IS THE ROMAN CATHOLIC MASS A SACRIFICE
OR CELEBRATION OF CHRIST'S DEATH?
Many of todays Roman Catholics believe the Mass to be nothing more
than a celebration of Christ's sacrificial death on the cross.
But what are the teachings from the Roman Catholic Mass really saying?
If we look at the parts of the mass we see the Introductory rites,
the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and the
Concluding rite. We wish to look closely at the Liturgy of the
Eucharist. After the Liturgy of the Word, and the profession of
faith, we come to the Liturgy of the Eucharist. All throughout the
Mass the congregation responds to the Priest's prayers.
The Priest begins by saying, "Blessed are you, Lord God of all
creation. Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which
earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the
bread of life."
The simplest meaning of these words are, that 'bread' that God has
provided, and 'human hands have made' will become an offering unto
God. Bread is made from grains, grains are fruit from the ground.
But the Bible says in Genesis 4:3-5, "So it came about in the course
of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the
ground. And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his
flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and
for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had NO REGARD."
Hebrews 9:22 says, "And according to the Law, one may almost say, all
things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is
no forgiveness." God REJECTED the offering from the ground 'fruit of
the ground' (grain or bread) and the work of human hands, but accepted
the offering of blood of a lamb (firstlings of his flock).
The priest continues, "Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine
and work of human hands. It will become our spiritual drink."
Again, this is simply saying, God provided the grapes, and through
man's efforts (work of human hands), this will be offered up to God.
Now the priest says, "Lord God, we ask you to receive us and be
pleased with the sacrifice we offer you with humble and contrite
hearts. (washing his hands, the priest says quietly) Lord, wash away
my iniquity; cleanse me from my sin."
The priest is saying he is also a sinner, and is asking God to accept
this offering/sacrifice for the forgiveness of his own sin.
The priest continues, "Pray, brethren, that our sacrifice may be
acceptable to God, the almighty Father."
This sacrifice has a definite purpose. The forgiveness of the priests
sins as well as the congregation.
The congregation responds by agreeing with the priest that this is a
sacrifice, and praying that God will accept this 'work of human hands'
- this bread and fruit of the vine (grape juice or wine).
"May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and
glory of his name, and for our good, and the good of all his Church."
This is obviously not a celebration but a sacrifice for the
forgiveness of sins of the people and the priest! Every day this same
sacrifice is offered all around the world by priests for sin.
Hebrews 10:10-11 says, "By this will we have been sanctified through
the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every
priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same
sacrifice, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one
sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God,
waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool
for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those
who are sanctified."
Jesus Christ died on the cross ONE time for all. He offered His own
BLOOD as the perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty for sin. Unlike the
sacrifice the priests continually offer, 'which can NEVER take away
sins'. Jesus made this perfect offering of Himself ONE time for all
sin, not daily; thus Jesus 'sat down'.
The Bible says, "For is was fitting that we should have a high priest,
holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above
the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to
offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of
the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up
Himself." Hebrews 7:26-27.
God requires a sinless 'innocent, undefiled' Priest AND a perfect
sacrifice for our sins. The modern day priest is not perfect, and the
sacrifice of bread and wine is still not acceptable to God! These are
all unacceptable because they are fruits of the ground, and not BLOOD.
1 Peter 1:18-19 "knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable
things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from
your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished
and spotless, the blood of Christ." Note 'unblemished' ie. PERFECT.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves, it it the gift of God; not as a result of
works, that no one should boast."
God does not accept the 'work of human hands' for the forgiveness of
our sins. Instead, forgiveness comes as a free gift, which only Jesus
Christ, the perfect High Priest, offers.
At this point you may be saying, "I'm not so bad though, at least not
as bad as some people are". The apostle James said in James 2:10,
"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has
become guilty of all." This simply means if you sinned only one time
and if your priest has sinned one time, one is as guilty as the other.
While on the cross, Jesus Christ said "it is finished". The Mass is
never a complete work, but, rather a continually repeated work of
human hands which God has already rejected.
Hebrews 9:24-28 says, "For Christ did not enter a holy place made with
hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to
appear in the presence of God for us, nor was it that He should offer
Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year
with blood not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer
often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the
consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the
sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die
once and after this comes judgement, so Christ also, having been
offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for
salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him."
Now since Jesus Christ has made the perfect sacrifice for our sins in
the presence of God, and since this sacrifice of Himself is already
completed, why bother God with a sacrifice He won't accept?
In addition, since 'after this comes judgement', don't we really want
to put our faith in a finished sacrifice, instead of one that can't
take away a single sin?
Romans 5:9 "Much more then having now been justified by His blood, we
shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him."
Ephesians 1:7 "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the
forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace,"
A little footnote...to suggest that the bread and wine become the
actual body and blood of Jesus Christ during the Mass, is the same as
suggesting that Jesus lied when He said "It is finished"; or His
sacrifice on the cross was incomplete!
Hebrews 10:29-31 says, "How much severer punishment do you think he
will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has
regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified
and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said,
Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.' And again, 'The Lord will judge His
people.' It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, second person of the trinity, died only
one time for all your sins. He provided absolute proof of His deity
by raising Himself from the dead. You will someday stand before Him,
all alone - and you'll have to give account of your unbelief or your
acceptance of what you've just read. There will be no appeals, no
plea bargaining, and no excuses, just Judgement - and all based on His
Word, the Bible.
Hebrews 7:25-28 sums it all up: "Hence, also, He is able to save forever
those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make
intercession for them; who does not need daily, like those high priests,
to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of
the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself."
Why not by faith, place all of your trust and hope in the perfect sacrifice
Jesus Christ made for your sins nearly 2000 years ago. Repent and Reject
the sacrifice made with human hands - as God already has; and receive God's
own Son into your heart, trusting Him and Him alone for the forgiveness
of your sins and salvation of your soul. Jesus FINISHED the work,
now it's up to you to believe Him, repent of your sin, and receive Him.
All quotes from the Roman Catholic Church are from "The New Rite of
the Holy Mass", Priests of the Sacred Heart, Hales Corners, Wi. 53130
and The New American Standard Bible.
COPYWRIGHT 1987 by Bill Bennett
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