Could you shed some light on the Roman Catholic interpretation of the communion? A Catholic friend of mine believes strongly that they eat and drink the actual flesh and blood of Jesus.

Today I visited the Catholic shrine of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe in Mexico City. The "mass" is frequently offered, wihch entails transubstantiation and the literal sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ. The "sacrifice" is offered by "priests." Yet the New Testament says that Jesus cannot be sacrificed again; his death was "once for all" (Hebrews 9:12, 9:26, 10:10). Moreover, in the New Testament there are no special priests. The rise of the priesthood through the generations following the first century is well documented.

Simply put, Catholics believe communion, or the Eucharist, is a re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ, whereas the Protestant position is that it is only a representation. When Jesus said during the Last Supper, "This is my body," it is hard to believe that he meant he had two bodies--the one doing the talking as well as the bread they were about to eat. To claim that the bread is mystically transformed inwardly, though not outwardly, into the body of Christ requires a major leap of faith! In the same way, in 1 Corinthians 11:25, the cup is certainly not the new covenant in his blood; it only represents it. Although mystical language about the eucharist is found even in the second century, full-blown transubstantiation doesn't appear for another seven or eight hundred years, and the doctrine becomes official only in the 13th century.