How is Mass a participation in the sacrifice of Christ?


#1

My protestant friend (raised Catholic) has the following objection to the Catholic Mass. I am unable to defend my Church and hope you can help me with an appropriate response.

"If Catholics believe that the Mass is a participation (rather than a repetition) in the ACTUAL sacrifice then they must be “traveling back in time” to the last supper. How can this be possible? Even so, how was Jesus truly present in the bread at the last supper? He was not physically suffering nor was His physical body actually being broken at the last supper. He said to do it in rememberance of Him. He was physically present with the disciples. How could he be in two places at once (present in body and present in the bread)? Although, nothing is impossible for the Son of God, He layed aside all the capabilities He owned as God, in order to be fully human.

Please give a thorough apologetics response for me.

Thank you.


#2

Dear k,

The reality of the Christ’s passion transcends time. It reaches back and covers all those who died before it and to the future to all those born after it. So we don’t reach back to the passion at Mass, the reality of the passion is made present to us here and now.

At the Last Supper Jesus anticipated the passion when He instituted the Eucharist. He is God and He can do that. He did not lay aside all of His divine capabilities when He became Man. At times He used them as in the case of His working miracles.

So at the Last Supper He was present in two ways. He was physically present in the form of man and He was sacramentally present in the form of bread and wine. You friend is quite correct: nothing is impossible for the Son of God. And the Eucharist is His idea!

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.


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