During the Eucharist ceremony where the Priest says some words and then transubstantiation takes place, what is the significance of this event?

I realize this is derived somehow from the last supper verse, but what does it mean?

Transubstantiation means the wine and bread literally become the blood and flesh of Jesus.

What does it mean to drink the blood and eat the flesh of Jesus?

  • @JamesT I'm not asking what it is, but what does it mean to drink the blood and flesh of your God? What is the point of it, and why would you want to do that? Hope that clarifies. Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 18:36
  • This is not a duplicate and the answers in the linked question certainly do not come close. The question here is "Why is the transubstantiation significant?" A valid question that I'm sure has a perfect Catholic answer.
    – user3961
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 22:45
  • See christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/35715/… & christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/15895/… for a good explanation of the Catholic use of the philosophical term transubstantiation and it;'s significance and meaning in Catholic thought.
    – Dcn. Andy
    Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 18:31

2 Answers 2


Good question! The Transubstantiation is the spiritual AND physical process where the Eucharist changes into Jesus's real Body and real Blood at the hands of the Priest.


Jesus states at the last supper that "... this IS My Body..." As Catholics, we believe that He is telling us to have faith enough to believe His words. At the first supper and at every Mass held after, the Holy Eucharist has ALL the properties of Jesus's Body, yet has the outward appearance of Bread. By appearances, I mean every physical human observation that it can undergo. Whether that means touch, taste, smell, sight... it will still appear as bread. But, even with these outward properties, the Eucharist IS Jesus's Body. The same goes for the wine. We must have faith that He tells us what is true.

By taking Jesus's Body and Blood into your own being, you take in renewed strength against temptation. It brings closer the fact that Jesus made a sacrifice on the cross so that YOU may strive away from temptation. YOU must accept His sacrifice (the sacrifice of His Body and Blood) by taking Him unto yourself.

Three reasons why Our Lord Jesus Christ gives us His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist are:

    So that his Church on earth may receive Him through the sacrifice of the Mass.
    So that all of His people may remember the cross that he bore for them.
    So that all may remember the love that he has for us, and worship Him accordingly.

Personal Research

Click here for a thoroughly informative article on Transubstantiation by Frank J. Sheed

Click here for the Vatican's own explanation of Transubstantiation

You might also check out the Catholicism TV series which gives many stunning explanations on Catholicism in general (IT'S REALLY GOOD)

More on why we partake in His Body and Blood

I hope this has answered any questions you have had. Feel free to leave a comment below if not!

God Bless!


As I've shared recently in my answer to a different question with similar content, in the Protestant tradition, not the Roman Catholic, Jesus debunked the word "literally" vis a vis His words regarding the eating of His flesh and the drinking of His blood (see John 6:26-58) in John 6:63, where we read,

"'It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.'"

Instead of saying

". . . the words that I have spoken to you are literal and life,"

Jesus said,

". . . the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life" (my emphasis).

Parenthetically, Christians should be cautious when "spiritualizing" what is meant to be literal, and "literalizing" what is meant to be spiritual. (Hey, I like that sentence; it has a certain ring to it!) That is, in essence, what Jesus was saying to His grumbling disciples who took offense at Jesus' "difficult statement" (v.60).

"Guys, don't be so literal. I'm speaking spiritually. I can understand why my opponents are offended by my words, but I expected more from you!"

In other words, Jesus' hyperbole, if you will, in speaking of His flesh and blood was designed, purposely, to offend His critics, to get them to see how spiritually blind and deaf they were. Jesus used this "tactic," if you will, quite frequently. See, for example, Matthew 13:13 NIV,

"'This is why I speak to them in parables: 'Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand'".

Also, Matthew 13:14 NIV,

"'In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.'"

Also Mark 4:12 NIV,

"so that, 'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'"

Also Luke 8:10 NIV,

"He said, 'The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,' 'though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.'"

While I respect many of Roman Catholicism's traditions and teachings, their teaching on transubstantiation, in my perspective and in the perspective of most if not all Protestant denominations, is that Jesus' body and blood, which are represented symbolically in the fruit of the vine and in bread, are just that: symbols of His earthly body and blood which He offered up at Calvary for the forgiveness of sins.

Furthermore, we can no more partake of the life of our Savior and His life-giving words by "taking communion" than we can by simply mouthing the words, "I believe Jesus is the Savior of the world." In order for us truly to benefit from Jesus' life-giving words, we must receive them into our hearts in childlike faith, and not simply give mental assent to them just because they have been taught to us, or because other people are pressuring us to say them.

In conclusion, Jesus' "difficult saying" caused some of His disciples to separate themselves from Jesus. Perhaps they were "easy believers" who were more impressed with Jesus' miraculous provision of bread (see John 6:1-14, and 6:26 and 27) than they were with the heart of His message, which was to believe in Him, even when their belief was challenged.

  • 1
    The question is seeking a Catholic answer (it's implicit in the wording of the question as well as explicitly named in the tag).
    – Ryan Frame
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 19:47
  • @RyanFrame: How right you are. "My bad," as the young people say nowadays. Don Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 23:45

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