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This room is for discussion related to learning about the faith (Catechetics), defense of the Faith (Apologetics), the Liturgy and canon law, motivated by a desire to grow closer to Christ or to bring someone else closer.

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Eucharist: Bread and Lamb

Oct 29th 2012 new
I am a convert from Southern Baptist and this was a question I had back in those days that may not be as stimulating for Catholics. Baptists consider the Lords Supper, as it is most often referred to, to be merely an ordinance, not a sacrament, and purely symbolic. The Last Supper Jesus shared with his disciples was the Passover feast. This meal would have included roasted lamb, unleavened bread, and various vegetables. Why did Jesus, at the institution of the Eucharist, take the bread and say this is My body rather than the lamb? While there is certainly some symbolism in the bread as a type of Christ (unleavened = sinless), the lamb is much more obviously a picture of Jesus. On the day before Passover a spotless, male lamb was chosen, slaughtered, and its blood was smeared on the lintel and doorpost to identify the house as part of the chosen community so the Angel of Death would pass over the house. The lamb was then roasted and completely consumed. When John the Baptist saw Jesus he declared Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. And of course the connection between Jesus and the lamb pops up all throughout Christian art. I used this as an argument with a pastor who claimed that John 6 did not relate to the Lords Supper, not an uncommon argument in some circles of evangelicalism. Jesus words over the bread would have brought His sermon on the Bread of Life back to the apostles minds.

Thoughts? Any other reason for the bread instead of the lamb?
Oct 30th 2012 new

scratchchin Interesting observation. My only thought is that dough rises, sheep do not.

Oct 30th 2012 new

The eucharist is unleavened bread though. I found a good article on leavened vs. unleavened. As for why lamb vs. bread? The lamb was the sacrifice, as Christ is, whereas bread of life was given by God for sustenance in the desert. That's supposition, but I will be interested to see other's opinions. heart

www.prosphora.org

Nov 6th 2012 new

(Quote) Michael-756537 said: Thoughts? Any other reason for the bread instead of the lamb?
(Quote) Michael-756537 said: Thoughts? Any other reason for the bread instead of the lamb?
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Hi, Michael,

The doctrine regarding the institution of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (the Mass is primarily a sacrifice, since, in persona Christi, the priest makes His Divine Majesty, Jesus Christ's original sacrifice at Calvary, present on the altar once again, though in an unbloody fashion, as victim to be offered to the Father for reconciliation of God and man) was defined very closely at the Council of Trent (session XXII). It is as follows:

"Forasmuch as, under the former Testament, according to the testimony of the Apostle Paul, there was no perfection, because of the weakness of the Levitical priesthood; there was need, God, the Father of Mercies, so ordaining, that another priest should rise, according to the order of Melchisedech, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who might consummate, and lead to what is perfect, as many as were to be sanctified. He, therefore, our God and Lord, though He was about to offer Himself once on the altar of the cross unto God the Father, by means of His death, there to operate an eternal redemption; nevertheless, because that His priesthood was not to be extinguished by His death, in the last supper, on the night in which He was betrayed, - that He might leave, to His own beloved Spouse the Church, a visible sacrifice, such as the nature of man requires, whereby that Bloody Sacrifice, once to be accomplished on the cross, might be represented, and the memory thereof remain even unto the end of the world, and its salutary virtue be applied to the remission of those sins which we daily commit, - declaring Himself constituted a priest forever, according to the order of Melchisedech, He offered up to God the Father His own Body and Blood under the species of bread and wine; and, under the symbols of those same things, He delivered (His own Body and Blood) to be received by His Apostles, whom He then constituted priests of the New Testament; and by those words, 'Do this in commemoration of Me,' He commanded them and their successors in the priesthood, to offer (them); even as the Catholic Church has always understood and taught. For, having celebrated the ancient Passover, which the multitude of the children of Israel immolated in memory of their going out of Egypt, He instituted the new Passover, (to wit) Himself to be immolated, under visible signs, by the Church through (the ministry of) priests, in memory of His own passage from this world unto the Father, when by the effusion of His own Blood He redeemed us, and delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into His kingdom. And this is indeed that clean oblation, which cannot be defiled by any unworthiness, or malice of those that offer (it); which the Lord foretold by Malachias was to be offered in every place, clean to His Name, which was to be great amongst the Gentiles; and which the Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, has not obscurely indicated, when he says, that they who are defiled by the participation of the table of devils, cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord; by the table, meaning in both places the altar. This, in fine, is that oblation which was prefigured by various types of sacrifices, during the period of nature, and of the law; in as much as it comprises all the good things signified by those sacrifices, as being the consummation and perfection of them all."

Here is my own conjecture as to why the lamb was not the material for the Blessed Sacrament:

1) The immolation of the lamb may have confused the Holy Sacrifice of Our Lord on the Cross with a new sacrifice offered each time the lamb was slaughtered.

2) Bread and wine may well have been available to us as food and drink according to Original Justice, had Adam never chosen to sin, whereas meat would not. Since God is immutable, and from Catholic doctrine would have made His Son, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, man regardless as to whether man fell into sin or not, He could have chosen to make Himself present under the species of bread and wine to all of His brothers on earth in the same fashion as He instituted at the Last Supper.

Nov 17th 2012 new
The eucharist is unleavened bread though. I found a good article on leavened vs. unleavened. As for why lamb vs. bread? The lamb was the sacrifice, as Christ is, whereas bread of life was given by God for sustenance in the desert. That's supposition, but I will be interested to see other's opinions.

>> In the Latin rite. The Byzantine rite of the Catholic Church uses leavened bread for the Eucharist. Actually, the loaf that the priest divides before the liturgy to make the cubes that he consecrates is called the "lamb."
Nov 17th 2012 new

Chelsea's response is extremely complete, but truly, both sacrifices were given by God for the sustenance of His people, bread for life on earth, the lamb for life everlasting.

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