The Mass: 2 things you know and 1 that will blow your mind

A reflection on the Mass in the context of Holy Week.

We go to Mass every Sunday or more.  We know the routine so well we sometimes go on auto-pilot.  We receive the Eucharist habitually.  And we lose our sense of awe and mystery.

I’m here to bring it back today.

Let’s start with what we know.

1. The Last Supper is the first Mass.

If we know anything about the Mass, we know this.  The Mass is often referred to as “The Lord’s Supper,” or the “Breaking of Bread,” bringing us back to that first Lord’s Supper – the Last Supper (CCC 1329).

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When we read the accounts of the Last Supper in the Bible, we see the familiar ritual.  The bread, the cup, the words of the consecration.  It’s all there.

The Catechism asserts that Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist on that night, and He told the Apostles clearly:  keep doing this (CCC 1323).

There’s even evidence that the Mass has had pretty much the same structure as far back as the second century (CCC 1343).

Jesus celebrated the first Mass at the Last Supper, and it remains the same Mass, the center of our Faith, today.


Jesus celebrated the first Mass at the Last Supper and it remains the center of our faith, today.  Tweet this.


You knew all this, right?

Just making sure.

2. Every Mass makes present Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross.

Also clear.  The words of the consecration point us straight to the Crucifixion (CCC 1339).  This is my body given for you… This is my blood poured out for you.  When were Jesus’ Body and Blood broken, poured out, sacrificed for us?  At the Crucifixion.  Second grade level CCD here.

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The Catechism tells us the Eucharist is the very body, the very blood sacrificed on the Cross (CCC 1365).  They’re the same!

They become present and real during the Mass.  Jesus’ sacrifice is re-presented in an unbloody way (CCC 1363).

He’s not sacrificed again and again, but once for all-time, and ever-present in the Holy Eucharist (CCC 1363).

You knew all that too.

So.

Time for the shock and awe.  Let’s get real real here.

3. The Last Supper came before the Crucifixion.

Basic Bible timeline: Holy Thursday.  Then Good Friday.

But this means that the first Mass came before the Crucifixion.  In that Mass at the Last Supper, Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross was re-presented in an unbloody way.

Re. presented!

Made present again.  In memorial of His crucifixion.  Even though it didn’t happen yet.

What the what?!

In case you’re not as shocked as I am, imagine this.  Today, I’m going to have a memorial in celebration of everything I’m going to do tomorrow.  I’ll do a little reenactment too, just to make it really present to you.

I can read your mind: “You’re nuts, lady.”

You don’t have a memorial of something that didn’t happen yet.  You don’t make something present again that hasn’t even been presented in the first place.

Unless you’re God.

Because God is omnipotent and He can do whatever the heck He wants.


God is omnipotent and He can do whatever the heck He wants.  Tweet this.


He’s not limited to time and space.

He could have waited until after He sacrificed His Body and Blood on the Cross to institute the Eucharist.  He was going to come back to life anyways.  I mean, that would make more sense chronologically.

But He didn’t.

Because He was giving us an opportunity to know that “The power of the blessing prevails over that of nature” (CCC 1375).

Yep, He can defy nature.

So He sat at that Supper, telling the Apostles what was going to happen, heightening their amazement and wonder at His crazy powers and knowledge because…

Wait for it…

BAM!

He rises from the dead.

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That’s right.  He can tell us the future, re-present something that didn’t even happen yet, and come back to life after being brutally murdered.

I can’t explain it to you.

I’m not a theologian.

So crack open your Catechism to read more about how the Last Supper and the Crucifixion are “one single sacrifice” (CCC 1367).

Or just pause for a moment and tell God:

“Wow!  You really are one impressively powerful God!  You never cease to amaze me with the stuff You pull off.  Amen.”


Wow!  You really are one impressively powerful God!  You never cease to amaze me with the stuff You pull off.  Amen.  Tweet this.


 

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great post

The first Mass came before the Crucifixion. In that Mass at the Last Supper, Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross was re-presented in an unbloody way. Re. presented! Made present again. In memorial of His crucifixion. Even though it didn’t happen yet. What the what?!

 

15 thoughts on “The Mass: 2 things you know and 1 that will blow your mind

  1. I am Episcopalian. I think your discussion of the Mass is lovely and valuable. I recognize the true body and blood of the Christ in the consecration at Mass. To me it is the ground of the church and the ground of my faith and therefore my life. I do not doubt the faiths of others. I only hope they gain the help, and love that comes from the Mass. can be gained

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for recognizing the truth of the Eucharist. It is the actual Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Having recognized it I now invite you to come all the way home to the Catholic Church. Looking forward to hearing of your journey. God bless you.

