Evangelize the Easy Way -
with Icons by Msgr. Anthony La
Explaining the Mass
How much do you value the Mass?
How much did Jesus value the Mass?
“Seek ... and ... Knock”
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice
and opens the door, (then) I will enter his house and dine with him, and
he with me.”
“Wherever the body is, there the
will be gathered together.”
The “eagles” is a reference to those who are
“eagle eyed,” those who see with the eyes of faith. They are the
Christians who see that it is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ that we
receive at Mass, not mere bread and wine.
Many have left the Catholic Church because they
did not understand the Mass. It is crucial that we reach out to
them and explain the beautiful mysteries of God concerning the Mass. We cannot wait for the fallen away Catholics to
come back to us. Many will not come back. We need to go to them. And we
need to reach out to the Catholics who have not yet left the Church, but
who will do so if we don’t reach out to them.
Many people find the Mass boring. This partly
because they don't understand it and the rich symbolism that it
contains. And they don’t know how to pray the Mass. Some have fallen
into the bad habit of just parroting their responses to the priest. It
is easy to be lazy when you don't know what is going on.
The words and symbols of the Mass refer to
certain historical aspects of salvation history, but these are often
unrecognized as well. If a person doesn't put much into the Mass they
will probably not recognize what there is to get out of the Mass. The
more people know about the theological background of the Mass the more
they will know how to apply themselves. They will have a greater
understanding of how to lift up their lives and their struggles to God
in prayer. They will better be able to more actively participate in the
Mass through prayer by expressing their faith in His love and His divine
providence. And so, they will understand the beauty in the Mass and how
to pray it and so they will get much more out of it and recognize what
it is and Who it is they are encountering in the Mass.
Using Msgr. Anthony La Femina’s Icon of the Last
Supper is a great way to start a conversation.
What is the biggest lie
that has ever been told ?
Satan says it, and many people will repeat it
when they say, “I didn't get anything out of the Mass,” as they leave
right after receiving Holy Communion. To refer to God, the Creator of
all that is - visible and invisible - as “nothing” has to be the world’s
Second biggest lie:
God doesn’t love you
Protestants often have a real hard time understanding
the crucifix. This is partly because they sometimes don’t know or accept the roll
of suffering in the Christian life. See
They will often say their cross is empty because
He has risen. And some will even claim that Catholics deny the
resurrection by having the body on the cross. We should point out that
we - and they - often have a figure of baby Jesus at Christmas time. We,
and they, are not claiming that Jesus is still a baby, just that He once
was a baby and it is worth meditating on that beautiful fact. The same
goes for the crucifix. And, why honor the means of his torture while
ignoring the Person who endured it for our salvation.
This Icon points us to how Jesus conquered death
“Now since the children share in blood and flesh, he likewise shared in
them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of
death, that is, the devil, and free those who through fear of death
had been subject to slavery all their life.”
So, now we should not fear suffering or dying to
ourselves as long as we are united to Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Bible studies and songs of praise are great, but
the highest form of worship is the offering of sacrifice to God. This
icon does a great job of leading us into a deeper understanding of this
Sacrifice and what the Mass is about. The crucifix is placed on the
altar. The sacrifice of Jesus, who is our High Priest, is being offered
up to God the Father who receives this perfect, pure, and infinitely
Protestant’s will often quote
“… When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It
is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.
Some Protestant pastors will take this verse out
of context and say that “it” refers to rituals ( or obedience) and
therefore we don’t need the Mass. Others will say “it” refers to our
redemption and salvation.
Scott Hahn points out that this cannot be true
because Paul says in
“ [Jesus] was raised for our justification.”
And some will falsely claim “Once saved always
saved.” Or, as some say, “Jesus did it all and there is nothing left
that I have to do to be saved. It is Finished.”
To this we can respond, “If that were so, then
we would not even have to have faith. It is finished.”
Therefore, we can see that the Protestant
interpretation of what “it” refers to must be incorrect.
I think you will enjoy listening to Scott Hahn
as he explains the real meaning of John 19 and to what the “it” refers.
The Fourth Cup - CD or
The Lamb’s Supper,
Protestant’s will often quote
“Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the
Holy Place yearly with blood not his own; 26 for then he would have
had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it
is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin
by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for men to
die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been
offered once to bear the sins of many…”
They will claim that the sacrifice of Calvary is
over and done with. They will falsely charge the Catholic Church of
trying to repeat this sacrifice. And, they will say that there is no
more sacrifice to offer, so that the whole concept of the Mass is
To this we can respond,
Mass is One Sacrifice Eternally Offered”
Christ does not suffer again in the Mass.
