OSAS is a doctrine that is gaining increasing acceptance among many Protestant denominations. I grew up being taught OSAS. One of the arguments used is , “Once a person is born again, how can he be unborn?” It’s also presented as a father/child relationship – your child, despite their actions and/or behavior, will always be your child – there is nothing your child can do to stop being your child. The problem with this argument is that it is limited to physical genetics and therefore Biblically weak.
The problem is that many do not fully understand the Mass and its roots. The Mass has its origins in the Old Testament – particularly with the Passover. To fully understand the Passover, one must look at the Jewish perspective. When the Jews observed the Passover, they did not simply perform it as a “remembrance” as we think of it in our Western culture. The Hebrew word for remembrance is *zecher *or zikaron which literally means ‘to bring the past into the present.’ It was beyond a memory – it was the actual calling forth of a former event or person into the present. With this in mind, when the Jews observed the Passover, they did not only remember the exodus of their forefathers, they saw themselves coming out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. In a sense, they transported the past event into the present and they were experiencing it firsthand. As they partook of the bitter herbs, they saw themselves in slavery – not just their forefathers – I think you get the picture.
Likewise, when Jesus and Paul spoke of “remembrance”, the Greek word used was “anamnesis.” In Luke 22 and in 1 Corinthians 11, the meaning was not “in memory of”, it was “an affectionate calling of the Person Himself to mind.” When Catholics celebrate the Mass, they are calling Christ’s sacrifice from the past into the present. It is not a “recrucifixion” of Jesus, it a perpetuation of it into the present. Christ died once and for all – His sacrifice is sufficient and resounds through all eternity therefore there is no need for Him to die again. God is not subject to the constraints of time as we are. Just as we exist within time, time exists within God – it’s beginning and end are enveloped by Him, but I digress.
The Mass is Christ’s sacrifice now as it was then. The breaking of the body now is the same body being broken 2,000 years ago. When you observe the Mass today, you are observing the one crucifixion that occurred then.
Think of it this way – it’s a weak allegory, but it might help. I’ve spoken to my brother who works overseas on the telephone. If he says, “Hello”, it will take several seconds for me to finally hear it on my end. It’s the same “hello” that he spoke, but I experience it several seconds after he has said it. Now replace my brother’s greeting with Christ’s sacrifice and expand those seconds to years, and you will get the idea. Because we are 2,000 years removed from the actual event, it has taken that long for us to experience it. Christ’s work resounds for all time. The beautiful part of the Mass is that it proclaims the permanence of Jesus’ Passion.
In short, Christ need only die once because in His death, he conquered death.