by Doug Lawrence
The Mass is the liturgical re-presentation of Jesus Christ’s one-time, once for many, propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the world, at Calvary.
The Last Supper was the anticipation of that blessed event, the eternal fulfillment of the Jewish Passover, and the Christ-instituted model for our timeless Catholic liturgy.
What makes the Mass eternally unique and infinitely efficacious is the real presence on the altar, under the auspices of bread and wine, of Jesus Christ, the sinless God-man who was crucified, died, and was buried, who rose again from the dead, and who remains the only perfect and acceptable sacrifice for the sins of the world.
Since Jesus Christ personally embodies the one time, once for many, eternal sacrifice for the sins of the world, when Jesus becomes present on the altar at Mass, his eternal sacrifice for sin is also renewed and re-presented.
From a practical standpoint, this is necessary so that we might have a pure and perfect offering that will be acceptable to God the Father. Without Jesus’ real presence on the altar, such a thing would not be possible.
Most people look forward to receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, and typically consider that as their primary reason for attending Mass, but there’s much more to it … since it typically remains necessary for the People of God, with the assistance of the priest, to faithfully and regularly “line up” behind Jesus, offering him up to our Father in Heaven … so that “mountains” might move, all things might be reconciled and renewed, and divine grace might continue to flow, in supernatural abundance.
This happens shortly after the consecration and just before the “Great Amen”. Watch and listen carefully the next time you attend:
The priest takes the chalice, containing the blood of Christ,
and the paten, on which his body, in the form of the host, rests.
Raising both, he says:
Through him, and with him, and in him,
O God, almighty Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honor is yours,
for ever and ever.
The people acclaim:
Having just offered Jesus Christ, our sinless brother, savior, perfect victim, Heavenly High Priest, mediator, and God, to our Father in Heaven, we rightfully expect this ultimate, totally spotless and perfect sacrifice to be accepted, affording us (and the whole Church) divine favor of all kinds.
Only then do we continue … rightly claiming Jesus’ Father as our own … and receiving Jesus Christ … body, blood, soul and divinity … for our divine sustenance … as we go forth.
The Mass – illustrated
Propitiation and Atonement – illustrated