Honeycom raises four points s/he thinks disproves the Eucharist. None do. They are, in turn:
(1) Why would the Lord of the Universe turn Himself into a piece of bread so His followers believe they are consuming His body, blood, soul and divinity?
Why would He become a Baby, and a poor Galilean at that, and claim to be both a King and God Himself? Surely, our faith would be easier had He come in glory at the First Advent. As St. Ambrose pointed out in On the Mysteries, if you can accept the Virgin Birth on faith, you should be able to accept the Eucharist on faith as well, since we know from His very Birth that His Body was not ordinary:
Did the course of nature proceed as usual when the Lord Jesus was born of Mary? If we look to the usual course, a woman ordinarily conceives after connection with a man. And this body which we make is that which was born of the Virgin. Why do you seek the order of nature in the Body of Christ, seeing that the Lord Jesus Himself was born of a Virgin, not according to nature? It is the true Flesh of Christ which crucified and buried, this is then truly the Sacrament of His Body.
54. The Lord Jesus Himself proclaims: “This is My Body.” Before the blessing of the heavenly words another nature is spoken of, after the consecration the Body is signified. He Himself speaks of His Blood. Before the consecration it has another name, after it is called Blood. And you say, Amen, that is, It is true. Let the heart within confess what the mouth utters, let the soul feel what the voice speaks.
If your question is why He doesn’t appear as Flesh and Blood in the Eucharist, it’s for the same reason He chose humble form during His earthly ministry: so that we come to Him in faith, and not out of anything less.
(2) Jesus did not change the substance as at Cana, and He did not say “touto gignetai” meaning this is turned into or has become, but “touto esti” meaning this represents or stands for.
A. Cana was a foreshadowing of the Eucharist. The forerunner is never as great as what it signals. Compare the infinite difference between the first Passover lamb and Christ the Passover Lamb, or the first and last Adam. Hebrews 10:1 establishes this principle that the shadow is never as full as the thing it foreshadows. And the author of Hebrews just showed that Moses used real blood in Hebrews 9:19-20 to atone for sins:
“When Moses had proclaimed every command of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.”
And as Hebrews 9:22 tells us, this was done because, “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” You’d have it so that Moses said “This is the blood of the covenant,” and it was real, (temporarily) atoning blood. But Jesus says “This is the Blood of My Covenant,” and He’s just swigging symbolic wine. Hebrews 9:23 disagrees with you, which says Jesus’ version is “more perfect” than Moses (since the real Blood of the Covenant Jesus offers in the Eucharist is perfect atonement, rather than temporary), as does the entire model of prophetic foreshadowing in Scripture.
B. That’s not what “touto esti” means. It literally means “this is.” True, it can be used in an allegorical fashion (just as in English; as in the old rhyme, “this is the church, this is the steeple…”). But it’s not true that Jesus’ words signal a symbol, any more than “this is” signals a symbol in English. Christ said “This is My Body” (touto esti), not “This has Become My Body” (touto gignetai), but neither of those phrases are “This symbolizes My Body.”
Martin Luther himself acknowledged this, mocking those who took the other view in Against the Heavenly Prophets, saying, “I would laugh at the monkey business if it did not concern matters of such great importance.” The reason for his mockery:
For in Greek the sentence reads “Touto esti to soma mou.” Originally and still today these Greek words mean in translation, “this is my body.” In Latin the words “Hoc est corpus meum,” are a complete and correct rendering of the Greek, without missing the point by one whit, as all those would have to affirm, who know Greek.
He gives numerous points proving this, and provides examples from Scripture, from the Greek language, and from the German language. If you want to read it in full, read from page 239 to about 257 or so of this book.
If you don’t want to take Luther’s word for it, you could always look at the Bible. The word “esti” is used nearly 800 times, and never once is translated as “symbolizes” in the KJV. It’s translated “is” 744 times, “are” 54 times, “was” 29 times, “be” 25 times, “have” 11 times, etc., but never “symbolizes” or anything of the like. For example, we also see “touto esti” in Matthew 19:26, when Christ says, “with men, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible” and in John 6:29, when He says, “This is the work of God,” and a little later, in v. 39 and 40, “this is the Father’s Will” and “this is the Will of Him who sent Me.” In Acts 2:16, the phrase is used for the verse, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” And on and on it goes: each time we see it, it actually means “this is,” not “this represents.”
In fact, understanding it to mean “symbolizes” or “represents” perverts Scripture horribly. So, for example, in Matthew 3:3, we hear of John the Baptist, “This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah…” Should we understand that to mean that John the Baptist is the one spoken of by Isaiah, or that John the Baptist symbolizes someone else spoken of by Isaiah? The rest of the passage makes it clear: the prophesy is about John himself. Understanding it to mean “symbolizes” perverts the prophesy completely. Or Matthew 27:37, where on the Cross was written, “This is Jesus Christ, King of the Jews.” Should we understand that to mean that the Man on the Cross is Jesus, or symbolizes Jesus?
