Thursday May 26, 2016, here in Bavaria and in other German states, a holiday called fronleichnam will be celebrated. Fronleichnam is the German equivalent of what is called Corpus Christi Day in America. Corpus Christi Day is a Roman Catholic holiday honoring the Eucharist, the consecrated bread used in the Roman Catholic Mass.
TimeAndDate.com says this about Corpus Christi Day:
“Corpus Christi is a Christian observance that honors the Holy Eucharist. It is also known as the Feast of the Most Holy Body of Christ, as well as the Day of Wreaths.”
The “Holy Eucharist” is the round, flat, consecrated bread–the wafer–that Roman Catholics eat during the celebration of the Mass. Corpus Christi Day, therefore, is a Roman Catholic holiday or holy day which honors a piece of bread.
The Augsburger Allgemeine, a German newspaper, in the May 24, 2016 edition, has this to say about fronleichnam:
“Fronleichnam wird in der Kirche auch ‘Hochfest des Leibes und Blutes Christi’ genannt. Das Fest knüpft an Gründonnerstag an und setzt die Menschwerdung von Gottes Sohn fort. Der Name leitet sich aus dem mittelhochdeutschen vrône lîcham – „des Herren Leib” – ab.
“Das Fest selbst entstand, nachdem die Augustinernonne Juliana von Lüttich im Jahr 1209 eine Vision hatte. Christus offenbarte ihr eine Mondscheibe, auf der ein dunkler Fleck zu sehen war. Die Mondscheibe sollte das Kirchenjahr darstellen und der Fleck symbolisierte ein fehlendes Fest zu Ehren des Abendmahls.
“Das Bistum Lüttich führte daraufhin das Fest im Jahr 1246 ein. 1264 wurde es von Papst Urban IV zum allgemeinen kirchlichen Fest erklärt.”
“In the [Roman Catholic] Church, Corpus Christi Day is also called the ‘High Feast of the body and blood of Christ.’ The Festival falls on Maundy Thursday and celebrates the incarnation of God’s son. The name is derived from the middle high German vrône lîcham, which means ‘the Lord’s Body.’
“The festival itself was created after the Augustinian nun Juliana of Liège had a vision in 1209. Christ revealed to her a moon dial on which could be seen a dark spot. The moon dial represented the liturgical year and the spot symbolized a missing feast in honour of the Lord’s Supper.
“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Liège then introduced the feast in 1246. In 1264 it was declared a General Church feast by Pope Urban IV.”
Note that Corpus Christi Day is not based on the Bible, but was inspired by the alleged vision of a Roman Catholic nun. That means the early Christian Church did not celebrate Corpus Christi Day or anything like it. The Bible does not record the Lord Jesus commanding His Church to establish a holiday honoring the bread used in the Lord’s Supper. The reason for this, I believe, is simple: the bread is merely symbolic.
At the Lord’s Supper, the night before Jesus was crucified, Jesus broke the bread and gave it to His disciples, saying, “This is my body which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24). “This do” refers to the breaking, sharing, and eating of the bread, which is recorded in Mark 14:22,23:
“And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.
“And He took the cup, and when He has given thanks, He gave it to them: and they all drank of it.”
Jesus said “This do in remembrance of me.” This means that in the breaking and sharing of bread we are to remember Him. It is an imperative: that is, a commandment. And the early Christians, obeying this commandment, continued to remember Jesus through the breaking of bread every Sunday, the first day of the week:
“On the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread…” (Acts 20:7).
“And [the disciples of Jesus] continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).
“And [the disciples of Jesus], continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart (Acts 2:46).
It is through the breaking of bread (the Lord’s Supper) that true Christians are to honor the Lord Jesus’ sacrifice, not by celebrating a holiday in honor of that bread. Corpus Christi Day then, or fromleichnam, is unscriptural.
