OrthodoxSermons.org

"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17

Deal or No Deal? - Part 4

  • Video
  • Audio
  • Files

Uploaded By


on July 9, 2009

Listen Online

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

Description

"Is the Eucharist the REAL Body and Blood of Christ?"

Deal or No Deal? - Part 4 Transcription

+

Deal or no Deal

Part 4

Is the Eucharist the REAL Body and Blood of Christ?

 

<Today's Light and Life talk is given by Abouna Bishoy>

Today I'm going to give the word instead of Abouna Anthony because he is performing somewhere else, I mean praying somewhere else. He's in England actually in a youth conference, with all the youth of Europe in London. So we pray for him to have a good trip and successful conference and come back safely. Ok, so let's start.

Let's just bow our heads and start with a prayer.

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God Amen.

Our Heavenly Father, we thank You Lord for this day, the Lord's day. Thank You for abiding in us. We thank You for Your Body and Blood. We thank You for Your interest in us to be Your children and to have unity with You, that You may come and bless our lives, fill it blessings, and fill it with mysteries and amazing things that sometimes we can not even think of. We thank You and praise You for that. We thank You for Your closeness to us Lord during this day. We thank You for all Your provision, and mostly for Your Holy Spirit Lord, that is in us, and guiding us, and makes us special, and leading us to the eternal life. Pray Lord that Your Holy Spirit speak to us, and be the one Who is edifying the Church, and edifying Your children. May He bless everyone who is in here, and open the hearing of our hearts, that we may hear Your Word Lord, and be blessed, and be transformed by Your Words. Through the prayers and intercessions of our holy Mother Saint Mary, Saint Mark, in Jesus name we pray, Amen.

As I said, I'm happy to be with you. I consider this a treat for myself to be with you. I haven't been here for the longest time. It's a nice change and because as I said, Abouna Anthony is traveling so I took this chance to be here with you.

I know in this series Deal or no Deal we're discussing the Orthodox Church and the practices in the Orthodox Church. Is this something genuine? Is this what Jesus established on earth? Is this the way Jesus wants us to, to worship and to be? And you know I see it, is it,is it a big deal if we do the things we do it or we don't do it? Would it really matter, would it really change things. And today we are going to discuss the most important thing in the Orthodox Church, and the core of worship in the Orthodox Church, which is Eucharist.

Eucharist is the sacrament, one of the sacraments of the Church, you know that there is seven sacraments of the Church. It's like baptism, conformation, confession, one of the sacraments, marriage and priesthood, one of them is Eucharist. Celebrating Eucharist. And actually the Church built all It's life and It's worship around Eucharist.

What's the main worship in the Orthodox Church? The liturgy. What is the purpose of liturgy? That we celebrate Eucharist. There is no other purpose. The purpose of the liturgy is not to gather together and pray together. This is all sub, sub-purposes. But the main goal of the liturgy in the Orthodox Church, which is the core of worship in the Orthodox Church is the liturgy, and the liturgy is made for Eucharist.

That's why when we take communion in the Church after the liturgy, in the end of the liturgy, we are dismissed, there is nothing to do. We're done. We accomplished the goal we want. It's the main ecclesiastic worship, as I said, in the Orthodox Church, the divine liturgy and celebrating the Eucharist.

And the main question we want to ask today, because if the Eucharist we are celebrating is not the real Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, then there is nothing right about the Orthodox Church. Is this really what the Lord meant? Is this really what the early Church celebrated? What happened right after the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ? Did they celebrate Eucharist or they didn't? It's a very important question because in other churches, some churches, first of all it's not called Eucharist and it's just a commemoration. And it's celebrated maybe once a month and even less than that.

And the main difference between Eucharist in the Orthodox Church and celebrating communion in any other church, is a lot of churches don't believe that what they partake is, what they offer is not the real Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. And this is what we want to see and prove today. Is it really what we take communion, what we partake of, is it the real Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ or not. And it's a very tough question.

First, very easy, because you can find it very easily in the scripture, but there is a lot of questions and things like this. So we want to go through this. There is a lot of scripture I put here. I discovered I usually don't put all of this. It's a lot, but the reason why I put it, because you will need it, and this is a proof for you.

