Monday, April 24, 2006

Back to Basics: Uniting Past, Present, and Future

The Catholic Church professes that the Mass isn't just a reenactment of the Last Supper, when Jesus took bread and wine and said the words, "This is My body," and "This is My blood," (Matthew 26:26-29). More than a ceremonial reenactment of an ancient ritual, the Mass combines past, present, and future at the same time.
  • Past: The exact words and elements that Jesus used at the Last Supper on Holy Thursday are used faithfully and precisely.
  • Present: The Mass brings grace, nourishment, and instruction for the people who are present.
  • Future: It foreshadows the sacred banquet in heaven. Jesus often spoke of a heavenly banquet or wedding feast where guests would be well fed, lasting for eternity and surviving well after the world ends.
The Mass is pivotal, because it transports the participants back in time to Christ's Last Supper with his apostles, Christ's Passion and death on the cross, and his Resurrection and the empty tomb on the first Easter Sunday. The same words that Jesus spoke at the Last Supper are used to consecrate the same things that Jesus used back then — bread and wine — during the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist. The same sacrifice is offered — namely, the Son is sacrificed to the Father on behalf of all humankind. The same risen Christ comes to enter the souls of each person at Holy Communion when the congregation eat and drink his living (risen, not dead) flesh and blood.
Catholicism for Dummies by John Trigilio

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