Eucharist as Sacrifice


#1

Hello all,

I’m a revert to the Catholic faith and as such, I am rather “under-catechized.” I am starting RCIA soon, however, I have been trying gain a serious hold on the exact details of Catholic doctrine beforehand, so bear with me.

My question involves the Eucharist. I understand that the bread and wine literally become the Body and Blood of Christ, and because of this, the Eucharist is the same sacrifice made on the Cross extended through time in an unbloody manner. But why do Catholics receive Holy Communion repeatedly? It seems that if it were the same sacrifice as the Cross, then we would only need to partake of the Body and Blood once maybe, or even not at all since our mere assent to the reality of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross would be sufficient.

The repeated reception of Holy Communion seems to me as if it is saying that we need to constantly receive the Eucharist because just receiving it once was not enough, which in turn means that the sacrifice on the Cross was not enough since the Eucharist is tha same sacrifice but in an unbloody form. Someone tell me how I am wrong.

Thanks.


#2

[quote="Yankee13, post:1, topic:294189"]
Hello all,

I'm a revert to the Catholic faith and as such, I am rather "under-catechized." I am starting RCIA soon, however, I have been trying gain a serious hold on the exact details of Catholic doctrine beforehand, so bear with me.

My question involves the Eucharist. I understand that the bread and wine literally become the Body and Blood of Christ, and because of this, the Eucharist is the same sacrifice made on the Cross extended through time in an unbloody manner. But why do Catholics receive Holy Communion repeatedly? It seems that if it were the same sacrifice as the Cross, then we would only need to partake of the Body and Blood once maybe, or even not at all since our mere assent to the reality of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross would be sufficient.

The repeated reception of Holy Communion seems to me as if it is saying that we need to constantly receive the Eucharist because just receiving it once was not enough, which in turn means that the sacrifice on the Cross was not enough since the Eucharist is tha same sacrifice but in an unbloody form. Someone tell me how I am wrong.

Thanks.

[/quote]

I will try to anwer. I will provide the link to what the Catholic Church teaches on this topic which will give you more detail:

old.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt2sect2chpt1art3.shtml

Basically, Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross was enough; it was once and for all. A one time event, but Jesus said to His disciples when He celebrated the Last Supper "to do this in remembrance of me, until He comes again". At every Mass, the Eucharist is the celebration of what He did for you on the Cross and it is His visible sign of His love for you that He offers to you at every Mass. The Eucharist is a tangible sign of His love which He tells us in John chapter 6, that we are to consume this gift that He gives us:

48I am the bread of life. 49Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;z 50this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”a

52The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat?” 53Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. 54Whoever eats* my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. 55For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. 57Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.b 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” 59These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

The Words of Eternal Life.

  • 60Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” 61Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? 62What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?* 63It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh* is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.c 65And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”

66As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. 67Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” 68Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”d 70Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you twelve? Yet is not one of you a devil?” 71He was referring to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot; it was he who would betray him, one of the Twelve.

This link will take you some wonderful video clips that explain with simple beauty what happens at Mass. Just scroll down to the video clip and hit the play button. The 1st one is really short and basically sums it up:

olgcparish.net/education/true_magnificence.html

Good luck in your faith walk. May God send His Holy Spirit to guide and guard you on your journey home.


#3

I would be careful about using the word “literally” when describing the transformation of the bread and wine into the Eucharist. I understand what you mean but usage of that word was never the best description and it has become so subject to hyperbole. A better word would be “substantially”.

When Jesus said to observe the sacrifice of the Eucharist in remembrance of him we tend to think that “remember” means the same thing we mean by it today. That is not how the Jewish people understood it. To them, to remember was to make something present again. Or perhaps to make oneself present at the original event.

I know I just cautioned you about using certain words that the Church does not use but I’m going to be bad and use my own analogy from science fiction. Each Mass is kind of like a time machine or a wormhole that takes us to the original Last Supper and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The Mass is a kind of window into the eternal where heaven, Jerusalem, and every Mass/Divine Liturgy that ever was or ever will be celebrated are one and the same sacrifice.


#4

SMHW,

I understand the analogy. But I do not see why the Eucharist must be received repeatedly. If we really are taken "back" to the one true sacrifice of the cross at Holy Communion, why is it done at all if the sacrifice on the Cross were enough? Is it to "apply" it to our lives? But if that were the case, wouldn't simply "believing" the sacrifice on the Cross occurred and that Christ died for our sins be enough? And why would we need to receive Communion each week in that case?