The talk that I'm going to give you now... I spoke to so many people and I told them what I'm going to tell you. And it was the main transformation of so many people to the Orthodox Church right away.

One time, one of the great servants here in the Church, very well known, I don't want to mention the name, wasn't Orthodox, came and said, “If you prove to me that what you do is right, and this is the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, I will become Orthodox today.” And I told him what I'm going to tell you, and that was it. We never spoke about it again. And this person said, “That's real, that's very true.

So, what is the meaning first of Eucharist.? First of all before we say the meaning of Eucharist, first of all we want to say that the Lord ordered us to do that. We never established that. We never said this is how we want to celebrate worship. But the Lord Jesus Christ said, in the Last Supper, the day before His crucifixion, “And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.'” <Luke 22:29>

“Do this,” This is the key word here. “Do this in remembrance of Me.” That's why we did it exactly the same. And because the Lord gave thanks, we called it giving thanks, which is Eucharist. Eucharist is a Greek word meaning giving thanks. Why do we call it giving thanks? Because as you see here, the Lord said, He “gave thanks.” There is a lot of depth behind the word giving thanks. Actually the word Eucharist in the Greek language doesn't mean only giving thanks, but it means, it's a sacramental prayer. You know the word, like when you say now, “Say a grace,” when someone says, “Say a grace,” does he say, “grace,” or he prays a prayer? So when we say, “Say a grace,” we mean say a prayer before we eat, or before we start something. So that is the meaning of the word Eucharist, is say a prayer of giving thanks in a sacramental way. Not just the word giving thanks, thank you, no. It's deeper than this, that's why we call it Eucharist. So basically we didn't invent that. The Lord said that in the last day, in the last hour before the crucifixion, this is important, “Do this in remembrance of me.”

When you think about it, if we don't celebrate and partake of the Lord's Body altogether, what is the meaning of the Church? Don't we say that the Church is Christ's Body, the Body of Christ. Imagine if the Eucharist did not exist. What is the meaning of the Body of Christ? Versus when you have the Eucharist and everyone partakes of that Body and the Blood Christ, because we are all one unit because we partake of the same Body and Blood of the Lord, and that actually makes us One with the Lord. That's a real and literal meaning of being the Body of Christ, because we partake of that Body of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I know that there is a lot of questions about this verse. Some people say, “Oh, this is just a remembrance of Me.” So we're going to ask this question in a little bit.

And some people say, “No, the Lord didn't want us to celebrate His real Body and Blood. He just wants us to get together and do something similar. So let's get bread or cracker, instead of the wine let's get grape juice and distribute that and say, 'Well, we are remembering that.'” Well, is that really what the Lord meant? That's the real question. We are going to ask this question in a little bit.

In order to answer this question. We want to answer it very carefully. As I said, if you answer this question correctly, that can credit the Orthodox Church 100%, or discredit the Orthodox Church 100%. So, we need a couple of confirmations. Actually I'm just going to give you three of them. Confirmation from the Lord Himself and from the apostles, did really that what He meant, did He really meant that, number one. Number two, did the apostles really understood it and practiced it the way that we practice it now, that's the second question. And the third, if it's something major and important like this, it must have a lot of mentionings in the New Testaments and Old Testaments, and where these things are, especially all the prophecies of the Old Testament. So these are the three things we are going to cover, to cover today.

So the first thing is the confirmation of the Lord Himself. Actually we are going to study something that the Lord said a long time before the Holy Thursday, when He established the Last Supper. Long time before that, He spoke actually about this sacrament, His Body and Blood, and that's in John 6. So if you have your outline, please open it, because we'll use it a lot. And actually I meant to leave the verse numbers. Can we have extra copies in case someone, anyone doesn't have the outline? It's very important to have the outline. So can we pass it please?

And as I said, I put the verse number because we are going to refer to that very much. I'll try to do that quickly because there is a lot to cover. This happened when the Lord blessed the five loaves and two fish and He made it feed thousands of thousands, and then Jesus said, “Do you like this miracle, feeding thousands with five loaves and two fish?” they said, “Absolutely, we would love to have this.” He said, “How about if I give you much, much, much, much more and better than this, spiritual food.” And then He spoke these words in John 6 starting verse 41:

41 “The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread of life which came down from heaven.” Jesus said, “I am the Bread who came down from Heaven. You like the five loaves and the two fish, you like the loaves and fish? I'm giving you myself as a bread to eat.” And this man is crazy. Okay, and I'll show you because basically He said to “Eat Me.” So they complained about that.

