Question about the eucharist

I have very recently been reading the Book of Hebrews in the New Testament. The Book of Hebrews is a very important book in the Bible and favourably compares the Old Testament Faith to the New Testament faith. Hebrews teaches fundamental doctrine about Christ and its main theme is the absolute supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus Christ as revealer and as mediator of God’s grace

One of the main problems with the Bible is that there have been many translations through the years of the original Greek and Hebrew texts and through such translations alot of the original and completely accurate meaning has been lost, therefore to really gain full understanding of some scriptures, not only as is it important to look at it in the context of the time it was written in, but also to examine the direct translations of the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible.

So…the central part of the mass is the Eucharist and what is the Eucharist?..Priests act as mediators of Christ, mediators of Christs forgiveness and mediators of his atonement and by changing the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ the Priest is acting as a mediator for Christs atonement. Priests are referred to (not always commonly known though) as “Alter Christus”, which means another Christ, and when the priest changes the bread and wine into the body and blood at each mass he is essentially applying Christs sacrifice time and time again to those in attendance. If we look to the book of Hebrews in the new testament we read much about Christs sacrifce and atonement for us and when I examined some of the orginal greek texts of this book we learn some clear things about Christs atonement: Here are some of the examples I have found.

Hebrews 7:27- “who doesn’t need, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices daily, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. For he did this once for all, when he offered up himself.”

Hebrews 9:12- “nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption”.

Hebrews 10:0- “by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

In Hebrews as shown in these examples we see that Christs atonement happened “once for all”. The applications of the atonement however, are not “once for all” and we do know that Christ does intercede for us in heaven…but Christs atonement was something which according to scripture seems to have only needed to happen once…and nowhere in the New Testament is anyone-“Another Christ”, and if part taking in the Eucharist is not a “symbol” of the Sacrifice of the body and blood of Jesus Christ (which is common in other branches of Christianity)-the alternative is that what happens at each mass time and time again is the recreation of Christs sacrifice and atonement for us, but we know from scripture that this happened “once for all”, it is not necessary to recreate it.
So my question is… as Catholics, why at the mass is this recreation of Christs sacrifice happening each time we attend?

Hello Anna;

**So my question is… as Catholics, why at the mass is this recreation of Christs sacrifice happening each time we attend? **

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is (“not”) a recreation. It is wholly and substantially a real Sacrifice in every way except in a unbloodied manner. Christ Himself becomes the Victim

Check this link: therealpresence.org/eucharst/link/e-litur.html

Peace
Chris

You’ll want to read up on this. I’d start with the section from the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.(vatican.va/archive/compendium_ccc/documents/archive_2005_compendium-ccc_en.html)

Excerpts (boldface mine)
THE SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST

  1. What is the Eucharist?

1322-1323
1409

The Eucharist is the very sacrifice of the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus which he instituted to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until his return in glory. Thus he entrusted to his Church this memorial of his death and Resurrection. It is a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet, in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.

  1. When did Jesus Christ institute the Eucharist?

1323
1337-1340

Jesus instituted the Eucharist on Holy Thursday “the night on which he was betrayed” (1 Corinthians 11:23), as he celebrated the Last Supper with his apostles.

  1. How did he institute the Eucharist?

1337-1340
1365, 1406

After he had gathered with his apostles in the Cenacle, Jesus took bread in his hands. He broke it and gave it to them saying, “Take this and eat it, all of you; this is my Body which will be given up for you”. Then, he took the cup of wine in his hands and said, “Take this and drink of this, all of you. This is the cup of my Blood, the Blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgive. Do this in memory of me”.

  1. What does the Eucharist represent in the life of the Church?

1324-1327
1407

It is the source and summit of all Christian life. In the Eucharist, the sanctifying action of God in our regard and our worship of him reach their high point. It contains the whole spiritual good of the Church, Christ himself, our Pasch. Communion with divine life and the unity of the People of God are both expressed and effected by the Eucharist. Through the eucharistic celebration we are united already with the liturgy of heaven and we have a foretaste of eternal life.

  1. Where does the Eucharist fit in the divine plan of salvation?

1333-1344

The Eucharist was foreshadowed in the Old Covenant above all in the annual Passover meal celebrated every year by the Jews with unleavened bread to commemorate their hasty, liberating departure from Egypt. Jesus foretold it in his teaching and he instituted it when he celebrated the Last Supper with his apostles in a Passover meal. The Church, faithful to the command of her Lord, “Do this in memory of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24), has always celebrated the Eucharist, especially on Sunday, the day of the Resurrection of Jesus.

  1. In what way is the Eucharist a memorial of the sacrifice of Christ?

1362-1367

The Eucharist is a memorial in the sense that it makes present and actual the sacrifice which Christ offered to the Father on the cross, once and for all on behalf of mankind. The sacrificial character of the Holy Eucharist is manifested in the very words of institution, “This is my Body which is given for you” and “This cup is the New Covenant in my Blood that will be shed for you” (Luke 22:19-20). The sacrifice of the cross and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one and the same sacrifice. The priest and the victim are the same; only the manner of offering is different: in a bloody manner on the cross, in an unbloody manner in the Eucharist.

  1. Why is the Holy Eucharist the paschal banquet?

1382-1384
1391-1396

The Holy Eucharist is the paschal banquet in as much as Christ sacramentally makes present his Passover and gives us his Body and Blood, offered as food and drink, uniting us to himself and to one another in his sacrifice.

  1. Why is the Eucharist a “pledge of future glory”?

1402-1405

The Eucharist is a pledge of future glory because it fills us with every grace and heavenly blessing. It fortifies us for our pilgrimage in this life and makes us long for eternal life. It unites us already to Christ seated at the right hand of the Father, to the Church in heaven and to the Blessed Virgin and all the saints.

In the Eucharist, we “break the one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death and the food that makes us live forever in Jesus Christ.” (Saint Ignatius of Antioch)

First, the Mass is not a “recreation” of Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice. It is a participation in that once-for-all sacrifice. We do not “recreate” His sacrifice. We are truly participating in the eternal sacrifice of the Lamb. Why did Jesus celebrate the Passover? After all, that was a past event, right? But the Jews, then and now, believe that they are participating in that once-for-all event. It is an event that goes on through eternity. Same with the Mass.

In Luke 22:19-20 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-29, we see that Jesus said to the Apostles at the Last Supper, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Jesus commanded them to “Do this.” i.e., turn the bread and wine into His Body and Blood. Implied in this is that they would, indeed, “Do this.”

A key verse is 1 Corinthians 10:16. “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” Obviously, St. Paul was participating in the Mass. In fact, St. Paul himself was a “mediator” of Christ. We all share in the mediation of Christ. Priests do it in a special, sacramental way.

Remember…at Mass we are not “recreating” the sacrifice of Christ, we are PARTICIPATING in that once-for-all sacrifice.

I hope this helps!

Anna, note what else Hebrews says (7:22 – 8:3)…
This makes Jesus the surety of a better covenant. The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself. Indeed, the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever.

Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the sanctuary and the true tent which is set up not by man but by the Lord. For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; hence it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer.
Jesus does not die again and again; He died once and once only. But for His priesthood to continue in Heaven, He must have something to offer. His earthly sacrifice did not come to completion until He presented Himself to His Father in Heaven. And so in Heaven, He is perpetually offering Himself, not sacrificing (i.e. immolating) Himself, but offering Himself to the Father. And at Mass, earth and Heaven are united, and we are brought into the heavenly liturgy described in the book of Revelation, and so Christ’s sacrifice is made present to us, and we are made present to His offering.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.