Lin Weeks Wilder

Lin Weeks Wilder

atheism, Christianity, conversion, Disease, faith, fear, Gospel, Happiness, heaven/hell, New Testament, Prayer, sacraments, St Benedict

Trust The Science: Bread Becomes Flesh

Trust the science: bread becomes flseh
Eucharist, sacrament of communion background

Trust The Science: Bread Becomes Flesh

“Give me bread, a Catholic priest and his prayer and I’ll show you the flesh of a human heart.”

The audience of forensic scientists erupted into laughter, guffaws and mockery at the speaker’s bold claim.

The commotion quieted when Dr. Ricardo Castanon Gomez mentioned the names of two attendees. He read the forensic analysis from each of their lab stating the specimen was heart tissue.

Dr. Ricardo Constanon Gomez then turned to Dr. Frederick Zugibe and said, “You personally anaylyzed the specimen.”

Silence reigned in the room as he read Dr. Zugibe’s–a cardiologist as well as forensic pathologist– analysis.

“…this flesh is…from the left ventricle not far from a valvular area…This heart is inflamed and infliltrated with white blood cells not normally found in heart tissue…. The presence of the white blood cells tell me the heart’s been traumatically injured….not unlike someone who has been beaten severely over the region of the heart.

This heart is alive…I am looking at a snapshot of a living heart.”

What was the specimen?

A dirty, discarded communion host was found in Santa Maria’s Catholic Church in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1996. Following standard protocol, it was placed in water and then in the tabernacle. But it did not dissolve. It transformed. Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio–Pope Francis– initiated an investigation. Dr. Castanon Gomez, a local Argentinian scientist was an atheist when asked to study the strange blood-like substance. Dumbfounded by his finding, he sought confirmation from American experts. An Australian lawyer, Ron Tesorioro, writes and has produced a documentary about his experience with the Santa Maria investigation at Reason to Believe.

Now Catholic, Dr. Castanon Gomez speaks all over the world about trust the science: bread becomes flesh. For more detail on this and other eucharistic miracles, click eucharistic miracles-scientific proof, fr chris alar.

Photo courtesy Reason to Believe


The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“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.
For my Flesh is true food,
and my Blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
remains in me and I in him.

Jesus graphicaly describes eating and drinking his body and blood. Never, in the entire “Bread of Life discourse” (Chapter six in the Gospel of John) does he mitigate what sounds like cannabilism. To a first century Jew, his words would be especially offensive because the Mosaic Law forbade the drinking of animal blood.

In fact, the Greek word he uses, Bishop Barron explains, isn’t the word for eating a meal but the Greek word that descibes the way an animal would eat: gnawing.

Bishop Barron in Capernaum

The result?

Shaking their heads they leave him saying, “This saying is hard. Who can accept it?”

We can infer from the Gospel reading for Saturday of this week, that almost all Jesus’ disciples left. Prompting Jesus to look at the twelve and ask, “Are you going to leave too?”

Sometimes kids can understand what adults cannot.

Confirmation class introduced me to the concept of transubstantiation–we were Episcopalians and my eleven-year-old brain had no difficulty accepting that bread and wine could change its substance. In fact, transforming the communion bread and wine to his body and blood made perfect sense. How else could we made perfect as he is perfect?

And now that I reflect on the seemingly sudden conversion to Roman Catholicism, I realize there was nothing sudden about it.

That long ago Friday evening at Vespers at Saint Benedict’s Abbey in Still Water, Massachusetts, when I fell on my knees sobbing with joy and relief, and wondering why and how I could feel at home in such a foreign place, was because I knew the place. Back when my older sisters mockingly called me “Sister Lin.” Back when I knew the horror of sin. When I knew Jesus is the way and the truth and the life: home.

Small children can see and understand things far beyond the field of adults. Especially when they’re very ill. Looking back on my childhood years of both critical and chronic illness, I realize it was all gift. All of it. Although adults whisper around kids and use words they don’t know, I’m guessing that my parents belief that I’d die at four years old was transmitted to me. So each time I was rushed to the hospital, I knew I might die.

Knowing our lives are precarious is a very good thing, even at the tender age of four–it is necessary. Last Sunday, I wrote of the need for “momento more.”. And that all major traditions recommend a daily practice of remembering that we will die.

Our lives, Saint Paul tells us are on loan. Just so are our bodies and our souls.

.There are many great questions that all of us face in life: Who is God?  What is Heaven like? How do I pray?  It is necessary that we seek answers to these questions from wise and holy people, from good books, and even from our own soul-searching. However, all these resources, as good and necessary as they are, have their limits. What all of them can do is point us towards the truth…Ultimately, we must leave the comfort and even the consolation of books, retreats, and spiritual conversations, and follow Christ wherever and however he is leading us.

Following Jesus to Eternity
Post Tags :
bishop barron, bread of life, death, forensic study of communion host, transubstantiation

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Lin Wilder

Lin Wilder has a doctorate in Public Health from the UT Houston with a background in cardiopulmonary physiology, medical ethics, and hospital administration. 

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