Yesterday, was the feast of Saint Justin Martyr. He was born in AD 100 and his great work is, “The First Apology”. As the story goes the Roman emperor put out a call for someone who could explain to him who these Christians were. Justin took up the task, and as you can see from his name, ultimately paid with his life. The work is particularly important b/c if is the first known written attempt of a Christian to explicate what they believed. Here is his Wikipedia page: Justin Martyr
The full document is available online but I wanted to highlight this paragraph towards the end:
Chapter 66. Of the Eucharist
And this food is called among us Εὐχαριστία [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. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, This do in remembrance of Me, Luke 22:19 this is My body; and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, This is My blood; and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn.
So here you have another person teaching early in the first century about the Eucharist. This was the common belief of the first Christians.
Now, I wonder now if you will do something for me? Will you say a prayer for me?
Will you pray, “WHAT IF?”
What if this is really the truth? What if the bread and wine really becomes the body and blood of the Lord? What if the first Christians really did believe this? What if this was really taught by the Apostles? What if when Jesus said, “Amen, amen, I say to you unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you do not have life within you”, He was being literal.
What if it’s true?