Saturday, May 12, 2012

First Communion

Why do girls dress similar to brides at 1st communion?

They wear white as they do in baptism to symbolize purity and a new creation.  We are made pure by Christ’s sacrifice for us.  The veil is optional and comes from the tradition that came about centuries ago of headcoverings worn in church. This was a sign of humility and reverence and comes from 1 Corinthians 13.  In addition, similar symbolism to a bride at her wedding who is pure and blameless before her husband, a girl at her First Communion (and boys in white shirts) are presenting themselves as the "bride of Christ to their bridegroom" again pure and spotless.

Why do Catholics believe in the true presence of the body and blood?

Below are the Bible verses that explain why we believe in the true presence of the body and blood.  We believe that after the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood during consecration, the appearance, taste, and texture remain the same while they become in substance the body and blood of Jesus.  There have been many miracles of the Eucharist over the last 2000 years and the writings of the early church, many written by the same authors of the Bible, show that this is what Jesus’ followers believed. 

Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep.  I Corinthians 11:26-30

I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. 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. The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?' 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; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him (John 6:48-56).

In instances where Jesus wanted people to pay attention, he always repeated himself by saying “truly, truly” or “amen, amen”  If Jesus truly is the great teacher that he is, why did he let people walk away when they did not believe that they could eat his flesh? 

In the Aramaic language that Our Lord spoke, to symbolically "eat the flesh" or "drink the blood" of someone meant to persecute or assault them.   See the following... (Psa 27:2 KJV) When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. John 6:23-53 - however, a symbolic interpretation is not plausible. Throughout these verses, the Greek text uses the word "phago" nine times. "Phago" literally means "to eat" or "physically consume." Like the Protestants of our day, the disciples take issue with Jesus' literal usage of "eat." So Jesus does what?
John 6:54, 56, 57, 58 - He uses an even more literal verb, translated as "trogo," which means to gnaw or chew or crunch. He increases the literalness and drives his message home. Jesus will literally give us His flesh and blood to eat. The word “trogo” is only used two other times in the New Testament (in Matt. 24:38 and John 13:18) and it always means to literally gnaw or chew meat. While “phago” might also have a spiritual application, "trogo" is never used metaphorically in Greek. So Protestants cannot find one verse in Scripture where "trogo" is used symbolically, and yet this must be their argument if they are going to deny the Catholic understanding of Jesus' words. Moreover, the Jews already knew Jesus was speaking literally even before Jesus used the word “trogo” when they said “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” (John 6:52).
John 6:55 - to clarify further, Jesus says "For My Flesh is food indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed." This phrase can only be understood as being responsive to those who do not believe that Jesus' flesh is food indeed, and His blood is drink indeed. Further, Jesus uses the word which is translated as "sarx." "Sarx" means flesh (not "soma" which means body). See, for example, John 1:13,14; 3:6; 8:15; 17:2; Matt. 16:17; 19:5; 24:22; 26:41; Mark 10:8; 13:20; 14:38; and Luke 3:6; 24:39 which provides other examples in Scripture where "sarx" means flesh. It is always literal.
John 6:55 - further, the phrases "real" food and "real" drink use the word "alethes." "Alethes" means "really" or "truly," and would only be used if there were doubts concerning the reality of Jesus' flesh and blood as being food and drink. Thus, Jesus is emphasizing the miracle of His body and blood being actual food and drink.
Another reference is of course the last supper.  Catholics use unleavened bread in commuion.  At the last supper, Jesus was celebrating Passover with his disciples so they used wine and unleavened bread in that celebration per Jewish tradition.
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." Matthew 26:26-28

For the full explanation and many Bible verses, see

Why not receive communion from the time you are very young (as episcopals do) and what are sacraments?

A child recieves first communion in 2nd grade when the church feels that they can begin to understand this concept and continue becoming full members of the church.  The first sacrament is baptism which a child’s parents choose for them.  Whole families were baptized in the Jordan and we believe this included infants.  Then, they receive first reconciliation which is confessing their sins.  Only God can forgive sins but the priest can council us and pray for us so that we do not continue to commit the same offenses.  Jesus gave his disciples the authority to forgive sins. John 20:21 - before He grants them the authority to forgive sins, Jesus says to the apostles, "as the Father sent me, so I send you." As Christ was sent by the Father to forgive sins, so Christ sends the apostles and their successors forgive sins.

John 20:23 - Jesus says, "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven. If you retain the sins of any, they are retained." In order for the apostles to exercise this gift of forgiving sins, the penitents must orally confess their sins to them because the apostles are not mind readers. The text makes this very clear.
Matt. 9:8 - this verse shows that God has given the authority to forgive sins to "men." Hence, those Protestants who acknowledge that the apostles had the authority to forgive sins (which this verse demonstrates) must prove that this gift ended with the apostles. Otherwise, the apostles' successors still possess this gift. Where in Scripture is the gift of authority to forgive sins taken away from the apostles or their successors?

We do reconciliation first so we can cleanse ourselves of our sins so we do not eat the body and blood unworthiliy as in 1 Corinthians 26.  The 3rd sacrament is Eucharist.   The last part of full membership in the church is Confirmation, in which 10th graders can decide for themselves to be or not become full members of the Catholic church, they are blessed with holy oil and ask the holy spirit to come upon them as it did in Pentacost.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cincinnati Part 2

 On our way into Cincinnati, we stopped at a Big Boy.  Then went to my grandparents and then off to see my dad's side of the family.  We met with my cousin, Laura, and her kids.  

 My cousin Mike and his wife stopped by as well.
 The next day, we went to Columbus to meet our friends that moved to Canton in the fall.  We miss them soooooo much!  We went to lunch and then the Cosi museum.  The weather was nasty but we still had a good time.

 Back in Cincinnati, we went to my grandparents YMCA, met with my mom's side of the family at my Aunt Mary and Uncle Charlie's house, and went to see my dad's mom, my Grandma Heithaus who is 88 and at an assisted living facility in Cincinnati.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cincinnati Part 1

 We just came back from our trip to Cincinnati, OH to visit family.  We went to the Children's Museum there.  It was great!  They had a whole town for the kids to pretend and much more!

 My grandparents are in their 80's and still wanted us to stay with them while we were there.  They wouldn't let us help with dishes or dinner and kept telling us to relax.  My grandpa still works out 3 times a week.  They are amazing!
 On the way home we went to the Mayfield Plant in Tennessee.  The kids liked the tour but liked the ice cream more.