(3) In Matt.26:29 He said ,”I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine…until my Father’s kingdom.”
A. I’ve addressed this recently, in fact. It’s a reference to the Jewish wedding custom: the Groom goes ahead of His Bride to prepare a place for Her, and then they share Communion Wine (this, as I noted then, prefigures the Eucharistic Banquet of Heaven). Revelation 19:9 shows this fulfilled with the Wedding Feast of the Lamb in Heaven, when the Bride (the Church) finally comes home to Her Groom, Jesus Christ. The Feast is incredibly Eucharistic, and the Eucharist has always been understood to be a foretaste of this Banquet, although we receive Him now “under the veil of a Sacrament.”
B. I don’t see how it helps your point, at all. In fact, it shows that this can’t be wine, since Jesus drank wine after that, before His entry into the Kingdom (John 19:19-20). The Vine is Christ (John 15:5), and the Fruit of the Vine is the Eucharist (Matthew 26:27-28). So your interpretation would mean Jesus’ prophesy was false.
(4) Let’s take Jesus at His word. He offered one perfect sacrifice for all time that does not need to be “re-presented” thousands of times every day on Catholic altars around the world.
A. Nowhere in the Word do we read that Jesus’ once-for-all Sacrifice mean He’s not re-presented. Instead, we read that Christ presents Himself constantly – even in Heaven Itself – in this Sacrificial state, as Revelation 5:6 shows.
B. In the Lord’s prayer, we ask “Give us this day our Daily Bread” (Luke 11:3), and the word used for “Daily” is epiousios, and it’s a neologism — that is, it’s a word that Jesus makes up to describe what He’s talking about. If He meant the physical food we eat every day, he’d have said ephēmeros, just like James 2:15 does, when he’s speaking about physical food. But Christ is making a Eucharistic reference, since He’s the Bread (John 6:51). He’s asking us to pray for daily Spiritual Bread – this is what the manna foreshadowed (John 6:58), and this interpretation is more in keeping with the rest of the prayer. After all, it’s all about our spiritual needs, so this is a natural fit.
C. Related to that last point, we daily ask Christ for forgiveness, as we forgive those who trespass against us. This forgiveness is through the application of Christ’s merits (Luke 11:4). So if His merits mean once-for-all forgiveness for all sins past, present, and future, this prayer is futile, since we’re already forgiven, and dishonest, since we’re asking God to forgive us as we forgive others. Now, Christ commands this prayer, and from it, we can know that He’s right and you’re wrong.
E. Acts 2:42 speaks of the “breaking of the Bread” as a constant celebration, and as I’ve shown elsewhere, that construction only refers to the Eucharist.
So Scripture speaks about the Eucharist as the eternal, and repeated, celebration of a one-time event.
F. More directly to your point, the application of Christ’s merits to sins is ongoing, which is why 1 John 1:17 says that “the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (note “purifies,” present tense), “if we walk in the light.” Not, “He’s already purified us from all sin once-for-all, so no need to worry about walking in the Light or not.” That perfect purification is ongoing.
G. As the last point showed, if we reject Christ, which we can do at any time, we reject His merits. Hebrews 10:26-29 says this incredibly explicitly:
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
So even after the initial application of Christ’s Sacrifice, and the merits thereby bestowed, we’re free to continue to remain in Him, or reject His Blood. If we reject Christ, the fact that we once accepted His Sacrifice is of no moment, since for us, there will be “no Sacrifice for sins left” if we turn away from the One who can save us. Note this well: Christ’s once-for-all Sacrifice isn’t necessarily accepted once-for-all. Hebrews specifically says that there will be an awful and severe punishment for those who trample the Blood of the Covenant which had sanctified them. In other words, some are saved, and even sanctified, but then turn away by mortal sin. So we know from Hebrews 10 that we can (1) have Christ’s merits applied to our lives, then (2) reject those merits and no longer be protected by His Sacrifice. That leaves two options: either we’re forever damned at this point, or we can have Christ’s merits applied two times, or three, or seven times seventy-seven (Luke 17:4).
H. Finally, Malachi 1:11-12 specifically prophesies that under the New Covenant, there will be Sacrifice offered to God from the rising to the setting of the sun. This is the Sacrifice of “the Lord’s Table,” which some will despise. That sounds incredibly close to your complaint that the Eucharist is offered “thousands of times every day on Catholic altars around the world.“
Update: I added 2 A, because I’d overlooked the point about Cana.