And then, 43 “Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread <which I offer> This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” Jesus basically said, “I am the Bread of Life, and I'll give you that Bread which is My flesh. And unless you eat that, you have no life.”

The people who don't believe in the Eucharist, their main answer to this question, “Oh, that's just a symbolic word.” Because Jesus a lot of times said, “I am the Way, I am the Truth, I am the Life.” Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd. I am the Gate, if anyone enters through me he finds pasture.” So, is the Lord here using an allegory or He really mean what He says? That's the real question. Because this is the Bible that we all read. Some people understand this that Jesus really means His flesh, His Body and Blood and some people say, “Oh no, its a symbolic. It means you have to feed yourself on the Lord and on Himself, and on His Word and things like this, and you really have to believe in Him, and He has to be like food for you, and you can't live any day without the Lord. That's what He meant. He didn't really His flesh, that you eat His flesh.”

So what's the answer to this question? Let's read, go on, and we will see the answer to this. In verse 52, “The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” What did they understand? They understood that He really is going to give them His flesh. Like someones going to get His arm and bite on it. So of course they couldn't understand this, it's very strange.

53 “Then Jesus said to them,” He is trying to calm them down. “Calm down, that's not what I mean guys. You're not going to eat My flesh.” But see what He answered, <verse 53 continues> “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood,” He even added blood for that, Oh my goodness, “you have no life in you.” If you were the Jews, what would you do? This man is crazy, bye. Nothing more than this.

54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh,” see, this is the worst part of it, if we don't believe. 55 “For my flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.” You know what this means? They are edible. Like when you eat them, they are edible. Food indeed and drink indeed, it's not an allegory, anyways. 56 “He who eats My flesh,” again, “and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”

This is absolutely unheard of and I would like to understand this, “We have to know You, we have to love You, but to eat Your Flesh, and even drink Your Blood, it's tough.”

It continues, it even becomes worse. 60 “Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying;” <verse 60 stops>.

“Oh, no, we can take a lot from you, but this one, this is a tough one.”

<verse 60 continues> “who can understand it?” 66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

Let's answer the question here. It's either the Lord speaks literally or He speaks allegorically. Or He means something else. As He said, you know, “I am the Gate of the sheep, I am the Door,” you know? So is it one of them that He means something else or He really literally means His Flesh and His blood.

We'll answer this actually through a couple of things. Number one, in verse 53, go to verse 53. Jesus said, “Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” Then Jesus made a condition for eternal life. Exactly like baptism. Can the Lord make a condition for eternal life based on an allegory, and something you would understand or might not understand? Absolutely not. Jesus said a lot of parables, but He would not put any of the parables as a condition for eternal life. He has to be very clear when He puts a condition for eternal life. That's what He said to Nicodemus, “Unless you are born again from water and Spirit, you cannot enter the Kingdom of life.”

So he cannot make a condition on eternal life based on something allegory, or something that's not clear, or something that people won't understand.

Next. When Jesus spoke about this, did the Jews understood Him well or they didn't? They understood Him well. They said, “Yeah, He wants us to eat His Flesh and His blood,” that's why they said it's a hard saying. Even the disciples, you see, in verse, let's go to verse 60, “Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it? 66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.”

If Jesus didn't mean what He said, Jesus who ran after one soul to gain, wouldn't he go to people and tell them “Wait, that's not what I meant. What I meant is just to, to love Me and to live with Me and things like this. Not to really eat My Flesh and Drink My Blood. That's not what I meant if someone can drink blood.” But He meant what He said, and He kept saying, “Most assuredly I say to You, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man,” He never explained that. Unless you eat this, unless you eat this, unless you eat this, no explanation. The disciples went away, He said, “I can not explain it anymore, it's a mystery.

