The re-presentation of Christ's sacrifice in the Mass

Hebrews 9:24For Jesus is not entered into the holies made with hands, the patterns of the true: but into heaven itself, that he may appear now in the presence of God for us.

25Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holies, every year with the blood of others:
26For then he ought to have suffered often from the beginning of the world: but now once at the end of ages, he hath appeared for the destruction of sin, by the sacrifice of himself.

If Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient for the destruction of the sins from the beginning of the world, then why does the Catholic Church need to keep re-presenting Calvary for the sins of today?


By re-presenting we don’t mean he is doing it ‘over and over’. The Mass is the VERY SAME SACRIFICE of Calvary, not a ‘do-over’.

Yes, I realized that, but what is the purpose of presenting that very same sacrifice over and over?

If the sins of the past were taken care of at Calvary (one time), then why do the sins of the present need to have Calvary presented on the altar day after day?

We are not committing sins in the past. But in the present. So the sacrifice needs to be offered to the father for the sins we commit today.

Also: in the temple, a sacrifice included various parts.

An unblemished victim
The victim must be killed
The victim must be offered to God
The blood of the victim was put on the people for whom the sacrifice was offered
The victim must be consumed.

Those last three are what is happening at mass, the killing occurred once on Calvary, but the blood of the lamb is given to us at the mass and is consumed, body and blood. In that way the sacrifice is completed by and for those for whom it is offered.

It is the priest, acting ‘in persona Christi’ that is offering himself (Christ, the victim) to us to be consumed.

Have you ever read the requirements of the passover sacrifice? In order to gain redemption one MUST participate in the sacrifice… namely in the form of consuming the flesh and blood of the sacrificial lamb.

Christ is the FINAL passover sacrifice, and God’s law stands. Those who do not consume (literally chew) the Body and Blood of this final Paschal Sacrifice have no participation in and therefore no grace from the Sacrifice. It is for this reason that Christ strictly warns that without taking the Body and Blood, we have NO life in us.

And so it is integral to understand that, just as the Passover Sacrifice is eternal, echoing throughout time, so is participation in it through Communion in the mass.

So I guess what you’re asking is why the law, set forth by God, requires participation in Passover in order to be represented by the Sacrifice… but that’s not a question for us since it was God Himself who mandated that this was to be.

To think that the sacrifice doesn’t need to be re-presented for our sins today, I think, is rather presumptuous and leads to “once saved always saved” thinking.

" but now once at the end of ages, he hath appeared for the destruction of sin, by the sacrifice of himself."

Doesn’t this passage give the thought of not needing to appear more than once for the destruction of sin?

You have it backwards. Mass does not bring the eternal to us in the present times. It transports the worshippers to the eternal and allows us to participate in the SAME sacrifice… the same sacrifice which takes place everlastingly (as shown in the book of Revelation).

It is to make it present or available to those of today, so that we could participate in it.

Why is there still sin today if “sufficient for the destruction of the sins from the beginning of the world”?

I did not see your post…you hit it right…:thumbsup:

Adding to the previous responses:

*]Yes, what they said, but we live in time whereas the second person of the trinity doesn’t; that’s another reason why each mass is not really a repetition.
*]Plus, the one on whose behalf a sacrifice is made, does not participate in or benefit from the sacrifice unless he eats of it; speaking in practical terms, the benefit of the sacrifice of Calvary is applied by transubstantiating recently-made bread and wine into his body, blood, soul, and divinity, so that we can partake in this era.
*]Also keep in mind that the commemoration of the passover flight was unique among the OT holidays in that it was not just an observance of an anniversary, but was ordered to be a reenactment; and this is a foreshadowing of the relationship between Calvary and the mass.
*]Finally, it is written that a clean offering would in this age be made from the sunrise to the sunset. The perfect fulfillment of which must be a single offering that can be made not only in every period of time but also in every location; and this is the mass.


The short answer to your question would be that Jesus essentially commanded us “do this in remembrance of me”, and that what we are, as Paul puts it in his first letter to the Corinthians, engaged in a “participation” in the body and blood of the Lord. This is food for the Christian journey. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. We receive grace and strength to sustain us in our Christian walk through the Eucharist. Jesus stands eternally before the throne and the Father in heaven as a “lamb that has been slain”[Rev 5]. Jesus is eternally offering his death on the cross as expiation for our sins and we participate in that through the sacrifice of the mass and the Eucharist.

The book of Hebrews says that Jesus is a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. That implies that as a priest he is offering a sacrifice forever. It just happens to be the “once and for all sacrifice” that he made through his suffering, death, and resurrection. We are allowed access and participation in that eternal sacrifice through the precious body, blood, soul, and divinity of the Lord in the Eucharist.

The following is a very important passage from the book of Hebrews that is tied to what Paul says about our “participation” in the body and blood of the Lord, and it is focused on your question. Hebrews 10:19-27 says:

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries.”

How do we enter the sanctuary that Jesus entered carrying his own blood in sacrifice? We do so through the Eucharist as the representation and “participation” in his body and blood. And notice that with our hearts are sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water we can “draw near” Also notice that we are not to neglect meeting together because doing so is to sin deliberately and that there will no longer remain a sacrifice for sin on our behalf. There will, instead, be a fearful prospect for judgment. Jesus commanded that we celebrate the Eucharist which is the memorial and re-presentation of his once and for all sacrifice for sins. Neglecting to attend mass and receiving the Eucharist is an incredible rejection of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, whereas receiving the Eucharist is a “participation” in the body and blood of Christ unto salvation.

I hope this helps and God bless.

You are misunderstanding what it means. The translation into English leaves something to be desired. English requires a very wordy presentation to be accurate. It would be more properly expressed in English as “The Mass brings us into the presence of Christ on Calvary”.

Thanks for responses. They are very helpful. I’m not responding to any in particular right now b/c I am still “processing” the information.

Some of this has led to doing research on authority, so I’m kind of immersed in that right now as well.

But more responses are welcome - I can’t have too much information!


I’ve got a question:
If Jesus was crucified before the foundations of the world (Rev. 13:8, 2 Tim. 1:9) - then why did he have to come down and do it again?

Answer: Since God is eternally present, so is Christ’s sacrifice and intercession.

the Mass is a way of applying Calvary to us… it’s not even that the Catholic Church “needs” to keep re-presenting Calvary - it’s that Christ chose to do this. And it’s not to cover the sins of today as if they were not covered before - there is only one Sacrifice. It happened once. But the point is that even though it happened once, it is something eternal. We are brought to Calvary, when we are at Mass. That is my understanding at least…

God bless

Thanks, Monica. Gemma has always been one of my favorite saints…

I don’t think I’ve ever pondered those passages - not enough, at least. Thanks~

That’s one that my Calvinist brother-in-law has never addressed. It is one of the most difficult questions for those who accuse Catholics of re-sacrificing Christ at every mass. :thumbsup:

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