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Sacrifice of the Mass

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Definition:   The priest, after speaking the words of consecration, offers the physical body and blood of Jesus on the altar.  These ongoing sacrifices (and the eating of Jesus by the faithful Catholic) provide the spiritual nourishment needed to achieve salvation. The sacrifice also expiates some of the temporal penalty for sin. The sacrifice of the Mass is the pinnacle of the Catholic liturgy. Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross is brought forward in time and is presented again and again on Catholic altars – but in an unbloody manner. The value of the sacrifice is infinite, but the ability to apprehend the benefit is finite. The sacrifice has greater or lesser worth depending on the piety of the recipient of the sacrament. Therefore Masses are offered repeatedly for the ongoing justification of the Catholic. Since the sacrifice removes some of the temporal penalty for sin, the Mass is of tremendous value to the souls in purgatory who must passively rely on the intercession of the Church enter heaven. For this reason, Catholics are encouraged to offer Masses for their departed loved ones (see Mass Cards).

Discussion: The Bible is very explicit in stating that the sacrifice of Jesus was offered once for all time (Heb. 9:26-28). The Sacrifice of the Mass is a repetitive offering that denies the efficacy of Christ’s completely sufficient sacrifice. The priest “calls down” Jesus to the Catholic altar to be sacrificed for the faithful. But the Bible states that Christ had offered a single sacrifice for sins, and is now seated at the right hand of God (Heb. 10:12). Multiplied sacrifices offered again and again can never take away sin (Heb. 10:11).

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