I am really giving you My Flesh and Blood. You want to go away, go away.” He even said that to the twelve. He said, you know what He said to the twelve in the end? Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” He was really serious. He wasn't joking around. He wasn't saying any parables. He was literally meaning what He meant. Jesus loved to save one soul, would He leave people offended and disciples leave, and even the twelve leave because they misunderstood Him? Because He meant something completely different? Absolutely not. He meant His real Flesh and Blood. And that's why He said in verse 53, sorry, In verse 55, 55, is a very important verse, He said, “For My Flesh,” He could say, He said, “You must eat My Flesh,” here He should have said if He really meant something else “For My Flesh is obeying My commandments. And My blood is prayer.” Right? If He wants to explain, “You have to eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood,” well explain it a little bit more. Did you mean that we love You, we, we read Your Word things like this. He said, “No, that's not what I meant.”

“For My Flesh is food indeed and My blood is drink indeed.” What does that mean? “It's something edible. It's not the real Flesh that you see, but it's something edible, but is the real Flesh. I'm giving you My real Flesh but in something edible, that's what it means by food indeed and drink indeed. Something edible, something that you can eat, something that you can drink. And I have no more explanation, that's what I meant. You don't want to understand, you don't want to believe, leave. I have nothing more to say. I am going to give you My Flesh and Blood, period, no more explanation.”

Even in some parables He wouldn't explain to the people but He would get His disciples on the side and say, “Oh this is what I meant to say.” He never explained any further. “Either you take it or you leave it. No more explanation.”

And most importantly that Jesus when He established this sacrament, He established it the night before the crucifixion. After He finished what He did, He was taken and He was prosecuted from there after. Someone, minutes before he dies, would he keep saying parables and allegories, and something in the la la land that no one would understand, or say the most important stuff that you have to understand before I die. Now I'm dying, I'm going to go in five minutes, let me finish what I have to finish. Let me give you the most important stuff that you have to take. And that's what He did, in the night of His crucifixion, hours before He was delivered to the Jews.

So that's the testimony of the Lord Himself. How about the testimony of the disciples. Did they really understood what He meant or they misunderstood? Did they practice this way, that this is the Flesh, the real Flesh and Blood of the Lord or something else? So let's look at the Bible. And before we actually go and take this, the early Church and the Church of the apostles, I want to give you a quick review of Saint Paul.

Saint Paul never seen Christ in the Flesh. But when he believed, he believed after the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. But Jesus appeared to him when he took a long retreat in Arabia, that's in the Bible that's what He said, and Jesus gave him everything. No one taught Saint Paul anything. He was taught by the Lord everything. No apostle taught him anything, Jesus Himself taught Him everything. So that's why he is going to start with this word.

“For I received,” let's go to the second part in our handout, Saint Paul said that in 1 Corinthians chapter 11, he said, 23 “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you,” he is retrieving something. He said, “What I got from the Lord I deliver to you. I'm just reminding you what I deliver to you. That the Lord Jesus, on the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks,” the Eucharist, “and said, 'Take eat, this is My body which is broken for you, do this in remembrance of me.' In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.'” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For the reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves we would not be judged.”

basically Saint Paul is saying, “I'm reminding you, what I delivered to you, that the Lord did this in the last day, and He said, 'Do this in remembrance of Me.' So make sure before you eat it, that you examine yourself or else you will be unworthy and guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.”

Number one, did the Church celebrate this often? Yes. He is talking about something that they do very often. As a matter of fact, he said that in verse 26. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's, the Lord's death until He comes.” He repeat it as often twice. So we do this, He said basically, “When you do this, you bring remembrance of Me, but not a remembrance of, 'But oh, 2000 years ago the Lord died for us and how nice that is.'” No, that's not the remembrance.

The remembrance is the presence of the Lord Himself. And that enactment of the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. That's what we do. And we do it as often as we can. If we love the Lord and we remember Him, I want to remember Him every day. That's why in the early Church and so many Orthodox Churches until now, they celebrate Eucharist every single day. He said, “As often as you do it, you do it in remembrance of Me.” “Lord I want to remember You every day,” and that's what they do.

Number two, if they, what they did, maybe they did it as a remembrance of the Lord. Maybe they didn't consider it the body and blood of the Lord, they just considered it, “Yeah this is bread and wine. We celebrate this because we celebrate the Lord's death.”

