Catholics profess that the Sacrifice of the Mass is the consecration effecting the change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, and the oblation (solemn offering) by the priest as a perpetual memorial of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, all done in accordance with Jesus’ instructions. This sacrifice and that of the cross both have the same victim and High Priest, Jesus Christ, but in the Mass Jesus is offered in an unbloody manner.
Some critics, however, take issue with our Catholic terminology and quote from Hebrews 9:25-28: “Not that He might offer himself there again and again, as the high priest enters year after year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own; if that were so, He would have had to suffer death over and over from the creation of the world”, and, “Christ was offered up once to take away the sins of many”. Note that Catholicism totally agrees with those statements. After all, they’re in the Bible we wrote, assembled, preserved, and read from each week. What needs to be understood is that the Mass is the re-presentation of that one same sacrifice, not a new sacrifice each time the Mass is offered.
In the book of Hebrews the author is contrasting the many yearly imperfect offerings of the Jews with the one perfect offering of Christ. Understanding the re-presentation of that one same sacrifice is made clearer in Hebrews 10:14: “By one offering He has forever perfected those who are being sanctified.” Since the one perfect offering is applied to those who are currently being sanctified, it requires the re-presentation of that one same perfect sacrifice.
Without realizing it even our separated brethren profess the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ when they say that at a certain moment in time they were “saved by the blood of Jesus”. Their belief is more than just a memory of a 2000-year-old event, and is tied to a very real and unbloody experience, resulting in their sincere conversion. The Mass is also a very real unbloody experience. As St. Paul says in 1 Cor. 11:26, “Every time, then, you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes.” A sacrificial offering without equal, re-presented at each Catholic Mass.
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