Catholicism - Now I Get It!


Study Guide to CHAPTER 5:     "Now I Get… the Real Presence"




Which of the four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – contains the famous Eucharistic discourse? What does Jesus say during that discourse?

According to the Biblical account, who believes what Jesus says about ? Who does not?

What happened at the Last Supper? What instructions did Jesus give?

What did Jesus say at the Last Supper that is still said at Mass today?

What is the difference between transubstantiation and consubstantiation?

What did the Jews in the Old Testament offer to God as sacrifice?

What replaced those sacrifices?

What perfect Sacrifice becomes present at the Mass?

Why do we call it the Mass of All Ages?

What did St. Paul say a person would be guilty of if he ate and drank the Body and Blood of Christ unworthily?

What did St. Paul mean when he said we must discern the body when we receive the Eucharist?

What did St. Paul mean when he said the Cup we bless and the bread we break are a participation in the Body and Blood of Christ?

People all around the globe receive the same exact Body and Blood of Christ. How does that make us connected to the entire Body of Christ?

The Old Testament Jews ate the Paschal Lamb (Exodus 12:8, 12:46). As part of the New Covenant, we eat the Lamb of God. What are the differences and similarities in the two Lambs?

Reflect on St. Paul’s words: “For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed.” (1 Cor 5:7)

Recall how Jesus multiplied the loaves of bread and fish for the thousands in the crowd. Reflect on how that miracle helped prepare the apostles for a greater miracle - Jesus would continually multiply His Body for all of us to share

How often do most Catholic churches have Mass?


Suggested Reading

How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist by Michael Dubruiel. Huntingdon, IN: Our Sunday Visitor books 2005

The How-To Book of the Mass by Michael Dubruiel. Huntingdon, IN: Our Sunday Visitor books, 2002

Beginning Apologetics 3: How to Explain and Defend the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Farmington, NM: San Juan Catholic Seminars, 1999.

God Is Near Us: the Eucharist the Heart of Life by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2003

The Lamb's Supper: The Mass As Heaven on Earth by Scott Hahn. New York, NY: Doubleday, 1999.

The Mass of the Early Christians by Mike Aquilina. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Books, 2001

This is My Body by Mark P. Shea

Eucharistic Miracles by Joan Carroll Cruz. Rockford, Ill.: Tan Books, 1987.

Praying the Presence of Our Lord: Prayers for Eucharistic Adoration Editor: Rev. Benedict J. Groeschel. Huntingdon, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 1999

The Hidden Manna: A Theology of the Eucharist  by Fr. James T. O’Connor San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1978

Worthy is the Lamb: The Biblical Roots of the Mass by Thomas Nash. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004.

Know Him in the Breaking of the Bread: A Guide to the Mass by Fr. Francis Randolph San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1998

Our Splendid Eucharist: Reflections on Mass and Sacrament by Raymond Moloney, S.J. San Francisco: Ignatius Press

If Your Mind Wanders at Mass by Thomas Howard. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2001 (new edition).

Adoration: Eucharistic Prayers throughout Church History, edited by Daniel Guernsey. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1999

The Holy Eucharist by St. Alphonsus Liguori. New York: Alba House, 1994

Mass Confusion:The Dos and Don’ts of Catholic Worship by James Akin. El Cajon, Ca.: Catholic Answers, Inc., 1999

The Most Blessed Sacrament (a booklet by Fr. Stephano Manelli, O.F.M)

The Wonders of the Mass (a booklet by Paul O’Sullivan, O.P.)


Helpful Entries from the old Catholic Encyclopedia.   (The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist)

/   (Sacrifice of the Mass)   (Canon of the Mass)   (Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament)   (The Blessed Eucharist as a Sacrament)   (Holy Orders)


Helpful Websites   (The Real Presence Association)   (The Eucharist: the Lord’s Supper)   (The Institution of the Mass)    (Modern Misconceptions about the Eucharist)    (Modern Misconceptions about the Eucharist)   (Eucharist Links)



Audiotapes: The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist  – Live (a set of 6 tapes by Fr. Regis Scanlon). St. Joseph’s Communications, West Covina, CA




(John 6:35-71)

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst

36: But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.

37: All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out.

