Fr. John Boyle discusses transubstantiation, which is the moment when the bread and wine offered at mass becomes the body and blood of Jesus Christ. It is not a mere imitation or symbol of the presence, but truly transformed in substance. At the Last Supper, Jesus took the bread and said, “take and eat; this is my body” (Matthew 26:26). Then he shared the cup of blessing and commissioned his disciples to continue to do this in memory of Him. He did not say that the bread looked like his body or that it was both bread and his body. His teaching was scandalous and challenging.
Later he says, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53). So we believe in transubstantiation, because Jesus spoke it and directed us to participate. This is the only time that we are not supposed to trust our senses in our faith. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote:
“Sight, touch, and taste in Thee are each deceived;
The ear alone most safely is believed:
I believe all the Son of God has spoken,
Than Truth’s own word there is no truer token.”
Despite what we see, we believe that at the consecration, there is a true presence of Jesus in what was bread and wine. He shows people this, so we can adore Him, who is our Lord and God.
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