What He said here, “If anyone take in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the Lord.” Have you ever heard anything? Let's assume, that when you do this, you remember the Lord. Have you ever heard that someone would be a guilty of eating cracker in remembrance of the Lord? Because he is unworthy? Because he's a sinner? Okay, I'm a sinner and I'm bad, and I read the Bible, would that make me guilty because I read the Word of God? Absolutely not. You even give the Bible to the sinners in order to repent. But this is not for the sinners. This is only for the believers who want to partake of the Lord's body.

That's why you have to examine yourself before you go, or else you will be guilty, not discerning the Lord's, I want you to repeat this. “For he who eats,” in verse 29. “For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the, not discerning the Lord's body.” Can you say it again, “Not discerning the, so that's the Lord's body.” So that's not a cracker what they celebrate it. Saint Paul never seen Christ, but this is what he received from the Lord. You do it, you be worthy or else you're unworthy of the Lord's body and blood.

Not only that. Do you see what he said in the end? Do you understand this? He said, “For this reason,” the last verse number 30, “For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.” You know what that means? Weak, sick, sleep? It means some people are sick and some people actually died. Sleep means died. Why? Because they took it unworthily. Oh that's serious stuff. That's not joking anymore.

“For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.” that's the only place in the entire New Testament where you see there is judgment for the Lord's people, for the believers. He's talking to believers. If you don't take it unworthily you are guilty and you are judged. We don't do even do that in the Bible. We don't tell people, “If you're sinner and you're not worthy you shouldn't read the Word of God or else you will be sick and even die.” We don't say that, we tell the sinners, “Yeah, go read, take this because it's going to give you life.” This is not for sinners this is for the believers to abide in Christ. That's why He gave it to the twelve only and not to the multitude. That's a different thing.

That means that this is how the Church understood it and practice it. That's about year 50 A.D. and right after the Lord's ascension. And another time actually in the Bible, in 1 Corinthians 10 verse 16 you have it next in your outline, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.” Very clear. Celebrated that very often and understood this as the body and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. And later on, of course, in the book of Acts, so many times it was said, “And they continued, continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread,” that's another name for the Eucharist, breaking of bread, “and in prayers...So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house,” because they didn't have a Church, “they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart.”

So they practiced that daily, as a way of worship. And just to tell you that they used to do that on Sunday, “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread,” so as usual, they get together on Sunday to do what? What are they getting to pray? Yeah, of course to pray, but the main purpose before prayer, to do what? To break bread. Then, “Paul ready to depart the next day.”

A document that you would need to read, it's very important, you can find it for free on the internet. This document ages 80 – 100 A.D. Some people even say it's earlier like 50 – 100 A.D. It was written in this, in this period. So this is actually before the Gospel of Saint John. It's not part of the Bible but it's part of the literature of early Christianity. It's called Didichae.

Didichae, and that means the teaching of the apostles. In chapter 9 and chapter 10, a chapter is just one phrase or something, talks about communion and how they used to do it in the early Church. I didn't print that, it's actually it's a couple of pages but I said I already put a lot of stuff for you. So you can go, check this out, just type Didichae and you will find it in Greek, it was written originally in Greek, but there is so many translations. Some translation is written with some explanations because some translation itself is hard to read.

<google web results for the Didichae http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&hs=y2b&ei=gF6FSuvhBoLLjAfX3I2jCw&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=didache+online&spell=1>

I encourage you to read the Didichae, it speaks about every thing how the early Church in the first century used to perform and you will find it as close as you can see it to the Orthodox Church right now.

More than that, definitely the writings of the fathers, especially Saint John Chrysostom when he spoke about priesthood, he spoke so many jewels. I know that Abouna Anthony spoke maybe last time was it? About priesthood. Was it last time? I don't know if he mentioned Saint John Chrysostom and his book on priesthood, but this is a textbook from the 5th century about priesthood and of course mentioning the Eucharist and communion and all this, meaning that it was practiced in the first, not only the Didichae is like the first century. The first 100 years after Christ. And then Saint John Chrysostom covers maybe the first 5 centuries after that.

So what we're doing is, we're doing what the Lord wanted us to do, and what the Church was doing in the early Church.

I think what we did is enough, but I put also for documentation, some things in the Old Testament. If something very important, like the crucifixion, because the crucifixion is so important, you will see so many prophecies in the Old Testament talks about crucifixion and the cross. So if the Eucharist is something that important in the worship of the Church, of the New Testament, then it must have been mentioned and prophesied in the Old Testament. And if we don't celebrate Eucharist, and if we don't believe in Eucharist, what these thing will mean, it will mean absolutely nothing.

