Did Early Christians See the Eucharist as Jesus’ Body and Blood or Just a Symbol? by Philip Kosloski (1.9.2020)

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By Philip Kosloski, Aleteia, 01/09/20

When you look at the writings of the first Christians, you see that the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist has never changed.

Jesus said to his apostles, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day” (John 6:53).In recent centuries much debate has surrounded those words, but from the beginning Christians took Jesus at his word and believed the Eucharist was truly Jesus’ body and blood, and not just a symbol. Here is a sampling of what various Christian leaders of the first few centuries said about this teaching.

“I have no taste for the food that perishes nor for the pleasures of this life. I want the Bread of God which is the Flesh of Christ, who was the seed of David; and for drink I desire His Blood which is love that cannot be destroyed.” (St. Ignatius of Antioch – 1st century)  …

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