Friday, October 22, 2010

Misunderstood - Series Part IV

Click here to read the intro to this Series.
Click here to read Part I of the Series.
Click here to read Part II of the Series.
Click here to read Part III of the Series.

Misunderstanding Assumption IV
"Catholics re-sacrifice Christ at Mass in the Eucharist (real presence - body and blood of Jesus Christ) showing that Calvary wasn't enough."

The Pope celebrating Mass during his UK visit last month.

Once again this misunderstanding stems from a misconception of what the Catholic Mass is. Mass is an offering—a new offering of the same sacrifice—not a a re-crucifixion of Christ. It's a celebration. It does not add to or take away from the work of Christ—it is the work of Christ. Because the Mass is a participation in one heavenly offering. While what happened on Calvary happened once, its effects continue through the ages. "Jesus is eternally a priest, and a priest’s very nature is to offer sacrifice. In the case of Christ, the eternal sacrifice that he offers is himself. This is why he appears in the book of Revelation as a lamb, standing as though he had been slain (Rev. 5:6). He appears in heaven in the state of a victim not because he still needs to suffer but because for all eternity he re-presents himself to God appealing to the work of the cross, interceding for us (Rom 8:34), and bringing the graces of Calvary to us."

The Catholic Church teaches the sacrifice of the Mass has scriptural evidence. During the Last Supper, the Lord said to his disciples, "Do this in memory of me." In Greek, this statement reads, "Touto poieite eis tan eman anamnesin." The phrase touto poieite can be translated as do this or as offer this. In the Old Testament, God commands the Israelites "you shall offer (poieseis) upon the altar two lambs" (Ex. 29:38). This use of poiein is translated as offer this or sacrifice this over seventy times in the Old Testament. So the same word that is used for the sacrifice under the Old Covenant is used for the sacrifice of the Mass in the New. Every time this word (anamnesis) appears it is within a sacrificial context (see, for example, Numbers 10:10).

It’s a common mistake to equate sacrifice with death. To understand the sacrifice of the Mass, it is essential that one understand the biblical picture of a sacrifice: It is always a gift; it is not always a killing. This is why Scripture can speak of a sacrifice of praise (Hos. 4:12) and the sacrifice of thanksgiving (Ps. 50:14).

Christ wants his salvific work to be present to each generation of those who come to God "since he always lives to make intercession for them" (Heb. 7:25). He surely has not abandoned us. Through the instrumentality of the priest, he is present again, demonstrating how he accomplished our salvation: "For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts" (Mal. 1:11).

Madeline actually asked me for the first time about the Eucharist the other night before bed. She asked "what is it for and what does it mean". I thought to myself I beter answer my 6 year old in the most simplest of terms. I said that the Eucharist is a mystery of Christ, that Jesus instituted this sacrament of love for us to bond and unite with Him and be filled with His grace because He is really present in the Eucharist. So when we take this bread and wine we are unified with Him because it becomes divine food and He told us whoever eat and drink this divine food abides in Him and He in us. John 6:53-57. After I told this to Madeline she really pondered and tried to take it all in. She is begining to understand this beautiful sacrament. And next school year she will learn all about it and recieve this Holy sacrament.

A girl in Rome receives her First Holy Communion.

So with this post I hope I have cleared up that the Mass is not a re-crucifixion of Christ, but a celebration that partakes in the one, eternal sacrafice Christ made for us.

"At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the centuries until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us" (Sacrosanctum Concilium 47).


No comments: