What is the Mass? What makes Mass, what it is? What is the essence of the Mass?
Readings: EX 24:3-8; PS 116:12-13, 15-16, 17-18; HEB 9:11-15; MK 14:12-16, 22-26
Christ is present in the Eucharist. The first Mass was the Last Supper.
Every Mass is the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.
This Image was also used for my Ordination Card
To hear the first homily in the series click here: January 28th, 2018 - 4th Sunday of OT - Encountering Jesus Christ at Mass - Mass Series #1
Below are two Bulletin Articles (These are not the homily, and are only related in as much as they are about the The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ and the Sacrifice of the Mass)
Today we celebrate the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. That is, Christ truly present in the Eucharist. Christ becomes present through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass where the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ are presented to us in a sacramental way. This sacrifice of Christ is prefigured in the sacrifice that ratified the Old Covenant.
We heard about the Old Covenant in our first reading today. The law of the covenant was read to the Israelites and they agreed to follow it. To ratify the covenant Moses took half of the blood from animal sacrifices and sprinkled it on the altar, which represented God. The other half was sprinkled on the Israelites. The blood is shared between God and His people. This creates a covenant fellowship or communion with rights and obligations. The Israelites become members of God’s family bringing peace between God and Israel.
At the Incarnation, the Son of God takes our human flesh and shares blood with us. He also sacrifices Himself to the Father on the cross. The Last Supper is the first Mass where His followers ate His flesh and drank His blood (the first Eucharist). Thus, God’s people have a sharing of blood with the divine Son of God bonding man and God together creating peace between them and offering humanity a share in divine life.The sacrifice of Christ is prefigured by numerous other sacrifices found in the Old Testament: the Passover Lamb, the burnt offerings, peace offerings, memorial offerings, and thanksgiving offerings. When Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac it prefigured Christ. All of these offerings had a separation of the priest and the victim. They are perfected in the self-sacrifice of Christ where priest and victim are the same. In the Old Testament the offerings were a sign of self-sacrifice but in Christ we have the reality made present to us in the celebration of the Mass.
The Sacrifice of the Mass
The Mass is the re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross in an unbloody manner. The Mass is the same Sacrifice made on Calvary. At the Consecration, the bread and wine become the true Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ so that Jesus Christ Himself can be offered to the Father. So, it is the same Jesus Christ that is offered as the victim.
The offering is by the ministerial priest who is configured to Jesus Christ through the sacrament of Holy Orders, so much so, that it is Jesus Christ who is acting through the priest to offer the Sacrifice. The words of Consecration are said by the priest such that the sacrifice is mystically re-presented in the separate consecrations of the bread and wine into the true Body and Blood of Christ. So, we also have the death of Christ sacramentally present, since on the Cross His Body and Blood were separated. The Sacrifice is completed when the priest consumes the Body and Blood of Christ at the altar.The offering of the Mass imparts grace to those who participate in its celebration, who join themselves with the priest in offering the Holy Sacrifice and offer themselves along with it. We come to Mass to worship God by offering the Sacrifice, and this is the basis for the obligation to participate at Mass every Sunday rather than to receive our Lord during Holy Communion. Although we are not obliged to receive every Sunday, we are highly encouraged if we are properly prepared.