[quote="YoungTradCath, post:11, topic:303482"]
My own view on this is that "meal aspect" is fairly obvious as part of the Sacrifice itself. To me, it is quite clear that, to have a Sacrifice, the one offering It must eat That which was sacrificed. This seems more an anthropological/cultural/Biblical issue than theological (not that Biblical studies and theological studies are opposed to each other =) ). I have always considered the "meal aspect" just, that, an aspect of the larger and more multidimensional thing that is the Sacrifice itself.
So it is silly to me to see people bickering about meal vs. sacrifice. And at the same time, I cannot consider it to be a "both/and" kind of thing, because the meal and sacrifice are not on the same level. The meal is an aspect of, a characteristic of, a natural consequence of, the larger, all encompassing Sacrifice.
The meal means nothing without the Sacrifice, and, it must be said, the Sacrifice is not consummated without at least he who offers It eating It. The meal can have no specific meaning without that which it is dependent on, the Sacrifice. After all, it could be just as well we are talking about having a McDonalds in church or something. The meal is an aspect of the Sacrifice, not the other way around.
This is why it absolutely puzzles me to no end when people talk about Mass being a meal. Yes, it is, but... The story isn't finished there. The concept of Mass as meal is 100% dependent on it being a natural part of the larger Sacrifice. It's like my kid looking at a tree and asking, "What is that?" and I respond, "It is green." Well... yes, but... not really. Silly comparison, but this is how I see it.
Isn't it fairly self-evident that, by eating the Eucharist, meal is an aspect of the Sacrifice? This, to me, is a case of over-exaggerating bits and parts--important bits and parts, yes--to the detriment of the larger picture, with the confusion of the faithful being the natural outcome in such situations. In this sense, I am not sure how the assertion that one can over-emphasize the concept of Sacrifice holds any water; I wonder if it is only legitimate to think, instead, of over-emphasizing the concept of meal.
From my experince, there can certainly be an over-emphasizing of the strictly Sacrificial aspect even to the detriment of Catholic truth; for instance, when people claim that it is I) only the priest offering a sacrifice at the Mass (false) or II) that the Mass is not also a sacred banquet (false).
I. Firstly, the faithful themselves participate in the Sacrifice of the Mass because they themselves are offered in it:
This is the sacrifice of Christians: we, being many, are one body in Christ. And this also is the sacrifice which the Church continually celebrates in the sacrament of the altar, known to the faithful, in which she teaches that she herself is offered in the offering she makes to God.
- Saint Augustine, City of God, Bk. X, Ch. 6.
II. Secondly, the Mass was instituted within the context of a (sacred) meal: i.e., the eating of the Pasch. Therefore, the Mass also appropriately has a festal character to it that is in keeping with the idea of a sacred feast. It's festal character seems oriented to the final eschatological glory that is pledged to us in the Mass (more on this later).
Moreover, the faithful also offer a sacrifice of their own: i.e., their sacrifice of praise, as the Psalmist says:
50:  Offer to God the sacrifice of praise: and pay thy vows to the most High. . . .  The sacrifice of praise shall glorify me: and there is the way by which I will shew him the salvation of God.
And as Saint Paul says to the Hebrews,
* By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise always to God, that is to say, the fruit of lips confessing to his name. *
Again, the scriptures make rather plain that the nature of the Mass as a sacred banquet was normative: hence its constant reference to the Lord's table, as also Saint Paul's associating it with food though, to be sure, it was a sacred meal and they erred who treated it as ordinary food or an ordinary meal. The Angelic Doctor, in one of his typically beautiful prayers about the Eucharist, writes (and the Church uses this):
O Sacred Banquet (O Sacrum Convivium):
* O Sacred Banquet,
in which Christ is received,
the memory of His Passion is recalled,
the soul is filled with grace,
and the pledge of future glory is given to us*
None of this, of course, was or is meant to deny the sacrificial nature of the Mass as the image or representation of Calvary and Christ's own Passion and Sacrifice, as the above prayer makes plain.
Finally, there is a certain celebratory character appropriate to the Mass, insomuch as we recall that by this His Sacrifice for us on the Altar of His Cross, the Lord definitively defeated and triumphed over the devil and death and, moreover, with His Ressurection afterward, opened to us a truly new and eternal life; He making this plain by showing Himself Risen to those who believed in Him (Our Lord seems to have restricted Himself to showing Himself Glorified only to His disciples. Saint Paul might be an exception but this occured after the Lord's Ascension into Heaven). So Christ's Cross triumphed over the devil and defeated death but also opened for us new and eternal life and the gates of Heaven.