A Protestant Friend Said this about Mass and the Sacrifice


#1

A friend at work said that Jesus died once for our sins and that we don’t need to sacrifice Christ at Mass because it was done once and for all. How do I explain to her that I that we do not sacrifice Jesus over and over again at Mass?

Thank you!
Tony


#2

These might help.
Sacrifice of the Mass (Fathers*)
The Institution of the Mass


#3

You can refer her to what the Church teaches:

usccb.org/catechism/text/pt2sect2chpt1art3.htm#1367

If she doesn’t know what the Church teaches, she shouldn’t say anything. Instead, she is deliberately misrepresenting what the Church teaches. I am guessing that your friend will choose to believe whatever she needs to in order to justify being outside the Church established by Christ. :frowning:


#4

A priest on EWTN told this story, likening it to your issue:

He once taped a TV show that was broadcast twice.

At a book signing, a woman said, “I saw you on TV both times. you were better the second time.”

Now, he had taped the show just once–“once for all”–but the woman saw it twice.

He compared this to the Holy Sacrifice.

Of course, all analogies will fall apart if you press them too far.


#5

Youtube video

Very detailed, Scripture filled article

Free MP3 Going over the same stuff as above article

PDF handout discussing Mass

Peace and God bless


#6

the short answer is that there was one sacrifice
which is re-presented at the Mass
in which we participate


#7

Jesus’ sacrifice is eternal.
In heaven, there is no time. Yes, His sacrifice was offered once. But it is the same sacrifice that was offered then, a thousand years ago, a hundred years ago, today, tomorrow and a hundred years from now, a thousand years from now.
**What is is NOT is a “Re-Sacrifice”.
**


#8

Ask your friend, “In Revelation 6:6, Jesus appears as a what?” Let her look it up to see that John’s vision of Christ in Heaven saw that “the four living creatures and the elders” stood around “a Lamb that seemed to have been slain.”

The sacrifice of Christ on the Cross persists through all time and in all places. The Mass is not a re-sacrifice; it the One Sacrifice eternally present.

– Mark L. Chance.


#9

Laudatur Iesus Christus.

The responses so far are correct and may be of use, depending on your friend’s background. However, they may indirectly have the disadvantage of “locking horns,” so to speak, over the word “sacrifice,” which is not well understood in modern English.

There are several possible avenues to approach this subject or at least to open the conversation.

One might mention that sin is not the only reason for sacrifice. Sacrifices are offered in thanks and praise. The Mass is primarily a sacrifice of thanks and praise. The primary meaning of “Eucharist” is “thanksgiving.” This might open the conversation up, but it will not serve as a final solution, because the Mass is *also *a propitiatory sacrifice offered for our sins and the sins of the world.

(One might point out that sins are still committed and so sacrifices for them are timely – but this is unlikely to take one far, if the friend is eager as so many are to ignore time as though it were not a real concern. This I suspect is a facet of the general refusal to accept the Incarnation and its implications for material creation, including time.)

In any case, one will need eventually to address the question of “What is a sacrifice?” Most people who take your friend’s position are using the word “sacrifice” to refer to the death of the victim. This is one, but not the only, meaning of the word. Such an understanding is often based on images of Greek, Roman, and even Aztec sacrifices where the victim is killed upon the altar. If this is the image of sacrifice being discussed, then your friend is correct: Jesus died once for our sins and His *death *does not need to be repeated.

This suggests an opportunity: you might agree with her at the start of the conversation. That usually sets a positive tone. However, one cannot settle for this agreement, because the image of sacrifice as primarily the death of the victim is pagan and does not reflect the true worship as commanded by God and practiced by Aaron and Moses in the Tent of Meeting and Jesus in the Temple at Jerusalem.

The practice at Jerusalem was different from the pagan sacrifice. The death of the victim was not the act of sacrifice. Rather, the death of the victim took place away from the altar (in the desert it was at the door to the tent). The victim was killed by the person offering it or by the Levites. The blood was then collected in golden bowls and the flesh was cut into pieces and placed in golden vessels. These offerings of flesh and blood were taken to the altar and presented to the priest to be “sacrificed” by being offered to God with the required prayers and gestures. In the Temple worship, the offering to God, not the killing, was the priestly act of sacrifice.

A conversational gambit might be to look at Chapter 6 of St. John’s Gospel. The end of that chapter is the text about the necessity to eat Christ’s Body, however, the beginning is St. John’s account of the multiplication of fish and loaves. (The story between is about Jesus turning up where people do not expect Him to be.) You might discuss whether this is a coincidence or whether the Holy Spirit and St. John had some purpose in juxtaposing these accounts.

