This is perhaps the single hardest thing to get ones head around but I try. Its not so much the concept that the Church says its the literal body and blood, thats pretty straightforward, rather its the understanding why it matters.
I recently had an insight which I voice here to see if I’m off the mark or not.
In Judaism the sacrifice was slain and then after that it was offered on the altar. It was eaten by the priest and the people for the remission of sin.
In Christianity Christ is the sacrifice slain once, not offered again and again but once for all, yet we eat of that sacrifice from the altar at every mass for the remission of sin ( ie. as a means of grace ). We place upon the altar bread and wine and then, as when Christ instituted the sacrament we bless it and then as Christ said after the blessing, this is my body and blood we call it the body and blood of Christ. Thus we eat the sacrifice the is mystically present in all places and at all times the mass is said.
The part that never sunk in was the three fold process of the judaic sacrifice which is important to understand what is happening at the mass.
I’m trying to figure out specifically where you are getting at with the question. Take note, the jews had to keep sacrificing each time, Christ did it once and for all, for all of mankind, so no need to crucify him each time for it, it’s a continuing sacrifice, as in the fruits are offered for all of eternity.
Take note here: remission of sin is not the same as atonement, and this is why we are blessed with the final atonement, not just remission. With his body and blood, it’s his transformed body and blood, not the original flesh, as too often is misunderstood. And when you partake of the Eucharist, you are renewing him within yourself with the spiritual nourishment, in a way, binding your own flesh with his by having him reside in you.
Take note, the jews had to keep sacrificing each time, Christ did it once and for all, for all of mankind, so no need to crucify him each time for it, it’s a continuing sacrifice, as in the fruits are offered for all of eternity.
I am contemplating the same thing you just said right here. The once for all yet offered daily/weekly/etc. on the altar at the mass. And what you said and what I tried to say sound the same.
I am coming from an ultimate background that viewed it as a purely symbolic thing that we did quarterly or so and so things that might be obvious to some are not obvious always to me.
As long as nothing I said in my post/question was incorrect then with that I will be satisfied.
The boy’s meager offering of a few fish and loaves was sufficient to feed a vast multitude (with plenty to spare). This foreshadowed Eucharist, where the Body of Christ (the Lamb of God) is sufficient to feed a far greater multitude (with plenty to spare).
The Lamb of God is infinite. We do not partake of another Sacrifice, but the very same Sacrifice, which is once, for all (ie, everyone - for all time) because it is infinite in merit.
I don’t quite understand what you mean by “not fully ordained Catholics”. Do you mean those not baptized? Or those without Confirmation? (Confirmation is not a requirement for receiving the Eucharist.) Or those non-Catholics who believe in the Catholic Church but have not yet made a Profession of Faith? Can you explain this a bit further? I have no argument with what you said, I just don’t understand what you mean.
God transcends time. God is not confined by the laws of space and time like we are…Stay with me here.
Because of this, each time we go mass Jesus is being sacrificed for the one and only time. We are witnessing the actual sacrifice live and in person. It’s through the mystery of Gods ability to transcend time that we perceive that it’s happening over and over when really it’s the first and only time.
The Eucharist is the central mystery of our Catholic faith. The Eucharist is the true, real, living, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of Jesus Christ. Jesus died once, for all. In the Mass, as He told us to do, we re-present that sacrifice to the Heavenly Father. It is as real as if we were standing at the foot of the Cross on Calvary, except it is a non-bloody sacrifice re-presented each time Mass is celebrated. We “celebrate” a sacrifice because Jesus instituted the sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. On the Cros He accomplished His purpose of redemption, confirming this when He said, “It is finished.”
The Last Supper was a Passover liturgy, but its purpose was changed for all time. The original Passover was a celebration, a liturgy, memorializing their freedom from slavery to Egypt. It was celebrated on a specific day ordained by God. When Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper, He changed the time, shifting it by one day as we read in John’s gospel, and changed the purpose to freedom from slavery to sin. Jesus also instituted it so the Eucharist could be separated from the Passover liturgy, making it something which could be incorporated into the new Christian liturgy. We can see this because Jesus celebrated the first Eucharist at the Last Supper, and the second Eucharist after the Resurrection at the encounter on the road to Emmaus when they recognized Him in the breaking of the Bread.
At Mass the priest offers the Eucharist to the Father for the sins of all the Church, bread separate from wine, Body separated from Blood. Body separated from Blood signifies death; just as happened at Calvary when Jesus was bled completely, as prescribed for the Passover Lamb. The Father accepts the sacrifice, and the Holy Spirit overshadows the Sacrifice and gives back to us the fully reconstituted, living, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinty of Jesus Christ.
Why? Jesus did this to bring to completion not only our redemption but our incorporation in Him in the Mystical Body. He gives us Himself completely as our spiritual food, and in doing so offers us the spiritual marriage He came to offer, bringing to fruition the spiritual betrothal spoken of in Psalm 139. He calls us to renew our spiritual marriage vows every time we receive the Eucharist by offering ourselves to Him as fully as He offers Himself to us.
Some think the Eucharist is only symbolic. We know this is not true because of the many Euchristic miracles. A Eucharistic miracle occurs when the mystery that is the Eucharist is made manifest to the human senses through a miracle of God. The first time was in Lanciano, Italy, around the year 700. A priest on his way to a retreat stopped over for the night and offered Mass. He was having doubts about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, and when he consecrated the Host, it turned into a piece of human flesh. This miracle was preserved in a glass container and can still be seen today if you visit Lanciano. A few years ago, a group of prominent scientists studied the miraculous object and determined it was a piece of a human heart. It was a fresh as if it had just been removed from a living person. There have been many other Eucharistic miracles through the centuries down to today. You can read about many of them in Joan Carol Cruz’s book Eucharistic Miracles.