The Mass - Is it the Real Sacrifice of Christ?
Few Catholics think about this question.
The reason is that most Catholics are not aware that the Church teaches that the Mass is an actual sacrifice. They know that the rite is called the Sacrifice of the Mass, that it is performed by a priest, that the congregation assembles before an altar, and that the consecrated bread wafers are called hosts. Nevertheless, most Catholics do not seem to realize that the Church teaches that the Mass is a real and true sacrifice, that a prime function of the Catholic priesthood is to offer sacrifice, that an altar is a place of sacrifice, and that the word host is from the Latin word hostia, meaning sacrificial victim.
When I told Anthony, a Catholic catechism teacher, that he was going to a sacrifice for sins each week, he denied it. Anthonyís sister, Teresa, had been born again several years earlier and had left the Catholic Church. She had been sharing the gospel with Anthony, and he too now was claiming to be trusting Christ alone for his salvation. He remained, however, loyal to the Catholic Church and its practices.
"Anthony, you canít say you are trusting in Christís finished work on the cross and keep going to a weekly sacrifice for your sins," I told him.
"But itís not a sacrifice," Anthony insisted.
"Look at the Eucharistic prayer," I said, handing him an open copy of the Vatican II Sunday Missal, the book containing the words recited by the priest during the Mass. "What does the priest pray after consecrating the bread and wine?"
"ĎWe offer to you, God of glory and majesty,í" Anthony read, "Ďthis holy and perfect sacrifice the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation." He then added, "I donít remember the priest ever saying that." "Read on," I asked.
"ĎLook with favour on these offerings and accept them as once you accepted the gifts of your servant Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham, our Father in faith, and the bread and wine offered by your priest Melchizedek. Almighty God, we pray that your angel may take this sacrifice to your altar in heaven. Then, as we receive from this altar the sacred body and blood of your Son, let us be filled with every grace and blessing.í" Anthony studied the prayer for a few moments in silence, and then added, "Well, I never heard this at the Mass."
"Iím not making this up, Anthony," I told him. "Next Sunday sit near the front of the church and listen carefully to
the words of the priest. Youíll see for yourself. According to your Church, in some mystical way the cross transcends time and is made present by the liturgy of the Eucharist. I know this doesnít make a lot of sense, but Catholicism teaches that the Mass is one and
the same as the sacrifice of Calvary."
It is indeed the priest alone, who, acting in the person of Christ, consecrates the bread and wine, but the role of the faithful in the Eucharist is to recall the passion, resurrection and glorification of the Lord, to give thanks to God, and to offer the immaculate victim not only through the hands of the priest, but also together with him; and finally, by receiving the Body of the Lord, to perfect that communion with God and among themselves which should be the product of participation in the sacrifice of the Mass. óSecond Vatican Council (emphasis added)
One must ask: What kind of worship is this? The cross was a horrific event. It was the enemies of the Lord Jesus, not His disciples, who crucified Him. Why would anyone calling himself a Christian want to participate in the continuation of the cross?
Furthermore, as the Lord died on the cross, He cried out,
Michael was right. Romeís explanation of the glaring contradictions of the Mass amount to nothing more than mystical mumbo-jumbo and high sounding nonsense.
Even more distressing is the way the Church distorts the Scriptures in an attempt to provide a biblical basis for
the Mass. Take, for example, the following reference to the Mass in Pope John Paul IIís recent best-seller,
. . . the Church is the instrument of manís salvation. It both contains and continually draws upon the mystery of Christís redemptive sacrifice. Through the shedding of His own blood, Jesus Christ constantly "enters into Godís sanctuary thus obtaining eternal redemption" (cf. Hebrews 9:12). ó Pope John Paul II
Here the Pope actually changes the Scriptures.
The earthly tabernacle was to serve as the focal point of Israelís worship (Exodus 25:8; 29:42). Each day Jewish priests were to enter its outer room and perform various duties (Exodus 30:7-8; Leviticus 4:18, 24:1-9). Once a year on the Day of Atonement the Jewish high priest was to enter the inner room, presenting the blood of sin offerings to make atonement for himself and for the nation (Leviticus 16:1-34). In front of the tabernacle, God told Moses to construct a bronze altar upon which the priests were to continually offer animal sacrifices (Numbers 28-29).
Hebrews 9 reviews many of these details. There the emphasis is placed on the frequency with which the Jewish priests were to enter the tabernacle to perform their duties:
The verses above contrast the continual and yearly ministry of the Jewish priests in the earthly tabernacle with the once for all ministry of the Lord Jesus in the heavenly tabernacle.
Check it out using the Online Bible
These verses speak
of an event following the crucifixion when the Lord Jesus entered into the presence of God in the heavenly tabernacle. (Hebrews 9:24-25). Unlike the Jewish priests, however, who "are continually entering" (Hebrews 9:6) and the high priest who "enters once a year"
(Hebrews 9:7), the Lord Jesus, our High Priest, entered the holy place of the heavenly tabernacle "once for all, having obtained eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:12). Only one shedding of His blood was necessary for God accepted it as the perfect and complete
satisfaction for our sins.
Further distorting the meaning of the verse, the Pope introduces it with the word constantly, writing that
"ÖJesus Christ constantly Ďenters into Godís sanctuaryí (cf. Hebrews 9:12)."
Finally, John Paul changes the ending of the verse to teach that by constantly entering the heavenly sanctuary Jesus
Christ is "Ďthus obtaining eternal redemptioní (cf. Hebrews 9:12)."
Adapted from Conversations with Catholics by James G. McCarthy (Harvest House Publishers: Eugene, 1997)
1.. Liturgy of the Eucharist, First Eucharistic Prayer, The Memorial Prayer.