Is He Really Here?
Today’s reading brings into focus a very deep truth of the Catholic Church’s Sacrament of the Eucharist, that sacrament in which Jesus offers himself today in sacrifice at the hands of the priest through the consecrated elements of bread and wine.
Let me explain.
In Hebrews, Chapter 7 (Verses 26-Chapter 8:6), the author emphasizes that Jesus offered himself as sacrifice (for us) “once for all” unlike the high priests of the time that made repeated sacrifices.
When a Catholic Mass is celebrated, the priest is not re-sacrificing Christ at the altar, but, rather, each sacrifice of the Mass “makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Savior and includes the Church’s offering.” (*CCC 1330)
In fact, at the Last Supper, “in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again” Christ instituted the Eucharist, which is the sacrifice of his body, blood, soul and divinity. (CCC 1323)
This profound understanding of the Eucharist means that we are participating in the one sacrifice of Christ at the Last Supper. His passion and death are made truly present to us, a shared moment outside time, an “entering into,” if you will.
That is what the eucharistic sacrifice of Christ is when every Catholic Mass is celebrated—a divine moment that makes present the Real Presence of Christ.
If this act of love by a Father doesn’t make his children respond in gratitude and awe, I’m not sure what more could.
*CCC = Catechism of the Catholic Church