History of Mass


#1

I have a stupid question. I was thinking about the history of the mass, and I know that Jesus instituted the Eucharist during the last supper, but I'm wondering, did his disciples continue the Eucharist after the death of Jesus like how we do? I mean, did they do it every Sunday or everyday? When did those practices start? I mean, if they celebrated the Eucharist, how often did they do it? Is it ever mentioned them celebrating after Pentecost?


#2

I don’t think it’s a “stupid” question!

I do wish I had more knowledge so that I could answer it completely, but I will attempt to give you at least a partial answer.

First let’s remember that the high priest (and victim) of every Mass is Jesus Christ Himself. And HE is THE Blessed Sacrament, of whom we receive during the celebration of the Eucharist. The celebrant priest serves as In Persona Christi (In the Person of Christ).

We know that the sacrament of the Eucharist was instituted by Christ during His Last Supper, rooted in the Passover celebration. His Apostles were commanded to “do this in memory of me” – isn’t it amazing that we continue to witness the obedience of that command to this day?!

From the day Jesus rose from the dead, the Mass has included two principle parts which nourish our faith – the WORD and the EUCHARIST – after which we are SENT into the world to live out the Church’s mission to evangelize. Read and reflect on the account of the two disciples walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the day of the Resurrection, which we now call Easter: Luke 24:13-35 > usccb.org/bible/luke/24.
Frequently, during the Dismissal at the end of Mass, I will pray that my heart will burn within me the entire week, for love of our Lord and for the mission He has called for me to serve in the ways I am able to.

Of course, the particular rites and prayers within the liturgy of the Mass have evolved from that Easter day, but our modern day celebration is essentially very similar to the celebration in the early Church!

I’ve been taught that the Mass has been celebrated on the Lord’s day since the first century, but I cannot cite a source, at least at this time. Hopefully, readers who are more expert in faith and in the history and practice of the faith will help to provide more thorough answers to your questions.

10. Did the Apostles offer the divine liturgy of the Mass and the sacraments?

Yes. The Acts of the Apostles in the Bible gives us a short view of the first establishment of the Christian Church. Acts is a history of the early Church, although it does not tell us what was done by all the apostles. We are told that the essentials of the Mass and the sacraments were present and were essential to early Christian life.

Acts 2:42 says: “They were persevering in the doctrines of the apostles and in the communication of the breaking of bread and in prayers.”

Acts 8:17 and 19:6 tell us that after baptism the sacrament of confirmation was administered by imposing an Apostle’s hands and invoking the Holy Spirit, as St. Peter and St. John did in Samaria and St. Paul in Ephesus.

Acts 19:18 says: “Many of them that believed came confessing and declaring their deeds.”

Acts 13:3 says: "One day while they were offering worship to the Lord and keeping a fast, the Holy Spirit said, ‘I want Barnabas and Saul set apart for the work to which I have called them.’ So it was that after fasting and prayer they laid their hands on them and sent them off. " (This formula is still used in the rite of ordination.)

Ephesians 5:32 speaks of the mystery (sacrament) of matrimony.

Some books of the Bible are historical books, as well as the word of God, and give testimony to the various sacraments, such as the anointing of the sick (Jas 5:14) and penance (Jn 20:21-23).

(from catholic-history.excerptsofinri.com/chapter2.html)

Worship in the Ancient Church

The early Church was not only hierarchical, it was liturgical and sacramental. But it was above all Eucharistic. St. Ignatius, in his letter to the church at Smyrna, attacks local heretics who “abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of Our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins…” By the year 150, when St. Justin Martyr described the Sunday liturgy in some detail, all the principal elements of the Mass are in place: Scriptural readings, prayers of intercession, offertory, Eucharistic prayer, and communion. There was no need back then to remind the faithful that Sunday Mass attendance was obligatory, since they regarded the liturgy as absolutely central to their lives as Christians. It would not have occurred to them to forgo Sunday Mass for a brunch date or ballgame.

The readings at these early Masses were from both the Old Testament (then simply called “Scripture”) and from many (but not all) of the documents that eventually would comprise the New Testament.

(from catholiceducation.org/articles/history/world/wh0106.html)


#3

This book is awesome for thos subject. I highly reccomend it. amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1592763200/ref=redir_mdp_mobile/191-9126775-5554753


#4

Evidently it started out on Sundays, and gradually became daily.