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  2. Here’s another interesting fact at every Mass we celebrate Christ last Supper,passion, death and resurrection. At Easter we have the three great days or Triduum of Jesus last supper,passion , death and resurrection so… every Mass is a mini triduum.
    My catholic nun taught me in school many years ago that what Jesus did at the last supper (this is my body..this is my blood) the disciples recognised through his death on the cross that this was the same offering that he had made the night before so the two offerings became one in the Mass. (That is why it is the unbloodied sacrifice)
    And at every mass there is in the Eucharistic prayer the anamnesis where we are taken back to the actual last supper to hear Jesus say those words again. WE are present at His passion and sacrifice and resurrection.What an act of love!; and then we receive this risen Lord in Holy Communion.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I noticed that much of the rationale for your statements are taken from the Catechism. Unfortunately for credibility’s sake, only the Holy Word of God in the bible is TRUTH. Jesus did not create religion. Humans have. I would prefer references from the Word not the CCC.

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    1. You hide behind anonymous. OK. Let me ask you which Bible you read? Perhaps the actual words that Jesus spoke, “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my CHURCH” (emphasis added). Those words missing from your “bible”? The CCC is the book of rules. The Catholic Church has the power to write them. Perhaps Jesus’ words “I give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. What so ever you bind on eart shall be bound in heaven. What so ever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Are those words also missing from your bible? The usual ripost to my statements from the anti catholics is that Jesus only meant to give the power to Peter and the apostles and that He never meant for it to be passed down. My reply to that is “nonsense”. First you cannot know what was in His mind except by His words. Second you cannot build anything if you do not give the builders the ability to build. From Peter to Francis, in an unbroken, historically proven line, that power was passed. May I suggest that you do some actual research into the truth of the one true church on earth, the Roman Catholic Church? Good
      luck and God bless you.

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    2. You’re not Catholic so you would t understand the beauty of the miracle. But this isn’t the venue for you to spew your sola scriptura beliefs. God bless you.

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  4. I was invited to share the first Seder meal with some Jewish friends of mine. As we sat at table and the prayers began I was going along when all of a sudden it hit me! This was what Jesus was doing when he instituted the Eucharist! I came away from the meal, the food was delicious by the way, with a complete understanding of the mass. It made me a better Catholic.

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    1. Every Catholic should genuflect always when in front of the alter. I believe the coming of Vatican II made taking the body of Christ by hand permissible.

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    2. Good evening Mr Silva. What evidence do you have from the deposit of faith that receiving in the hands is wrong? Did Jesus or the Apostles tell you this? No, they did not. However, at Second Vatican Council, the Pope in harmony with the Bishops, authorized by Christ himself, gave the layity the option of receiving in the hands and not kneeling. If you disagree with the authority of the Second Vatican Council, does any council, in your eyes, have authority. How do you know, for example, that the Council of Nicaea in 325 correctly defined, dogmatically, the Blessed Trinity? Perhaps the Church was wrong when it dogmatically defined the two natures of Christ at the Council of Chalcedon in 451? If you can’t trust that Christ gave His Church the promise of Devine assistance then we become our own Pope like the Protestant churches. By definition they are in rebellion against the one Church founded by Christ. Don’t rebel against the Church. Trust in the mystical body of Christ. When people do not bow before the Blessed Sacrament, they are showing ignorance and not following the norms of the Church. Much Love.

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  5. I would suggest Scott Hahn’s “The Fourth Cup” for anyone who wants to know more about why Jesus chose Holy Thursday to implement the Eucharist. Really good stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love how you hit us right between the eyes with such “auto pilot” info. Stuff we see & hear so often that we don’t even see & hear it any more. You bring it back to the surface where it needs to be. Thank you for forcing me to rethink it all & to hopefully never forget.

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    1. I’m 65 every time I go to mass I learn something new my church Never stops amazing me I don’t mean 2 b rude but do u no what thay do with the linens thay take off the alter wear thay clean them I Never question my faith ever I looked up the founders of the churches That Tells the Story

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  7. This is such a fascinating way to think of the Last Supper. I can honestly say I’d never thought of this before you said something about it. God is so incredibly amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

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