Continued . . .


#10

Continued . . .

Christ died once for all. His death was sufficient and accomplished its necessary and central role in salvation. However, the Body and Blood from that single and sufficient death is miraculously multiplied by Christ and has been made present on the countless altars of the world since the Resurrection. This Flesh and Blood from the one “bloody sacrifice” is offered to God again and again to propitiate the sins, which continue to be committed, to give thanks for the new moments, people, experiences, and events which comprise God’s ongoing creation, and to allow us who are alive today to fulfill the Lord’s command to eat His flesh and drink His blood: “He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me, and I in him.” (John 6:57.)

Thus there are four relevant meanings to the word “sacrifice:” This word is used to refer variously to
(1) the death of the victim;

(2) the victim itself;

(3) the priestly act of offering gifts to God; and

(4) the entire action of worship, including the dedication of the victim, its slaughter, and the offering of the flesh and blood on the altar.
If your friend will acknowledge these four meanings, you may be able to bring her to appreciate that:
(1) Christ died only once for all; this “sacrifice” is not repeated. (And she is right to hold that it should not be repeated.)

(2) Jesus Christ is the one and only worthy victim, the only fitting Paschal Sacrifice.

(3) The miraculously multiplied Body and Blood of Christ are “sacrificed” over and over again, in the sense that they are offered constantly and repeatedly (“re-presented”) to God as the only fitting worship of the Father, made possible only by the love and obedience of the Son. And, finally,

(4) The action of the “sacrifice,” which began with the prayers at the Last Supper and compassed the Lord’s death on Calvary, is the same “sacrifice,” the same single act of worship, that is continued on the altar of each Holy Mass; the perfect sacrifice of Calvary is thus perpetuated through all time.

When one keeps these ideas in mind, it is easy to see how each of the other posts in this thread, and the Church teachings on which they are based, are all correct and understandable, though they may not seem consistent until one has sorted out these four different uses of the word “sacrifice.”

I hope this is helpful and that you and your friend enjoy and profit from your discussions.

Spiritus Sapientiae nobiscum.

John Hiner


#11

I like to remember that Christ’s sacrifice was a one time event but it trasnscends time, past, present and future…Its not a REcreation, but a REpresentation in an unbloody manner. A great book is “The Lamb’s Supper,” by Scott Hahn. He explains very well the concept of a perpetual sacrifice being needed. I bet all the old testament characters were glad that it transcended time into the past.


#12

Thanks guys for all of the good responses!!!..this will definitely help.

Tony


#13

I think your analogy is useful for showing the futility of the RC teaching that, in the mass Christ is re-presented but not re-sacrificed.

It is trying to have it both ways: The CC gets to “re-present” Christ’s one-time sacrifice. But it leaves us wondering which is it?

This is what Scripture says:

Hebrews 9:22
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

So, whatever the mass sacrifice is, it does NOTHING to forgive sins.


#14

Laudatur Iesus Christus.

This does not seem like a fair assessment. Do the distinctions made in my recent post among the four meanings of “sacrifice” not make sense?

For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; hence it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. (Hebrews (RSV) 8:3.)

This sentence refers to Christ as the high priest of the New Testament. This and the surrounding discussion in chapters 7 and 8 of the Letter to the Hebrews make clear that new “deaths” are not required, but offerings remain necessary, as the above passage states directly. One of the offerings is Blood.

Spiritus Sapientiae nobiscum.

John Hiner


#15

Then your objection is with Christ, not with us. For Christ “is trying to have it both ways” by being fully God and fully man, eternal outside of time and also acting in time.


#16

No, my objection is with those who teach different doctrines than those of the apostles. Where in Scripture do we find that it is necessary and possible to “re-present” the same one-time sacrifice of Christ?


#17

Hi John,

The blood sacrifice of the new covenant was completed once for all on the cross. God’s wrath has been appeased. Jesus has no need to offer again what has already been offered and what has already satisfied God’s righteous demands. Jesus said, “It is finished.” There is nothing further that needs to be added.


#18

In Luke 22:19 “…Do this in remembrance of me.”


#19

The Last Supper narratives make it quite clear, at least to those who are not too busy defending their own traditions of men to see it.


#20

Emphasis added:

Precisely correct, which is why the Church does not now teach nor has she ever taught that the Mass is a re-sacrifice.

– Mark L. Chance.


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