Perhaps he fails to realize that Catholic dogmas all build and layer into one another; thus refuting Transubstantiation requires a little more than throwing around the idea that it violates the Law. It requires more than his pet theory regarding the state of Christ's body and whether the Real Presence is Christ's mortal or Resurrected body.

I have largely decided that Diaz is perhaps one of the invincibly ignorant. I thought they were a myth, like Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster.

I even attempted to reframe the question asking about whether Old Testament Jews were required to eat the Passover Lamb. He flatly refused to answer the question, I feel he probably knew (thus maybe his ignorance is a choice and not invincible) that I would lead him from the OT to the New showing how Jesus as the new lamb of the Passover had to be eaten.

It's an interesting look through the lens of salvation history one I will go even further in depth on tomorrow.