From the Didache (A.D. 70), ch. 14:
On the Lord's own day, assemble in common to break bread and offer thanks; but first confess your sins, so that your sacrifice may be pure.

From the OSV article Daily Mass bolsters faith and builds community:
The tradition of weekday Mass began in the second century, according to Father Michael Witczak, S.L.D. . .

From the CUF article The History of Daily Mass in the Church:
The Eucharist began to be celebrated daily on a regional basis in the seventh century. . .

When weekday Masses began seems a matter of scholarly debate, given the limited information we have on those early centuries.


#5

Here's what I'd like to know:

What is the earliest recorded time that the re-presentation of Christ's sacrifice was offered? It's one thing to receive the Eucharist (Episcopalians do that, after all), but it's quite another to ask God to "accept this sacrifice" (with the sacrifice being not merely our praise and worship, but rather the re-presentation to God of the body and blood of Christ). What is the earliest recorded time in which the re-presentation of Christ's sacrifice was offered?


#6

Justin the Martyr
First Apology (100AD)

CHAPTER LXV -- ADMINISTRATION OF THE SACRAMENTS.

But we, after we have thus washed him who has been convinced and has assented to our teaching, bring him to the place where those who are called brethren are assembled, in order that we may offer hearty prayers in common for ourselves and for the baptized [illuminated] person, and for all others in every place, that we may be counted worthy, now that we have learned the truth, by our works also to be found good citizens and keepers of the commandments, so that we may be saved with an everlasting salvation. Having ended the prayers, we salute one another with a kiss. There is then brought to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of wine mixed with water; and he taking them, gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and offers thanks at considerable length for our being counted worthy to receive these things at His hands. And when he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people present express their assent by saying Amen. This word Amen answers in the Hebrew language to genoito [so be it]. And when the president has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent, those who are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced, and to those who are absent they carry away a portion.

CHAPTER LXVI -- OF THE EUCHARIST.

And this food is called among us Eukaristia [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, "This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body;" and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, "This is My blood;" and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn.

CHAPTER LXVII -- WEEKLY WORSHIP OF THE CHRIS- TIANS.

And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost. And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.

earlychristianwritings.com/text/justinmartyr-firstapology.html

Peace


#7

Great subject. I hope more people with knowledge in this area chime in. There is nothing like the reaffirmation that comes with knowing that the same Mass in which we celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ today was celebrated by the earliest Catholics, with only a few necessary changes, like the addition of New Testament Scriptures that were not yet available or even written in the earliest times.


#8

This doesn’t support our practice of re-presenting Christ’s sacrifice to the Father. In the Mass, we do two distinct things. First, we re-present Christ’s sacrifice. Second, we consume his Body and Blood. I’m looking for the first text that supports re-presenting Christ’s sacrifice. The passage above supports our consuming of the Body and Blood but, in my opinion, it does not support re-presenting Christ’s sacrifice to the Father. What is the basis for that?


#9

[quote="captainmike, post:8, topic:320864"]
This doesn't support our practice of re-presenting Christ's sacrifice to the Father. In the Mass, we do two distinct things. First, we re-present Christ's sacrifice. Second, we consume his Body and Blood. I'm looking for the first text that supports re-presenting Christ's sacrifice. The passage above supports our consuming of the Body and Blood but, in my opinion, it does not support re-presenting Christ's sacrifice to the Father. What is the basis for that?

[/quote]

try this

en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Divine_Liturgy_of_Saint_James

Peace


#10

Our practice?

This is the closest to heaven on earth. Given the apostles from Our Divine Lord and Saviour, Jesus, on the night He was betrayed.

...

Then the priest, at great length: O Sovereign Lord, who hast visited us in compassion and mercies, and hast freely given to us, Thy humble and sinful and unworthy servants, boldness to stand at Thy holy altar, **and to offer to Thee this dread and bloodless sacrifice for our sins, **and for the errors of the people, look upon me Thy unprofitable servant, and blot out my transgressions for Thy compassion's sake; and purify my lips and heart from all pollution of flesh and spirit; and remove from me every shameful and foolish thought, and fit me by the power of Thy all-holy Spirit for this service; and receive me graciously by Thy goodness as I draw nigh to Thy altar.

