Jesus said things.
Jesus supposedly said a lot of things.
One thing Jesus supposedly said was to, and I’m paraphrasing, “Eat me!”
In Matthew 26:26-28 (NIV) we learn that while the disciples were eating, Jesus took bread, broke it, and gave it to his followers, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Christ’s words at the Last Supper is what has sponsored the Roman Catholic belief in the Eucharist and Holy Communion. Dr. Jeff Mirus, founder of CatholicCulture.org informs us that
“Christ is present body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist. That’s a unique form of Presence (which is why Catholics call it “Real Presence”), unlike all the other forms which are spiritual only…” (Dr. Jeff Mirus, CatholicCulture.org)
What Dr. Mirus is referring to is the transubstantiation of the Host, i.e. the belief that the wine and bread literally transform into the blood and flesh of Christ. According to the Oxford Dictionary of English, the Roman Catholic belief in transubstantiation is: the conversion of the substance of the Eucharistic elements into the body and blood of Christ at consecration.
The Catholic writer Carson Daly goes on to inform us that the Presence of Christ’s lifeblood is contained, literally speaking, in the Eucharist!
Although the word “transubstantiation” was not used until the medieval period, the idea to which it refers can be found in many scriptural passages (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; John 6:50-67; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25). Moreover, many of the early Church fathers make it very clear that, once consecrated, the sacramental bread and wine actually become Christ’s Body and Blood. Ignatius of Antioch, Justin, and Ireneus, as well as Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, and Cyril of Alexandria all explained this mysterious transformation in their writings, and by the close of the seventh century, this doctrine was accepted throughout Christendom as the authentic teaching of the Church. (Carson Daly, CatholicCulture.org)
So there you have it. The dominant branch of orthodox Christianity for the majority of history has held that during Holy Communion, the wine and bread literally, actually, transform into the actual, literal, blood and body of Christ.
For the majority of history, if you did not believe in this doctrine, you were viewed as backwards. A heathen. This belief was taken so seriously that Jews were slaughtered for Host desecration crimes. The crime of, as demonstrated by PZ Myers in 2008, desecrating the Eucharist. This prompted The Catholic League to claim PZ Myers was guilty of a *hate crime. PZ’s response was merely to ridicule The Catholic League, since there is no such thing as a hate crime against a “frackin’ cracker.”
I only bring all of this up because it goes to show how goddamn serious people still are about this age old belief.
But then I was reading my Bible, or rather skimming it for research [on origins of vampire lore], and I was suddenly surprised to read Genesis 9:4 which says, ” But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. “
Wait a minute. If the Presence of Christ’s lifeblood is contained in the Eucharist…then wouldn’t it technically be wrong to eat the body and flesh of Christ with his Presence and lifeblood contained therein? Just asking. Cuz… well, you know.
In Leviticus 3:17:12 God says to the Israelites, “None of you may eat blood, nor may any foreigner residing among you eat blood.”
In Leviticus 3:17 we are given a lasting ordinance, or law, prohibitig the consumption of blood for all peoples, whenever and wherever! “This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live: You must not eat any fat or any blood.”
And in Leviticus 6:30 it is said the blood must never be eaten in Holy places of worship. “But any sin offering whose blood is brought into the tent of meeting to make atonement in the Holy Place must not be eaten; it must be burned up.”
Last I checked a Church was a Holy place of worship.
Leviticus 17:14 reminds us that “because the life of every creature is its blood… I have said to the Israelites, ‘You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off.'”
And then I read Leviticus 19:26, “Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it. Do not practice divination or seek omens.”
Isn’t partaking in the Eucharist a type of Christian omen? An omen, after all, is simply an event that is regarded as a portent of good or evil. That’s exactly what partaking in the Eucharist is! It is regarded as a portent of good. Good grief!
I’m sure you get the point by now. But just in case you’re a Catholic reading this, try opening up your Bible and read Leviticus 7:25-27. “And wherever you live, you must not eat the blood of any bird or animal.”
The last time I checked humans were considered animals. If the Host transforms into the body of Christ, that implies the physical human, animal, aspect of Christ. The body is the flesh, the meat, the person. So what gives?
Or how about Deuteronomy 12:16. “But you must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water.”
Shouldn’t the Eucharist be this instead? A whole congregation following the LAW of GOD by pouring out the Eucharist Host onto the floor. And God commandeth–“pour it out on the ground like water.”
Let the dousing begin! Heck, I would go to a Church that floods with wine every Sunday. That would be, in the famous words of Steve Martin, WILD!
Of course the Bible, and God’s, injunctions against the consumption of blood do not end here. For example, Deuteronomy 12:23 tells us that “you must not eat the life with the meat.”
But doesn’t that sort of defeat the point of the Eucharist, which literally turns into the meat of Jesus so as to gain everlasting life?
In fact, it is such an important moral injunction that Deuteronomy repeats it in Deuteronomy 12:24 and again in Deuteronomy 15:23. “You must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water.”
In context most of these above versus are talking about the Jewish customs of sacrifice and atonement. But that’s exactly what the Eucharist encapsulates! It is because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and atonement, we are told, that the Eucharist has any meaning at all.
But since these laws all come straight from the top, from God Almighty himself, the question becomes: who is right? Should Catholics be eating their Lord and Savior? Given God’s commands excessive compulsive need to drive the point home for his people not to eat the lifeblood of any meat whatsoever, does it make sense to then go and eat the lifeblood of Jesus Christ?
Just because Jesus said, “Eat me,” are believers supposed to listen and become little God-Eaters even as God said NOT TO? God says don’t eat blood and flesh. Jesus says eat my blood and flesh. And if you take the Trinitarian view, then the question becomes, who is right… God or God?
It’s a conundrum. A laughable conundrum. Absurd, sure. But a conundrum none-the-less.
And one last thought, with all the injunctions against eating meat, most of them set down by GOD, shouldn’t there be more vegetarian Jews and Christians?
I’ll leave it up for you to decide.