Trying to take my Catholic glasses off

I’m watching The Bible on the History Channel as I do odds and ends tonight, and I stopped doing what I was doing to watch their depiction of The Last Supper.  Jesus tore bread and handed it to his disciples to tear and pass around, telling them “This is my body.”

Since the series was made by a Protestant, I was curious to see how they would depict the scene.  And you know what conclusion I came to, watching it?

Taking away the believe that Jesus meant for us to take him literally, the scene just seems really weird.

“This is my Body,” he tells them.  But he doesn’t mean it?

“Here, this is how I want you to remember me.  I’m going to tell you this Bread is My Body.  It isn’t really, but share it and pass it around and it’ll be a symbol of my Body for you.  And you’ll eat this symbol, and you’ll share the bread with people and tell them it’s my Body, too.  Then you’ll all sit around and pass grape juice in little cups and pretend its a symbol for my blood, and you’ll drink that. It’s not really my blood, but it’ll be a symbol of my blood, so it’s sort of like you’ll pretend to drink my blood.”

Yes, I know that belief in the Real Presence — that the bread and wine truly become Jesus’ body and blood– is radical and crazy.  Just as crazy as God becoming Man and walking around this earth for 30 years.

But any other interpretation seems even weirder.


8 thoughts on “Trying to take my Catholic glasses off

  1. Amy says:

    I’ve always heard the interpretation that Jesus DID change the bread & wine into His Body & Blood, but that in commanding us to “do this in memory of Me,” He commanded us to do it in a symbolic way, recalling what He really did. It’s a limitation on His willingness to share His power with us: we may be given His power to cast out demons in His name, but not to change bread & wine into His Body & Blood. After all, when was the last time you saw water change into wine, or 5,000 people fed with 5 loaves & 2 fish? (In another variation on the interpretation, the apostles could change bread & wine into His Body & Blood, but not anybody after the apostles.)
    Ultimately, I think that what non-Catholics have a hard time believing is that Jesus would give ordinary, sinful men the ability to do what He did.

    • joanallegretti says:

      That seems even harder to believe! Jesus told them at least 13 times that He would give them power and authority. And why would he tell them that they would do greater things than what they had seen him do? That doesn’t really add up unless you take into account the sacraments (raising a man from spiritual death is much greater than raising him from physical death). The more people try to ignore the idea of the Sacraments, the more they need to twist their way out of what Jesus actually said.
      Sorry, rant over, Amy. : )

      • Amy says:

        Lol, it’s your blog and you can rant if you want to. And of course I see it as you do. I’ve just wanted to chime in with the way some Protestants have articulated their understanding to me.
        The History Channel is so notorious for skewing its presentation of religious matters that I pretty much never watch it. It just always seems to be this post-Enlightenment, post-modern perspective. That’s probably a head-in-the-sand attitude, and neglecting an opportunity to exercise my response to what they say, but I’d just rather watch something else in my free time.

  2. Mom says:

    I can’t watch Protestant depictions of the Bible. Their partial belief comes through. They always make me mad when it comes to the Nativity scenes. (Just as mad as some priest’s sermons about St. Joseph not trusting in Mary). The mistakes they make end up leading Catholics down the Protestant path. During a woman’s study I was moderating, we talked about The Nativity Story that had come out at the time. It was discouraging that Catholics were believing what was in there. Given that so many Catholics leave to join Protestant denominations (usually for the better fellowship), I find any Protestant endeavor more dangerous than we realize.

  3. Liza says:

    I find it even more interesting that the creators used to be/claim to be Catholic!
    Great stuff here about sola fide and endorsing (or not) the miniseries.
    And, as always, a fisking of various articles about the miniseries that mentions Downey (ha) and Burnett’s Catholicism.

  4. Jill says:

    I tried to watch last night but I was totally distracted by Jesus’ hair, wondering what He uses to give it so much body and shine.

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