Peace


#11

The CCC

The sacrificial memorial of Christ and of his Body, the Church

1362 The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ's Passover, the making present and the sacramental offering of his unique sacrifice, in the liturgy of the Church which is his Body. In all the Eucharistic Prayers we find after the words of institution a prayer called the anamnesis or memorial.

1363 In the sense of Sacred Scripture the memorial is not merely the recollection of past events but the proclamation of the mighty works wrought by God for men.184 In the liturgical celebration of these events, they become in a certain way present and real. This is how Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated, the Exodus events are made present to the memory of believers so that they may conform their lives to them.

1364 In the New Testament, the memorial takes on new meaning. When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ's Passover, and it is made present the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present.185 "As often as the sacrifice of the Cross by which 'Christ our Pasch has been sacrificed' is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out."186

1365 Because it is the memorial of Christ's Passover, the Eucharist is also a sacrifice. The sacrificial character of the Eucharist is manifested in the very words of institution: "This is my body which is given for you" and "This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood."187 In the Eucharist Christ gives us the very body which he gave up for us on the cross, the very blood which he "poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."188

1366 The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit:

[Christ], our Lord and God, was once and for all to offer himself to God the Father by his death on the altar of the cross, to accomplish there an everlasting redemption. But because his priesthood was not to end with his death, at the Last Supper "on the night when he was betrayed," [he wanted] to leave to his beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as the nature of man demands) by which the bloody sacrifice which he was to accomplish once for all on the cross would be re-presented, its memory perpetuated until the end of the world, and its salutary power be applied to the forgiveness of the sins we daily commit.189
1367 The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: "The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different." "And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory."190

scborromeo.org/ccc/p2s2c1a3.htm#1332

Peace


#12

[quote="Issa87, post:1, topic:320864"]
I have a stupid question. I was thinking about the history of the mass, and I know that Jesus instituted the Eucharist during the last supper, but I'm wondering, did his disciples continue the Eucharist after the death of Jesus like how we do? I mean, did they do it every Sunday or everyday? When did those practices start? I mean, if they celebrated the Eucharist, how often did they do it? Is it ever mentioned them celebrating after Pentecost?

[/quote]

I feel the need to repost my OP. I don't think Hazcompat understood what I was asking. ...I like your question, captainmike.

[quote="captainmike, post:1, topic:320864"]
What is the earliest recorded time that the re-presentation of Christ's sacrifice was offered? It's one thing to receive the Eucharist (Episcopalians do that, after all), but it's quite another to ask God to "accept this sacrifice" (with the sacrifice being not merely our praise and worship, but rather the re-presentation to God of the body and blood of Christ). What is the earliest recorded time in which the re-presentation of Christ's sacrifice was offered?

[/quote]

Thank you, quiet52, layp3ers0n, and Ad Orientem for your contributions. I found that book in my library system, so I'm going to request it, and I loved those passages and links. :)


#13

[quote="captainmike, post:5, topic:320864"]
Here's what I'd like to know:

What is the earliest recorded time that the re-presentation of Christ's sacrifice was offered? It's one thing to receive the Eucharist (Episcopalians do that, after all), but it's quite another to ask God to "accept this sacrifice" (with the sacrifice being not merely our praise and worship, but rather the re-presentation to God of the body and blood of Christ). What is the earliest recorded time in which the re-presentation of Christ's sacrifice was offered?

[/quote]

Actually we find in scripture that on the day that Jesus rose from the dead he met two disciples on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24). This encounter has all of the elements that we have in the Mass today. We see the Liturgy of the Word on the road as Jesus opens scripture to them and then we see the Liturgy of the Eucharist when Jesus breaks bread in their home. Jesus then vanishes because He remains with them in the Eucharist. To have stayed there in His resurrected body would have been redundant since He is present with them in the Eucharist. This is really the first post-resurrection Mass and the disciples have been continuing this re-presentation throughout the first century and until our present day. All of the other references were either stated above or can be found in the writings of the early Church Fathers.

Also, you might consider the nature of the Passover where the Jewish people re-present themselves in the exodus. They do not merely remember the event but actually place themselves in the salvific act. Jesus transforms the Passover to the Mass whereby we now can present ourselves in the salvific action of the new Moses and thereby present ourselves in the greatest saving action of human history. So, this was not new to the first century Christians since they were Jews who understood this better than we do. God bless you.