So let me give you some things from the Old Testament. One of them is the offering of Melchizedek. Melchizedek is, is unknown character in the Old Testament. Appeared all of a sudden during the time of Abraham. During the time of Abraham, Abraham was the best. He was the super. He was the closest to God. He was the friend of God. But apparently someone in the middle of the life of Abraham appeared in just two verses in the Bible, and was a mystery until now, especially to the Jews.

If you want to go in a dialogue or argument with a Jew, ask him this question, “Who is Melchizedek?” That's what it says in Genesis 14:18, “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.” That's way before Moses and before Aaron and before the priesthood. This is the first time the word priest come. He was the priest of God Most High. Priest where? The whole world didn't have anyone but Abraham and God loved Abraham, so He is an alien. Let's put it this way. We don't know who that is. No scholar can tell, except it's an appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ to Abraham and celebrating the sacrifice of Eucharist. There is no other meaning for such a thing.

Did we invent that? No. Saint Paul commented on that later on, and he said, “For this,” that's in the New Testament, 1 “For this, Melchizedek...translated 'king of righteousness,'” the word Melchizedek is king of righteousness. Who is Righteous and who is the Son of Righteousness? The Lord, Jesus Christ Himself. “And then also king of Salem,” or Shalem, or Schalom meaning 'king of peace.' Do you know Shalom, Salome Salam, Salem, king of peace? Who is the king of peace? Is there anyone else king of peace other than the Lord Jesus Christ?

3 “Without father, without mother,” who is without father and without mother? “Without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.” <Hebrews 7:1-3> Because Jesus Christ is the priest forever, and we say He is a priest from the order of Melchizedek. Actually that came in the psalms. David said, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”

We can go on and on and on and explain that, but there is no time just mentioning stuff, to say that these, they were prophecies in the Old Testament for the Eucharist, the bread and wine, which transformed to the Body and the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Second, is the manna in the wilderness. Actually Jesus mentioned that when He spoke about His body and bread. He said, “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and they died.” You remember what the manna is? Manna is food, came from Heaven, for the Jews in the wilderness. They stayed in the wilderness for forty, four zero, forty years. Nothing to eat, nothing to drink. In the morning they go out and find a lot of these manna. It's...trying to see something close to see what is the manna is.

What is something crispy, and...you know the Honey Nut Cheerios? I don't think you now that? That's for kids. If you have kids you know what that is. You know Cheerios for the kids, the cereal for the kids, there is another brand of this, when they grow older and they hate Cheerios because it doesn't have sugar, they give them something called Honey Nut Cheerios. And it's basically because it has honey in it. That's exactly how the manna looked like. Not looked like, maybe looked different, but that's how it tasted. It's like some kind of crispy stuff with, honey. You have to go and buy some Honey Nut Cheerios. It's actually good for cereal.

But when you give it to the kids they become hyper because it has sugar in it. But if you want to calm them down, and there's nothing to calm them down and they don't want to eat their food, give them Honey Nut Cheerios and they will love it. So that's the manna.

So, the manna came every single day for them to live in the wilderness. After they crossed the Red Sea and they wandered in the desert. Saint Paul comments on this manna and he said, “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” So the meaning of “passing in the Red Sea,” was a baptism for them, because water was under them, on both sides, and the cloud was there. So it was a baptism, going under the water. It's like going in a tunnel. When you go in a tunnel, you know Baltimore tunnel, it's like you're baptized, because you're in the middle of the water. Something like this.

So they went, that was the baptism, “Into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock,” because God made a rock for them to drink, and “followed them, and that Rock was Christ,” and of course the manna was the food. But He called it a spiritual food because it came from Heaven. And it was a symbol of the Body and Blood Jesus Christ. And that's why the manna was given them in the wilderness after passing through the Red Sea, after the baptism. You can only eat it after the baptism. <verse mentioned is 1 Corinthians 10:1 - 4>

 

Baptism is the new life we receive from Christ. Baptism is the enlightenment, but manna is sustaining that on a daily basis. Sustaining that light, sustaining that new life in Christ. Sustaining that life of Christ in us.

