Mass sacrifice and sacrifices
willpick asked this question on 7/27/2000:
HI I am Willpick, here is my question. Why do Catholics believe that Christ is sacrificed at every mass, When Scripture states that He was sacrificed on Calvary once and for all ? Thank you and may God Bless you.
mscperu gave this response on 7/28/2000:
Please consider the following passage of the II Vatican Council (- there is a search engine at http://www.stjosef.at/cgi-scripts/council_search.pl -). You will find the text in the Constitution "Lumen Gentium". It says:
"28. Christ, whom the Father hallowed and sent into the world (Jn. 10:36), has, through his apostles, made their successors, the bishops namely, sharers in his consecration and mission; and these, in their turn, duly entrusted in varying degrees various members of the Church with the office of their ministry. Thus the divinely instituted ecclesiastical ministry is exercised in different degrees by those who even from ancient times have been called bishops, priests and deacons.
Whilst not having the supreme degree of the pontifical office, and notwithstanding the fact that they depend on the bishops in the exercise of their own proper power, the priests are for all that associated with them by reason of their sacerdotal dignity; and in virtue of the sacrament of Orders, after the image of Christ, the supreme and eternal priest (Heb. 5:1-10; 7:24; 9:11-28), they are consecrated in order to preach the Gospel and shepherd the faithful as well as to celebrate divine worship as true priests of the New Testament.
On the level of their own ministry sharing in the unique office of Christ, the mediator, (1 Tim. 2:5), they announce to all the word of God.
However, it is in the Eucharistic cult or in the Eucharistic assembly of the faithful (synaxis) that they exercise in a supreme degree their sacred functions; there, acting in the person of Christ and proclaiming his mystery, they unite the votive offerings of the faithful to the sacrifice of Christ their head, and in the sacrifice of the Mass they make present again and apply, until the coming of the Lord (cf. 1 Cor. 11:26), the unique sacrifice of the New Testament, that namely of Christ offering himself once for all a spotless victim to the Father (cf. Heb. 9:11-28).
And on behalf of the faithful who are moved to sorrow or are stricken with sickness they exercise in an eminent degree a ministry of reconciliation and comfort, whilst they carry the needs and supplications of the faithful to God the Father (cf. Heb. 5:1-4).
Exercising, within the limits of the authority which is theirs, the office of Christ, the Shepherd and Head, they assemble the family of God as a brotherhood fired with a single ideal, and through Christ in the Spirit they lead it to God the Father. In the midst of the flock they adore him in spirit and in truth (cf. Jn. 4:24).
In short, they labor in preaching and instruction (cf. 1 Tim. 5:17), firmly adhering to what they read and meditate in the law of God, inculcating that which they believe, and putting into practice what they preach."
Forgive me for adding the other aspects of ministry. I think it helps to get a general view of the sacraments in the Church.
mscperu gave this follow-up answer on 7/28/2000:
Perhaps the answer to your question is no evident.
So I hast to add the following considerations:
I admit the text is like those emergency rations, very nutritious but very dense. But it tries an explanation of what are the relation of the liturgy and the UNIQUE SACRIFICE of Christ. The point in question is: "Do you accept the concept 'sacrament' and if so, what does it mean to you? Here it says things like "make it present again" and "apply the unique sacrifice" and "once for all".
I respectfully suggest that this is nothing else than obeying Christ's mandate "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." (Luke 22, 19). Do you have an other explanation of what the Church did since the beginnings (Acts 2, 42): "And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer"?
"Sweet is the Providence that Overrules Us." Seton
God bless you
Missionary of the Sacred Heart