#14

[quote="hazcompat, post:9, topic:320864"]
try this

en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Divine_Liturgy_of_Saint_James

Peace

[/quote]

And here it is at New Advent, translated by James Donaldson, from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7. newadvent.org/fathers/0717.htm

The Mass is so close to what we have today in substance and often in wording. Do you think this is the earliest written form of the Mass from which the Church draws its present wording and ritual? Or are there earlier writings, and the present Mass is perhaps drawn from various sources along with this? There must be record somewhere of the development of the Mass from earliest times, perhaps a single book, tying it all together..


#15

concelebration was in the early Middle Ages replaced by separate private celebrations. No doubt the custom of offering each Mass for a special intention helped to bring about this change. The separate celebrations then involved the building of many altars in one church and the reduction of the ritual to the simplest possible form. The deacon and subdeacon were in this case dispensed with; the celebrant took their part as well as his own. One server took the part of the choir and of all the other ministers, everything was said instead of being sung, the incense and kiss of peace were omitted. So we have the well-known rite of low Mass (missa privata). This then reacted on high Mass (missa solemnis), so that at high Mass too the celebrant himself recites everything, even though it be also sung by the deacon, subdeacon, or choir.

The custom of the intention of the Mass further led to Mass being said every day by each priest. But this has by no means been uniformly carried out. On the one hand, we hear of an abuse of the same priest saying Mass several times in the day, which medieval councils constantly forbid. Again, many most pious priests did not celebrate daily. Bossuet (d. 1704), for instance, said Mass only on Sundays, Feasts, every day in Lent, and at other times when a special ferial Mass is provided in the Missal. There is still no obligation for a priest to celebrate daily, though the custom is now very common.

Peace


#16

[quote="hazcompat, post:15, topic:320864"]
concelebration was in the early Middle Ages replaced by separate private celebrations. No doubt the custom of offering each Mass for a special intention helped to bring about this change. The separate celebrations then involved the building of many altars in one church and the reduction of the ritual to the simplest possible form. The deacon and subdeacon were in this case dispensed with; the celebrant took their part as well as his own. One server took the part of the choir and of all the other ministers, everything was said instead of being sung, the incense and kiss of peace were omitted. So we have the well-known rite of low Mass (missa privata). This then reacted on high Mass (missa solemnis), so that at high Mass too the celebrant himself recites everything, even though it be also sung by the deacon, subdeacon, or choir.

The custom of the intention of the Mass further led to Mass being said every day by each priest. But this has by no means been uniformly carried out. On the one hand, we hear of an abuse of the same priest saying Mass several times in the day, which medieval councils constantly forbid. Again, many most pious priests did not celebrate daily. Bossuet (d. 1704), for instance, said Mass only on Sundays, Feasts, every day in Lent, and at other times when a special ferial Mass is provided in the Missal. There is still no obligation for a priest to celebrate daily, though the custom is now very common.

Peace

[/quote]

Is there a book(s) in which these developments are treated more fully?


#17

PREPARING FOR THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS
by Janice Smyth

Imprimatur: Msgr. Richard J. Burke
Diocese of Arlington
September 11, 1985

Book may be ordered from:
Our Lady of the Rosary School
904 W. Stephen Foster Avenue
Bardstown, KY 40004

A Short History of the Mass
Alfred Mc Bride O.Praem

The Mass of the Roman Rite: Its Origins and Development (2-Vol Set)
Joseph A. Jungmann S.J.

The Mass of the Early Christians
Mike Aquilina

The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth
Scott Hahn

Peace


#18

[quote="hazcompat, post:17, topic:320864"]
PREPARING FOR THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS
by Janice Smyth

Imprimatur: Msgr. Richard J. Burke
Diocese of Arlington
September 11, 1985

Book may be ordered from:
Our Lady of the Rosary School
904 W. Stephen Foster Avenue
Bardstown, KY 40004

A Short History of the Mass
Alfred Mc Bride O.Praem

The Mass of the Roman Rite: Its Origins and Development (2-Vol Set)
Joseph A. Jungmann S.J.

The Mass of the Early Christians
Mike Aquilina

The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth
Scott Hahn

Peace

[/quote]

Many thanks! Peace to you, too.


closed #19

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