So baptism is the new creation, the new birth, the spiritual birth. Eucharist is the food, is living that new life every single day that's in Christ.

Number three and most importantly of course is the Passover. The Passover is like killing the lamb and putting the blood on a door post. That meant of course sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Body and Blood . That's why Saint Paul says, “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” 1 Corinthians 5:7

If I go over the Passover, we will never finish, but if you read Exodus 12, it talks about the Passover, you will see as exactly we are celebrating the liturgy one more time. It's a big symbol from the Old Testament. Of course many others mentions in the Old Testament, don't want to go into this, but, “Wisdom,” represented the Lord Jesus Christ, “has built her house,” her house is the Church, Church of God. “She,” which is Wisdom or Christ, even though it mentions she because it talks about wisdom, “has hewn out its seven pillars.” Seven pillars? Seven? Very good, seven sacraments of this House. “She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine,” the meat and the wine. “She has set her table,” the altar, “she has sent out her maids,” and so on. “Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed,” <verse is from proverbs 9:1 – 5>. That's a prophecy about the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Another time in Psalms, we all know this psalm, Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” and there where he said, “You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies.” You prepare the table to strengthen me against my enemies. “You anoint my head with oil,” that's where we get in confirmation. “My cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” <verse is Psalm 23: 1 – 6>. That's another thing mentioning the cup that the Lord provides and the table that the Lord prepares for us.

Conclusion, it's an amazing thing to know that the same Body and Blood we partake is the real Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. And this is what He wants us to partake. You know how I see communion? It's like someone sick in the hospital and he needs badly blood transfusion. That's when we come after a long week, so many troubles, so many problems, and you want to have new life. But I don't want to have my life, I want to have the life of Christ, the strength of Christ, the wisdom of Christ, the spirit of Christ in me.

When I come, tell Him, “Lord there is nothing good in me, but I want You to be my righteousness, my goodness, my blessing, everything good that I have. And I can't do this on my own. You have to give me extra help from outside.” Don't you feel sometimes that you can't do it by yourself, you need an extra help an extra power from outside. What if even I can't do it on my own? Even my prayers are weak. Spiritual life is down. Then I go and I beg Him to accept me and to dwell in me and revive my life again. That's how I see it, it's abiding in Christ in a mysterious way. It's reliving this new life in Christ. It's the source of energy and power, as I said.

I can talk forever about this, but this is something not to talk about. If I keep talking to you about the manna, or the Honey Nut Cheerios, I'm not going to give you the feeling. But the best thing is to go, buy it, I don't work in this company, I have no commission by the way. But, you know, it's just, how come, I didn't even prepare that, it just came to me. So, the only way to know how this taste is to go and taste it yourself. So that's an experience.

I know for a fact, at the same time, there are a lot of us Orthodox, we go and do that, and repeat that feeling nothing, and gaining nothing out of it. So what happens? Do things change? Did God took His promise to be amongst us, and to be in us, and to empower us. No. But the reason is, it's how you take it and how you prepare for it and how you perceive it. The Lord could be in your own house, but if you decide to ignore Him, that's your decision. If you decide to take it lightly, that's your decision. It's how you take it basically. It's how, it's up to your faith. It's either you believe or not.

That's why when we give communion, that used to be in the early Church, and actually until very recently because of the number, we don't do that. The priest should say, “This is the real Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ,” and the person says, “I believe,” or, “Amen.” And then he gives him. If he doesn't say that, he doesn't give him because he doesn't believe. So, yes it's a word that we say, but what is the status of my heart? Am I really receiving Christ in my heart. And if this is really the thing, how do I prepare for that? How do I prepare for that from the last night?

I can never forget that, when my grandmother said, “You have to take a bath today,” I know that we are going tomorrow to Church and taking communion because that's how she used to prepare for that. Prepares for that from the last day. And she said, “You guys are spoiled, you only prepare one night. My mother used to get a bath three nights before, and get prepared herself emotionally, and mentally, and physically before she goes and partake of that.” I think this person who does that will be different than people who take it lightly. Come late, don't even hear anything in the Word of God, just go, stand in the line, and eat something and leave.

