(This is a multipart column. See www.TheMassNeverEnds.com for the previous parts.)
Easter Sunday is a good day to conclude this series, “Y I Am Catholic”, and so I shall.
In our last installment we made the case for the historical authenticity of the Gospels. In short, when compared with any other ancient document, there is more evidence for the historical reliability of the Gospels than there is for the writings of Socrates, Plato, or even Shakespeare – unquestioned intellecutal pillars of classical western civilization. So let us look at what those Gospels record.
They record, of course, the birth, life, passion, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. They also record his teachings, miracles, and directives. For our purpose – which is to evince and expound upon the reason to be Catholic – let us examine one of those teachings, his most important: DO THIS.
In fact it is more than a teaching, it is a directive, an order. And it is most important because worship is man’s fundamental duty to God, and Christ’s instruction at the Last Supper is an instruction on how he is to be worshipped, commemorated, acknowledged, remembered, and recognized. There is, for man, nothing more important.
Scriptures records: on the night before he died, Jesus took the bread and said THIS IS MY BODY, EAT THIS…, and the wine and said THIS IS MY BLOOD, DRINK THIS… And then he commands: DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME.
Many Christian church services have great singing, sermons, and fellowship, but only one Church fully worships God as Christ Himself instructed. Only one Church obeys, and has obeyed from the beginning, despite the fallibility and failings of its ministers, the command of Jesus Christ to DO THIS.
To be sure, many churches have communion services, but the presider does not hold up the bread and wine and say THIS IS MY BODY…THIS IS MY BLOOD. And while it is true that some Anglican and even some Lutheran churches have liturgies in which at least the words and actions of Christ at the Last Supper are re-presented, neither religion accepts the full reality of the Real Presence.
This would necessitate a discussion of transubstantiation, the belief that the bread and wine actually become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, which we do not have space to do here and will do another time.
But for the most part, we need not even engage the issue of transubstantiation. We are simply looking at whether or not non-Catholic Christian churches actually worship Christ as he instructed on the night before he died. Do they DO THIS? They do not.
Only the Catholic Church obeys this command and obeys the DO THIS fully. What’s more, the Catholic Church obeys Christ’s instruction as the first Christians obeyed it: weekly and on Sunday. Acts 20:7 says “On the first day of the week they gathered together to break bread…” We know that this wasn’t a reference to some first century church picnic because “breaking bread”, as demonstrated elsewhere in the New Testament, references the Eucharistic sacrifice.
So here, right in the heart of the New Testament, we see the first Christians commemorating Christ as he instructed, commemorating him weekly, and commemorating him on the first day of the week, the day of the Resurrection, Sunday. And where is the only place on Earth where we will find that command obeyed, obeyed weekly, and on Sunday? Answer: The Catholic Mass.
Jesus did not say to sing, lecture, dance, drum, shout, shake, or read your bible in memory of me. He said DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME. And the Catholic Church is simply the only place where DO THIS is done.
The Catholic Mass, regardless of the quality of the sermon, the music, the fellowship, or the after-church bake sale, is the only full and true worship of Jesus Christ. And while you may get better sermons, better music, better fellowship, warmer hugs, and probably better donuts at another church, you won’t get Jesus Christ: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. And THAT is Y I AM CATHOLIC…and why you should, nay, MUST, be Catholic too.
This column reflects only the views of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff and management of the Umatuna. Hyperlinks to supporting data can be found on the online version at www.themassneverends.com The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or “friended at facebook.com/timrohr.guam