Walton asked:

My friend says that when Jesus speaks of eating his body to have life it’s just a metaphor like when he says he’s a vine and he’s a door. Is there someting I can tell him to move our conversation along?

Jimmy Akin replied:

"One of the things you might want to point out to him is certainly Jesus used metaphorical language on some occassions. But he also used literal language on some occassions ...

We have to face a choice when we look at his language about the eucharist. Is he talking about a miracle or is he using a metaphor? ... It’s very easy for us today from a very rationalistic scientific age to want to diminsh miracles and see things more as symbols rather than as miracles ...

There’s also a difference if you look at the structure of John 6. He initially proposes you need to eat the bread of life ... and then as people have a problem with this he keeps ratcheting up the stakes and you can even track that in the Greek. He uses progressively more intense words for what you need to do like gnaw on his flesh and so forth ...

On other occassions when Jesus talked to the disciples and used metaphors like beware the leaven of the Pharisees. When they didn’t understand and took him literally he clarified and made it obvious he was talking about the doctrine or the hypocritical behavior of the Pharisees not literal leaven or literal bread of the Pharisees. But in this case he doesn’t do that. He does the opposite. He basically lays down the law and says, if you’re not willing to accept this you can go away too. If it had just been a metaphor he would have clarified it for them as he did on other occassions. Here he doesn’t. He draws a line and is willing to let them go if they aren’t willing to accept this ... That kind of argues that this is not a metaphor.”

Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2013)

Editor's note: This is an excerpt of the answer provided. For the complete response download the podcast.

Click icon for archived podcast answering this question in its entirety.

Show air date: August 1, 2013

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Jimmy Akin

Question appeared in show: 17:13

Social: Share:

This site is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception.

"...and upon this rock I will build My Church..." Matthew 16:18