Preparation before and after. Reading, meditating, it's very important that Christ, before He gives us His Blood, physically He gives us His Word first in the readings and in the Gospel. Supposedly the Word of the Liturgy starts first, which has all the readings and the Gospel reading and the sermon. You hear that and tell God, “I am willing to hear Your Word and obey You.” And if only you say that, you go and partake. But if you don't read, take it to heart and make a resolution that you have to do something about it, and you have to perform what He told you to do, then you don't take It. You take Christ, the Word of God first. The Word of God, and then you take His Body and Blood later on. But you cannot do this without that.

That's why we keep saying, “If you come after the reading of the Gospel you shouldn't take communion.” Abouna is mean. That's not what it is. No. It's just, you have to take Chris the Word first and then you take His Body and Blood. And if you don't do this, you can't just take it. It won't have any meaning in it.

And some people think this is the work of the law. “Oh, it's like the Israelites in the Old Testament. They used to do a lot of things and sacrifice and things like this, and if they don't do this, they are damned. And this is what we do.” We don't do that. Actually partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ is 100% grace. We have no, anything to do with that, it's a blessing from God. Sometimes it's actually too good to be true. And that's the meaning of grace, He is giving me what I don't deserve.

Last thing that I have to say before I finish here, because I put the thing of unworthily manner, and you're judged, and condemnation to eat, and partake without being worthy, what is worthiness? How to know that you are worthy of taking that? When you think about it, nobody in the world is worthy to partake the Body and the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. But the worthiness is the conviction and believing of my unworthiness that is the worthiness. That's how you become worthy. You're worthy when you know 100%, 1000%, that you are not worthy of what you take. But it's 100% God's grace and love that we do not deserve.

The Eucharist is something in the liturgy that we grow in. Day after day we grow, we learn, we grow in the knowledge, we grow in the union and the communion of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. It is an experience that we grow in as I said before. And if you are new, as I know a lot of you are new to the Orthodox Church, please don't do as people do, but go and read and search. That's what Jesus said, “Listen to everything the Scribes and Pharisees tell you, but don't do like them. If you see something wrong, don't repeat it.” Because this is something really good, really deep, and if some people misunderstand it or abuse it, I shouldn't do the same, because what you will sow, you will reap in the end. If you are sowing reverence, you will get a lot of blessings in the end. When you get in depth and you see this is the ecstasy of the relationship of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the ultimate unity with Him.

Any questions?

Let's stand up and pray.

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One God Amen.

We thank You Lord for Your grace. For Your Body and Blood. For who You are Lord, for how You humble Yourself. Not only to the form of a servant but even Lord to give us Lord Your Flesh and Your Holy Blood which we do not deserve Lord. We thank You for Your grace. We thank You because You are interested to dwell in us Lord. To bless our lives. To make us very special Lord. To make us like You. To make us on Your image Lord. To make us one with You. We can not be united with You, we can not do this unity Lord, but You only can do it, through Your Holy Spirit Lord, and through Your sacraments Lord, that You give us Lord to be united with this unity. Give us the unity that Saint Anthony had with You and Saint Athanasius. And these people Lord who reached a great deal of unity with You. Give us to pray Lord the same way they used to pray and partake Lord of Your sacraments the same way and the same attitude they used to have. Lord You are so great, You are so awesome, You are so amazing Lord. Get us to get over ourselves Lord. Our weaknesses and even our sins Lord, we cannot get over our sins without You Lord, without You dwelling in us. Without You renewing our lives day after day. Without Your blood transfusion that You give us on a regular basis. We thank You Lord we praise You for that. And we ask that You give us to know Lord the meaning and get revelation in Your knowledge Lord through these sacraments. We ask for a special blessing for every and each one of Your children here. That everyone goes blessed and just in awe of Your love and Your greatness. Of Your grace which you bestowed upon us. Ask for a safe arrival Lord, of Abouna Anthony and for a blessing and revival Lord for our Church. Through the prayers and intercessions of our holy Mother Saint Mary, Saint Mark and all Your Saints, hear us Lord as we pray thankfully:

Our Father

Who art in Heaven

Hallowed be thy name

Thy kingdom come

Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from the evil one

Through Christ Jesus our Lord

For Thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the Glory forever Amen.

And now may the Love of God the Father, the grace of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.