Real Presence is a holy mystery of love that is within us and beyond us. We can experience the Presence of Christ everywhere including when we gather in love at any meal and when we gather for Liturgy in memory of Jesus. According to the writers of the gospels, Jesus shared bread and wine at an open table with lots of different people - some of whom- were considered despicable.
When we gather around the table today to celebrate Eucharist, the real question is not how Christ is present in the bread and wine but that Christ is in present in our bodies - broken, blest and shared, in our sisters and brothers everywhere and in the entire cosmos. The Real Presence of Christ is within all living beings - past, present and future. It is the Divine Mystery in which we live and move and have our beings and beyond that too. It is the energy that connects us and makes us one. It is the grace that calls us to love and serve one another and all in need. It is always so much more and always beyond anything we can describe.
I agree with Thomas Reese that it is time to drop the medieval language of transubstantiation to explain changing the bread and wine into the Body of Christ in Eucharist.
"The language of transubstantiation, dependent on Aristotelian metaphysics, is meaningless to Americans who do not learn Greek philosophy in school."
"During the first half of the 20th century, church attendance by Catholics was very high, higher than that of Protestants. Catholics then believed that it was a mortal sin to miss Mass on Sunday, and unless you went to confession, you could die and go to hell. This filled Catholic churches despite boring homilies and a Mass in Latin that the people did not understand.
During the same period, American Catholics were taught in the Baltimore Catechism that the bread and wine were turned into the body and blood of Christ, a teaching that was explained using terms like transubstantiation. For true believers, this was an opportunity to adore Christ and be sanctified in Communion. For nominal Catholics, it was a meaningless ritual to be endured...
I just don't believe in transubstantiation because I don't believe in prime matter, substantial forms and accidents that are part of Aristotelian metaphysics.
Thomas Aquinas used Aristotelianism, the avant-garde philosophy of his time, to explain the Eucharist to his generation. What worked in the 13th century will not work today. If he were alive today, he would not use Aristotelianism because nobody grasps it in the 21st century.
So, first, forget transubstantiation. Better to admit that Christ's presence in the Eucharist is an unexplainable mystery that our little minds cannot comprehend."
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