38: For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me;

39: and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day

40: For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

41: The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, "I am the bread which came down from heaven."

42: They said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, `I have come down from heaven'?"

43: Jesus answered them, "Do not murmur among yourselves

44: No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

45: It is written in the prophets, `And they shall all be taught by God.' Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me

46: Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father

47: Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life

48: I am the bread of life

49: Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died

50: This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.

51: I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."

52: The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

53: So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;

54: he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day

55: For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

56: He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him

57: As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.

58: This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever."

59: This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Caper'na-um.

60: Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?"

61: But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, "Do you take offense at this?

62: Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?

63: It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

64: But there are some of you that do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him

65: And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father

66: After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.

67: Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?"

68: Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life;

69: and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."

70: Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?"

71: He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was to betray him.


What else does the Bible say about the Eucharist?

St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me."  In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. (1 Cor. 11:23-29)

St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. (1 Cor 10:16)



St. Ignatius of Antioch (110AD) “[heretics] abstain from Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus of our Savior Jesus Christ…” (Letter to Smyrnaeans 6,2)

St. Justin Martyr (150 A.D.): “not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but…as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, is both the Flesh and Blood of that incarnated Jesus.” (First Apology 66, 20

St. Irenaeus of Lyons (195 AD):  “He [Jesus] has declared the cup, a part of his creation, to be His own Blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, He has established as His Own Body, from which He gives increase to our bodies.” (Against Heresies 5,2,2.)

St Cyril of Jerusalem (350 A.D.): “He himself, therefore, having declared and said of the bread, “This is My Body,’ who will dare any longer to doubt? And when He Himself has affirmed and said, ‘This is My Blood,’ who can ever hesitate and say it is not His Blood? (Catechetical Lectures: Mystagogic 4,22,1.)

St Cyril of Jerusalem (350 A.D.): “Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that, for they are, according to the Master’s declarations, the Body and Blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the Body and Blood of Christ.” Ibid. 4,22,6

St. Ignatius of Antioch (100 AD)   the Eucharist is "the medicine of immortality and the antidote, so that we do not die, but live forever in Jesus Christ"

St. John Chrysostom: "You envy the opportunity of the woman who touched the vestments of Jesus, of the sinful woman who washed His feet with her tears, of the women of Galilee who had the happiness of following Him in His pilgrimages, of the Apostles and disciples who conversed with Him familiarly, of the people of the time who listened to the words of grace and salvation which came forth from His lips.  You call happy those who saw Him...But, come to the alter and you will see Him, you will touch Him, you will give to Him holy kisses, you will wash Him with your tears, you will carry Him within you like Mary Most Holy."

For more Church Fathers on the Real Presence, see



1. The Mass is the strongest prayer and the only perfect Sacrifice that can be offered up to God. The Lord is truly present, and so is the Sacrifice He made on Calvary. Think of ways to prepare your heart. Make your walk or drive to Mass a quiet, prayerful time. Perhaps, turn off the radio. Prepare your heart for the entrance of the Lord.  Call to mind any special intentions for which you may want to offer up Mass. Sick friend? Souls in purgatory? Peace?

2. Church regulations require us to fast for one hour before receiving Communion, but consider fasting an extra amount of time as a gift to the Lord

3. Be sure to arrive on time and dress properly for Mass. Perhaps set your alarm earlier and figure out what you’ll wear ahead of time.

4. Pay special attention during the consecration. Call to mind the painful sacrifice that Jesus went through for us. It is Christ’s death that we are proclaiming. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.” (1 Cor. 11:26)

5. If we have a mortal sin on our soul, we must go to Confession before we can receive Communion again

6. Remember to bow your head before the Lord before approaching the priest for Communion.

7. Make a concerted effort to make it to Mass one extra day per week. If you only go on Sundays, try a Monday also. Or a Friday. Mass schedules at most U.S. Catholic churches are listed with

8. Many parishes have exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Find out which parish near you has it and stop in for Adoration of the Host. The Lord will appreciate any time you can spend with Him, but remember that Holy Hour is so named because of Jesus’ plea for his friends to say with him just one hour in the Garden of Gethsemane. When Jesus found the disciples sleeping, he said to Peter, "So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Mt. 26:40-41)



Back to Catholicism -Now I Get It! (The Guide)