1 Peter 3:18
“For Christ also died for sins once for all …
That same One Sacrifice is made present to us in
The Sacrifice of Calvary is offered once for all
time. The Sacrifice is not repeated because He is the Lamb, standing,
but as though slain, being offered perpetually for all time.
Jesus is our Eternal
“ … You are a priest forever according to the order of
And the definition
of a priest is to offer sacrifice.
“Every high priest is … to offer (to God) gifts and sacrifices
“ … Jesus (also) become the guarantee of an (even) better
Those priests were many because they were prevented by death from
remaining in office, but he, because he remains forever, has a
priesthood that does not pass away. Therefore, he is always able to
save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make
intercession for them.”
And so Jesus lives
forever to continually make intercession for us.
Notice that Hebrews
8 is talking about Jesus, our High Priest in Heaven.
“If then he were on earth, he would not be a priest ...”
And the preceding
verses tell us how Jesus fulfills his Priestly ministry.
“Now every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and
sacrifices; thus the necessity for this one also to have something to
Notice that this
passage says that Christ must “have (present
something to offer.” If Jesus’ offering was only a past event then it
would have been in the past tense.
However, it is present tense because Jesus’ sacrifice is once for all,
that is, once for all time, eternally offered in heaven. Now, looking at
it in fuller context ...
“ ... we have such a high priest, who has taken his seat at the right
hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister of the
sanctuary and of the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up.
Now every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus
the necessity for this one also to have something to offer.”
This denotes the continuation
of Christ’s Priesthood and the perpetual offering of Himself that He
makes to the Father in Heaven. His offering is not over and done with,
rather it is offered once for all time. It is not repeated because it
is never ending. It is eternal. And we see this in Revelations
chapter 5 as well.
The vision of
heavenly worship that John sees in Revelation chapter 4 goes on to say
in the next chapter …
“One of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. The lion of the
tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed, enabling him to open
the scroll with its seven seals.’ Then I saw standing in the midst of
the throne and the four living creatures and the elders, a Lamb that
seemed to have been slain.”
Jesus appears as One
who “seemed to have been slain” because He is eternally offered to God
the Father on our behalf.
There is a prophecy
in Malachi that tells about a pure offering that lasts continually.
“For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting,
my name is great among the nations;
And everywhere they bring sacrifice to my name,
and a pure offering”
The only “pure offering” mentioned above can be God the Son’s
offering of Himself to the Father, the Perfect Sacrifice. This must be a reference to the Mass
which is offered “from the rising of the sun, even to its setting”
that is, continually throughout the world without end. It is the
One Sacrifice of Jesus Christ perpetually offered for all time. 1
Peter tells us how we are to be united in the holy priesthood, the holy
“ … let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy
priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus
1 Corinthians tells
about a very important feast
“Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of
dough, inasmuch as you are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has
been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast …”
If we did not have a
sacrifice to offer than we would have no altar which is for the purpose
of offering sacrifice. However, Corinthians tells us that we do have an
“ Do you not know that those who perform the temple services eat
(what) belongs to the temple, and those who minister at the altar share
in the sacrificial offerings ?”
“We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have
no right to eat.”
The Jews who had not accepted their
Jewish Messiah, those who served the tent, had no right to
eat, that is partake in Holy Communion. But notice
what this verse says we do have.
“We have an altar ... to eat.”
We have an altar because we have the eternal
sacrifice of Jesus being offered up to the Father.
And Paul makes it
clear what it is that we are to eat …
“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in
the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation
in the body of Christ?”
“This cup is the new covenant in my (Jesus’) blood. …
Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord
unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. … For
anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks
judgment on himself.”
should not stay away from our assembly (the Mass), as is the
custom of some, but encourage one another, and this all the more as you
see the day drawing near.
If we sin deliberately after
receiving knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains
sacrifice for sins ...” NAB
(The sacrifice mentioned here is the
perpetual offering of the Sacrifice of Jesus’s Life Death and
Resurrection which we offer at Mass. We need to participate in the Mass
so that we might avail ourselves of God’s grace. This is the only
understanding of the word "sacrifice" that fits the context. It is the
only "sacrifice for sins" which brings redemption and forgiveness. And
if we reject, or ignore it there is no other sacrifice that will take
its place. It is the Holy Spirit who changes the bread and wine
into the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ. )
You - Tube Links
CATHOLICISM - BREAD OF HEAVEN
An exclusive clip is from Episode 7 -
The Mystery of the Church's Sacrament and Worship.
See more notes on
explain the Mass
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