But, there is something else you should think about. More than being merely unscriptural, Corpus Christi Day is actually blasphemous. Jesus said that through breaking the bread we symbolize the giving of His body “which was broken for us.” The breaking of bread, then, symbolizes His crucifixion. If we do not break the bread, then, we effectively deny the death of Jesus. And by denying Jesus’ death, we also deny His resurrection; for in order to be resurrected, Jesus had to first die. Because the Eucharist is a perfectly round intact piece of bread, it actually denies the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
But there is still more. The Roman Catholic Church has not only established a holy day in honor of a piece of bread, but it actually worships that piece of bread as Jesus Christ Himself. The Roman Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence (also not biblical) declares that the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ are actually present (hence the term Real Presence) in the Eucharist:
“First of all, the holy council teaches and openly and plainly professes that after the consecration (blessing) of bread and wine, Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is truly, really and substantially contained in the august sacrament of the Holy Eucharist…”
“This has always been the belief of the Church of God, that immediately after the consecration the true body and the true blood of Our Lord, together with His soul and divinity exist under the form of bread and wine…” –Council of Trent, Thirteenth Session, October 11, 1551.
Many of you Christians who count Roman Catholics as your brothers and sisters in Christ may be asking yourselves why we should even care that Roman Catholics have set aside a day honoring a piece of bread and, in fact, worship that bread as Jesus Christ. Allow me to illuminate you by quoting from the Roman Catholic Council of Trent on which the Roman catechism is based and is the basis for much of the doctrine of the Roman Catholic church:
“If anyone denies that in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist are contained truly, really and substantially the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ, but says that He is in it only as in a sign or figure, let him be anathema” (Canon 1).
“If anyone says that in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist, Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is not to be adored with the worship of latria…let him be anathema” (Canon 6). (Latria is the highest form of worship and is only supposed to be given to God).
“Let him be anathema,” as many of you know, means “Let him be accursed.” When the Roman Catholic church curses someone, it is, in effect, a death sentence. And, because the Council of Trent was instituted primarily to condemn Martin Luther and all Protestants, then the “him” that is being cursed is the Bible-believing Christian–me, and, hopefully, you.
Roman Catholics profess to be Christians, and many say that the only difference between Catholics and Protestants is that they have “a different worship tradition.” DON’T YOU BELIEVE IT! If you were paying attention, then you know that the Roman Catholic church holds the Bible-believing Christian in very little esteem, to put it charitably, especially if you don’t agree with their doctrines concerning the Eucharist. Roman Catholics are very serious about the Eucharist and it is considered the most important of the seven sacraments (the sacraments are the “channels of grace” by which the Roman Catholic strives to merit the grace of God). They really believe that Jesus Christ is present in the communion wafer, and, in fact, call it Jesus.
The worship of the Eucharist is yet another form of idolatry practiced by the Roman Catholic church. Roman Catholics attempting to justify their worship of the Eucharist will say that they don’t actually worship it, but merely “adore” it. But, you must understand that adoration is a type of worship. And, as the previous quote from the Roman Catholic Council of Trent affirmed, the Roman Catholic must give the Eucharist the highest form of worship: that of latria. This makes the Eucharist an idol–a false god. The First Commandment is that we should worship God only, and, according to my Bible, that is Jesus Christ, who right now sits in Heaven at the right hand of God the Father. Jesus Christ, contrary to Roman Catholic doctrine, cannot be compelled to leave Heaven at the whim of some priest and enter into a piece of bread.
In “A God Whom His Fathers Knew Not,” we explain that Corpus Christi Day is a literal fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel found in Daniel 11:38. It is also an example of the idolatry that Paul speaks of in the first chapter of his epistle to the Romans:
“When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened.
“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
“And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image…
“…And worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:21-23,25).
On Corpus Christi Day, the Eucharist is paraded around some Roman Catholic towns and communities housed in what is called a monstrance. A monstrance looks like a sunburst and is supposed to represent the glory of God. The Eucharist, housed in a monstrance, is literally an “image of the uncorruptible God.”
Roman Catholics have been deceived into believing that they are worshipping Jesus Christ when they “adore” the Eucharist. They need to know that they are, in fact, committing idolatry.
Christians who consider Roman Catholicism to be just another Christian denomination are also deceived, and they should be offended by the spectacle of Eucharist adoration and the idea that Jesus Christ resides in a piece of bread.
Christians should also be aware that during the Dark Ages, millions of Christians were burned at the stake under the Roman Catholic Inquisition, because they denied that Jesus Christ was “really present” in the Eucharist. If you believe the Bible, then you must also believe that history will certainly repeat itself.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith.
Be encouraged and look up, for your redemption draweth nigh.
The Still Man
Note: The source for the quotations of the Council of Trent were taken from The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, translated and introduced by Reverend H.J. Schroeder, TAN Books, Charlotte, NC, ISBN: 978-0-89555-074-3.