At Mass, Catholics receive the Body and Blood of Jesus under the appearance of bread and wine, following the command of Jesus at the Last Supper, when He told His disciples, Do this is memory of Me.
The Catholic teaching on the Eucharist also draws from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, in what is knows as the Bread of Life Discourse. In it, Jesus says, Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. (John 6:53-54)
Recently a listener called in to The Patrick Madrid Show to ask about this verse. Because Jesus specifically says ‘eats my flesh and drinks my blood’ the listener asked if we should receive both the Host and the Precious Blood if they are both offered at Mass. And if we don’t, are we disregarding the words of Jesus? Patrick responded:
“I would say that the host, what we call the bread, and the chalice of the Precious Blood, each in themselves contain the totality of Jesus Christ. The glorified, resurrected Jesus Christ, body, blood, soul, and divinity. That’s the formula that we Catholics often use. So the host contains all of Jesus.
Now for our purposes as human beings, the symbolism is brought into clearer view. In other words, the emphasis on the Body and the Blood of Jesus becomes more accessible to us as human beings. But it’s only apparently more heightened that way. If you receive just the Precious Blood only, and you never receive the Host, you would receive all of Jesus, body, blood, soul and divinity. Likewise if you only received the Host and never from the chalice, you would receive all of Jesus, body, blood, soul, and divinity.
Ontologically, the reality of Christ in His totality is present under both species or under both forms. It’s purely the symbolism, which is important and I don’t mean to diminish it, but the symbolism is heightened. But it doesn’t change, to any degree whatsoever, that the totality of Christ is present under both species.”
Listen to the full conversation below: