One of the beliefs that many non-Catholic Christians find impossible to accept is the Catholic Mass due to their misunderstanding of the Catholic Mass and the Sacrifice of Jesus. By their erroneous belief they claim at Mass Jesus is continually "re-sacrificed," and also claim the Catholic Church wants to keep Jesus dying by displaying Him on the Cross. I can't count how many times I have been told Jesus said, "It is finished!," before He expired on the Cross. (John 19:30)
The true teaching to the Catholic Mass is, Jesus' ONE TIME bloody sacrifice on the Cross at Calvary is MADE PRESENT. Jesus cannot die again. At the Last Supper He commanded His apostles to MAKE PRESENT His sacrifice in remembrance of Him until He comes again. (Luke 22:19; 1Corinthians 11:26)
Because God is not bound to our earthly time nor to our earthly calendar what took place at Calvary and what takes place at Mass is the same moment and the same sacrifice to God. There is NOT a new sacrifice of Jesus at Mass, but His one-time sacrifice at Calvary is MADE PRESENT. It was Jesus who commanded His sacrifice be made present until He comes again. He said, "DO THIS..."
In Exodus, God commanded the Israelites to kill a lamb without blemish and mark their doorposts with the lamb's blood to spare the life of their firstborn child, and eat the lamb. (Exodus 12:1-13) In verse 22 hyssop was used to dip in the lamb's blood to mark the doorposts. In the New Covenant, Jesus becomes our unblemished and spotless Lamb for the sacrifice of our sins. John the Baptist called Jesus "The Lamb of God" who takes away the sins of the world. (John 1:29;36).
Jesus' sacrifice as our the Lamb of God didn't begin at Calvary, but began in the Upper Room for the Passover Sedar, the night of His arrest. In the Jewish Passover celebration, 4 cups of wine are celebrated.
The 4th and last cup is the completion of the Passover celebration. All 4 cups symbolize the freedom and redemption that God gave to the Jews from the Egyptian slavery. "I will bring you out...I will deliver you...I will redeem you...I will take you as my own people..." (Exodus 6:6-8)
The first cup is called the cup of sanctification...the second cup is deliverance...the third cup is redemption...the fourth cup is the cup of restoration. The third cup of wine at the blessing of the bread and wine is the cup of "redemption."
After Jesus blessed the bread and wine, He said over the third cup, "Drink of it...this is my blood of the covenant...." (Matthew 26:28) The fourth and last cup after singing the psalms (the Hallel) would be the completion of the Passover celebration and asking God in prayer to accept the Sedar.
However, after they sung (Hallel), Jesus and His disciples went out to the Mount of Olives without drinking the fourth cup and completing the Passover celebration. (Matthew 26:30) Jesus said after the third cup, "...I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." (Matthew 26:29) After they had sung a hymn they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Jesus didn't drink that 4th and last cup of wine. His sacrifice as our true Lamb of God was not yet finished. In a place called Gethsemane, He asked His Father with a sorrowful soul, "My Father, if it is possible, let this CUP pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou will." (Matthew
The "cup" He's speaking about would be the completion of His sacrifice as our true Lamb of God that began in the Upper Room. At Calvary on the Cross He refused wine to drink. (Matthew 27:34) Again, His Sacrifice as our Lamb of God, has not yet come to a completion.
And then before He expired on the Cross He said, "I thirst," received wine vinegar on a sponge on a hyssop (the 4th and last cup), and said, IT IS FINISHED, and bowed His Head and gave up His spirit. (John 19:28-30) Jesus' Sacrifice as our true Lamb of God began in the Upper Room at the Last Supper (Passover Sedar), and came to its completion on the Cross at Calvary.
His Sacrifice for our sins as our unblemished paschal lamb IS FINISHED. But our salvation has yet to come at His Resurrection. St. Paul said if Jesus had not risen our faith would be in vain. (1Corinthians 15:17) So Jesus' Words, "It is finished," wasn't in reference to our salvation.
His Words, "It is finished," was only referring to His sacrificial death as the true Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Now what do we do after the true Lamb of God died for the sacrifice of our sins? If we go back to Exodus of the Old Covenant that Jesus fulfilled, we see God also commanded His people to EAT the lamb.
The sacrifice wouldn't be complete if they only killed the lamb, marked their doorposts with the lamb's blood, and then tossed out the lamb without eating it.
There wouldn't be salvation of God for their firstborn. They would wake up to find their firstborn dead. God commanded them to EAT the lamb. Jesus, as our true Lamb of God, also commands us to EAT Him. (Matthew 26:26-27).
At Mass, Jesus' one-time bloody sacrifice that began in the Upper Room and came to a finish at Calvary is MADE PRESENT. And we are called to God's Table (the Altar) to EAT the true Lamb Jesus.
Our participation at Mass is being at Calvary. Calvary and Mass are the same moment with God. God is not bound to our earthly time. The Catholic Church teaches, "The celebration of the Eucharist transcends time and space." St. Paul takes Jesus' past sacrifice and the present time of our participation and speaks of it as one and the same event.
St. Paul says, "For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. [past tense] Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with old leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." [present tense] (1Corinthians 5:7-8).
St. John in his revelation saw Jesus as "a Lamb" after His Crucifixion.
"Now I saw the Lamb..." (Revelation 6:1)
Jesus' Last Supper and His Cross at Calvary is one complete sacrifice. Jesus commanded that His sacrifice that began in the Upper Room at His Last Supper be re-presented until He comes again because He continues to give Himself to us for the salvation of our soul as the unblemished Lamb of God.
The Mass and the Holy Eucharist (the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ) was prophesied by the Prophet Malachi: "For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a PURE OFFERING; for my name is great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts." (Malachi 1:11)This is not a new Catholic interpretation to the the prophesy of the Prophet Malachi, but was also the interpretation of our early Church fathers such as Justin Martyr.
"Hence God speaks by the mouth of Malachi, one of the twelve [prophets], as I said before, about the sacrifices at that time presented by you: 'I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord; and I will not accept your sacrifices at your hands: for, from the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, My name has been glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to My name, and a pure offering: for My name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord: but ye profane it.'
He then speaks of those Gentiles, namely us, who in every place offer sacrifices to Him, i.e., the bread of the Eucharist, and also the cup of the Eucharist, affirming both that we glorify His name, and that you profane ." [JUSTIN MARTYR DIALOGUE WITH TRYPHO, Chapter XLI [A.D. 100-165]
God did away with symbols in the Old Covenant. In the New Covenant God gives us the true Sacrifice and the true Lamb of Jesus Christ for the salvation of our souls.