Q. Is the Mass a communal meal or a sacrifice?
A. It is both. First, it is a re-presentation of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. At the mass, the scrim of time is pulled away and we communally leave “Now” and enter the precincts of the Eternal. Everything looks normal. But, the spiritual reality is that we are transported “back in time” to the foot of the Cross, with Holy Mary and St. John, as well as, the angels and archangels. All present themselves to adore our Blessed Lord’s sacrifice at calvary.
And then, in obedience to Jesus, we partake of a communal meal of His body and blood under the appearance of bread and wine.
“Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” John 6: 53-58
Q. Then, is Jesus dying over and over?
A. No. “For Christ… died for sins once for all” (I Peter 3:18)
The sacrifice of Christ happened once, in time, and is an historical fact. Unlike the sacrifices in the Old Testament, Christ’s sacrifice is eternal. It is we, who are in time, who must return over and over in thanksgiving to adore Him and be nourished for our journey to heaven.