It gives me this vague feeling that the sacrifice on the cross has to be constantly made present in our lives because his sacrifice on the Cross can't preserve us for even a week, so it has to be weekly "re-applied" due to its insufficiency. I

Perhaps I don't understand the nature of the relationship between the Last Supper and the Cross, or maybe I'm unintentionally buying into the whole sola fide notion, but either way, I'm definitely confused and frustrated that I'm not understanding what even Catholic children appear to grasp.

Thanks for your patience..


#5

Not going to use scripture in my answer but going to try to explain what the Eucharist means to me

Jesus sacrifice at the Cross was enough, and He did it for Love, love to each one of us. But wanted to gift the Eucharist to us, because, He wanted us to remember, that He never left, but is here with us

He gave us the Eucharist as a gift, so we can be aware of His Divine presence with us, to remind us that He is alive, just like you and me, and always with us. To me the Mass is a very special celebration, and no better way than to participate by taking Communion.

The Eucharist is Jesus becoming present, Jesus wants to come and be with us reason why we take Communion, how sad would be for Jesus, if we would close our door for Him, yet we need to have a clean house to receive Him, just as you would clean your house
when a friend is coming to visit

When we receive Communion, we are not only acknowledging His sacrifice at the cross, but most important, we are accepting Him in our life, and willing to live for Him and in Him, accepting to receive the Eucharist, should not feel like is being imposed, or is an obligation, but should be a desire to spent time and accept a personal visit from Jesus, himself, should be a time of joy, and constantly looking forward to that personal experience with Jesus, by opening our heart to Him


#6

[quote="Yankee13, post:4, topic:294189"]
SMHW,

I understand the analogy. But I do not see why the Eucharist must be received repeatedly. If we really are taken "back" to the one true sacrifice of the cross at Holy Communion, why is it done at all if the sacrifice on the Cross were enough? Is it to "apply" it to our lives? But if that were the case, wouldn't simply "believing" the sacrifice on the Cross occurred and that Christ died for our sins be enough? And why would we need to receive Communion each week in that case?

It gives me this vague feeling that the sacrifice on the cross has to be constantly made present in our lives because his sacrifice on the Cross can't preserve us for even a week, so it has to be weekly "re-applied" due to its insufficiency. I

.

[/quote]

Well, first off we don't "have" to receive communion every week. We are only "required" to receive communion once a year. But that said, we are taught that frequent communion is good for us.

And I think the reason is that we live in and experience time. We are not just spiritual beings with physical clothing. Our bodies matter. We crave a physical world relationship with the Lord just as we crave relationships with with flesh and blood family and friends.


#7

[quote="Yankee13, post:1, topic:294189"]
Hello all,

I'm a revert to the Catholic faith and as such, I am rather "under-catechized." I am starting RCIA soon, however, I have been trying gain a serious hold on the exact details of Catholic doctrine beforehand, so bear with me.

My question involves the Eucharist. I understand that the bread and wine literally become the Body and Blood of Christ, and because of this, the Eucharist is the same sacrifice made on the Cross extended through time in an unbloody manner. But why do Catholics receive Holy Communion repeatedly? It seems that if it were the same sacrifice as the Cross, then we would only need to partake of the Body and Blood once maybe, or even not at all since our mere assent to the reality of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross would be sufficient.

*The repeated reception of Holy Communion seems to me as if it is saying that we need to constantly receive the Eucharist because just receiving it once was not enough, *which in turn means that the sacrifice on the Cross was not enough since the Eucharist is tha same sacrifice but in an unbloody form. Someone tell me how I am wrong.

Thanks.

[/quote]

The part in bold is quite correct. However, the part in purple is very, very wrong.

The reason that we must receive Holy Communion repeatedly is that we are weak and frail, constantly falling into sin. Christ's sacrifice was, indeed, sufficient. We suffer from the consequences of Original Sin - our intellect is darkened and our will is weak. We may receive Communion with fervent faith and yet fall into sin not long afterward, through weakness. Our Lord knew that. That is why he stayed with us under the appearance of bread and wine. That is also why he instituted the Sacrament of Confession.

We need to receive Holy Communion as frequently as we can, and go to Confession regularly.


#8

I’ve been thinking about your question since yesterday.

I don’t know if the relationship between the Last Supper and the Cross is relevant to your question but I believe it might be.

