Friends, this Sunday's feast of Corpus Christi celebrates and treasures the gift of Christ's real presence in the Eucharist. The doctrine of the Real Presence asserts that in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus is present, body, blood, soul and divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine. Many of the reformed Churches dispute this. So what did the early Christians say about the matter? Is the Eucharist just a symbol of Christ or is it more. Here is a famous text from St Justin Martyr, written about (151AD).
“And this food is called among us Eucharistia [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined.
For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.” – St Justin Martyr (First Apology, 66)