We know that the Passover was a prefigure of the sacrifice of Calvary. The lamb was slain and everyone who wished to be saved had to partake of the meal. What we Christians don’t always realize is that when the Jewish people today celebrate the Passover they are not just having a kind of Jewish Thanksgiving where they remember something from the past. They have the understanding that they are bringing that first Passover into the present.

There are also other kinds of Jewish sacrifices where part of the food to be sacrificed is consumed. So the Last Supper is meal associated with the sacrifice of Calvary.

As far as why we need to regularly attend Mass and partake of the Eucharist…

You mention once-saved-always-saved. I think that many of the disagreements between Protestants and Catholics involve looking at things from different perspectives. In a sense, we are saved (or not saved) once and for all. But that is from God’s perspective because God is outside of time. We humans have to operate under the constraints of time. What is a single instance for God plays out over thousands of years for the human race and in the lifetimes for individuals. From our human perspective we are not “saved” or “unsaved” until our life is over.

Just as we cannot eat one meal and expect to live a full human lifespan on the basis of that one meal, we can likewise not connect with the Eucharist once and expect to live a full spiritual lifetime. Our spirits need to grow and be nurtured just as our bodies do. For humans, salvation is perceived as a process in time, not as an instantaneous event. We need to continually touch God through the Church and her sacraments.


#9

[quote="Yankee13, post:1, topic:294189"]
Hello all,

I'm a revert to the Catholic faith and as such, I am rather "under-catechized." I am starting RCIA soon, however, I have been trying gain a serious hold on the exact details of Catholic doctrine beforehand, so bear with me.

My question involves the Eucharist. I understand that the bread and wine literally become the Body and Blood of Christ, and because of this, the Eucharist is the same sacrifice made on the Cross extended through time in an unbloody manner. But why do Catholics receive Holy Communion repeatedly? It seems that if it were the same sacrifice as the Cross, then we would only need to partake of the Body and Blood once maybe, or even not at all since our mere assent to the reality of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross would be sufficient.

The repeated reception of Holy Communion seems to me as if it is saying that we need to constantly receive the Eucharist because just receiving it once was not enough, which in turn means that the sacrifice on the Cross was not enough since the Eucharist is tha same sacrifice but in an unbloody form. Someone tell me how I am wrong.

Thanks.

[/quote]

When you receive the Eucharist you are receiving the Risen Glorified Christ.


#10

[quote="Yankee13, post:4, topic:294189"]
SMHW,

I understand the analogy. But I do not see why the Eucharist must be received repeatedly. If we really are taken "back" to the one true sacrifice of the cross at Holy Communion, why is it done at all if the sacrifice on the Cross were enough? Is it to "apply" it to our lives? But if that were the case, wouldn't simply "believing" the sacrifice on the Cross occurred and that Christ died for our sins be enough? And why would we need to receive Communion each week in that case?

It gives me this vague feeling that the sacrifice on the cross has to be constantly made present in our lives because his sacrifice on the Cross can't preserve us for even a week, so it has to be weekly "re-applied" due to its insufficiency. I

Perhaps I don't understand the nature of the relationship between the Last Supper and the Cross, or maybe I'm unintentionally buying into the whole sola fide notion, but either way, I'm definitely confused and frustrated that I'm not understanding what even Catholic children appear to grasp.

Thanks for your patience..

[/quote]

When you have a very close friend, you tend to spent time together with that friend, sometimes more than once a week, even more if that person is your girlfriend/boyfriend.

Then if you do that for a friend, why wouldn't you receive the Eucharist, at least once a week, receiving Christ in the Eucharist, is not just remembering the Last Supper, and
His Crucifixion, but is wanting to spent some special time with Him, sharing the spiritual food He offers to us, as The Eucharist is like the meal you would enjoy with a friend.

We are weak, and have a sinful nature, and the Eucharist is the spiritual food that gives us the strength to fight sin, but mostly for me, is saying Jesus, I'm so happy to be able to accept him in my life, as my very best friend, and that I truly enjoy His company, as We are receiving Him alive.

Don't feel frustrated, just love Jesus, and Trust Him, Surrender to Him, pray, and ask Him to let you understand, He will do that for you, unless you fall in love with Him, and accept Him in your life 100%, some things will be hard to understand, only Christ can give us full understanding.

There are so many things we do not understand, but through prayer, and growing into your faith, you will eventually feel it, you will believe it. We do not need to understand, but we need to Trust, and believe in Jesus, He will do the rest for us


#11

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