The Eucharist as a Sacrifice

The Graces Derived from Holy Mass

The Scriptures | The Church Fathers Speak

"In every place a sacrifice is made and a pure oblation offered to my name, says the lord of hosts" (Mal 1:11)


In order to grasp the reality of the sacrifice of the Mass we must keep in mind two primary points; 1. That Christ came not to destroy the law or the prophets but to be there perfection and completion.

It is for this reason that Christ would affirm "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them."

2. That the Sacrifice of the Mass, is only a relative 'sacrifice' in that it is related to the one and only sacrifice of Christ on Calvary.

Firstly; as regards the first point, namely that Christ is the fulfilment of all that was prefigured before him; in grasping this point we can understand the reality of how Christ perfectly fulfils the things that came before Him in his own person. For example in this regards specifically; it is clear from the Old Testament that the Jews, by divine command, were bound to offer daily two lambs, one year old, and without spot, as a Holocaust, one in the morning and the other in the evening and with them flour sprinkled with oil and wine for libation. This was called the daily sacrifice, or the everlasting Holocaust, because it was offered daily without intermission (Exodus 29:38). This daily sacrifice, or perpetual Holocaust of the Old Testament, was a image or figure of the Sacrifice of the Mass in the New Law; for as in the Old, a lamb without blemish was offered, so in the New is offered Christ, who is the Lamb without spot; "Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world.' (Jn 1:29). As the lamb was offered in the Tabernacle, so is Christ the Lamb of God, offered on the altars of the Catholic Churches throughout the world. As the Lamb was offered daily, so is Christ the everlasting Sacrifice offered daily upon our altars (Daniel 12:11). As the lamb was offered morning and evening, so Christ continues to be offered from the beginning of the world even to the end (Apocalypse 13:8); for although He was not really slain from the beginning of the world, yet it may  be said that he has been so, by obedience and desire. As the lamb was offered, with flour and wine, so is Christ daily offered, under the appearance of bread and wine.

The Sacrifice of Paschal Lamb

The Sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb was instituted by God, a little before the going out of the children of Israel from Egypt. It was celebrated for the first time on the day before their departure, in the evening; and the Lord commanded that this sacrifice should be offered every year afterwards, on the fourteenth day of the first month in the evening. The lamb to be offered should be a he lamb, one year old and without blemish, that is, it should be healthy and without disease of any kind (Exodus 12:3).

The Jews alone had the privilege of eating the paschal lamb; a privilege never extended to strangers, unless previously circumcised (Exodus 12:43); for, as circumcision was a prefigure of baptism, and in the New Law no one can participate in the sacrifice of the altar, unless he be baptised; so in the Old Testament, no one could eat of the paschal lamb, which is a prefigure of the sacrifice of the Mass, unless previously circumcised. It was offered to commemorate the benefits which the Jews obtained on the night which followed the immolation of the paschal lamb in Egypt; for there God slew all the first born in  Egypt, leaving the first born of the Jews unhurt, and delivering them from the captivity of Pharaoh (Numbers 9:6) This mystically represents Christ, who was immolated for the redemption of the human race. To this St. Paul alludes when he said "Christ our Pasch is sacrificed" (1 Corinthians 5:7). For by the immolation of the paschal lamb, and the sprinkling of the blood upon the door-posts, the Israelites were liberated from the captivity of Pharaoh, and from the sword of the destroying angel, so by the immolation of Christ upon the cross, and by the effusion of his blood, mankind are freed from eternal death and the slavery of the devil. As the lamb was slain in the evening, so did Christ die for us after the lapse of the four thousand years. As the lamb was immolated by the whole multitude of the children of Israel, so was Christ put to death,  the whole multitude of the Jews crying out, 'Crucify him, crucify him.'

As the lamb was a male, one year old and without blemish, so was Christ strong in suffering in the prime of manhood, and without any blemish or stain of sin. As a bone was not to be broken of the lamb, so neither were the limbs of Christ broken on the Cross (Jn 19:33).

St. Paul to the Corinthians : (1 Corinthians10)

Therefore, my beloved, shun the worship of idols. I speak as to sensible men; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

Notice how St. Paul draws a parallel pagan sacrifices and the Eucharist; the former is offered to demons, the latter to God: ``By eating the meat of animals offered to Yahweh, Jews participated in the sacrifice and worship in his honor; and by receiving the body and blood of the Lord, Christians unite themselves to Christ; similarly, those who take part in idolatrous banquets are associating themselves not with false gods--which have no existence-- but with demons. ''Thus, the Eucharist is a sacrifice to God. It is not a new sacrifice, but a continuation of our Lord's self-immolation, Which transcends all time and place. In communion, a Christian receives our Lord and also offers himself to the Lord: it is an exchange of persons. To the early Christians this exchange must have been painfully obvious, since their participation in the Eucharistic feast implied their willingness to confess Christ even to death.

The Cross is the only sacrifice we Christians know. Yet we are told that, in the kingdom of the Messiahs, "in every place a sacrifice is made and a pure oblation offered to my name, says the lord of hosts" (Mal 1:11).The holy Eucharist, then, is a true sacrifice, the same sacrifice as that of the cross. It is the same victim, offered by the same High Priest: it is the same offering. Yet the Eucharist is not merely the memory of a sacrifice; it is itself a sacrifices complete. It adds nothing to the one sacrifice, offered once for all; it is that sacrifice. Christ, our high priest, who lives ever to make intercession for us (Heb 7:25), continues in the Eucharist the act of oblation begun on the first Good Friday. In every sacrifice there are two elements, the slaying of the victim, and the act by which this victim is offered to God. The slaying of the victim is in no sense repeated; if it were, there would be some ground for looking on the Mass as  at least a repetition of the sacrifice. But the victim, our lord, was slain once only on the cross, that can never be repeated; "Christ risen from the dead dies no more; death has no more power over him" (Rom 6:9).What continues now is the offering of that victim, slain once outside the city in the reign of Tiberius. Nor is the Eucharist a repetition; it is a  continuation of the same act of oblation. Our Lord offered himself for us  on the Cross; he did not cease to make that act of offering when the soldier pierced his side; living always as priest to intercede for us, he still offers to his Father, through the ministry of his priests, the Body Broken, the Blood shed once and for all then . So we show forth the death of the lord till he come (1Cor. 11:26).

We have an Altar (Hebrews 13:10) Professes St Paul, by this we come to  understand that he as a minister of Christ continually offers sacrifice, (the sacrifice of the new covenant) for an alter is useless without a sacrifice, but indeed we do have a sacrifice it is the Sacrifice of the new law, it is  the body and blood of Christ (the Eucharist) which is Sacrificed for us  to be consumed, for Christ has proclaimed lest you eat my body and drink my blood you will have no life in you (John 6:51). It is interesting to note that all the ancient Religions all offered sacrifice and that it was done by a priest, that is because this is what remained of the truth taken from Adam that had been corrupted.

One thing that must be understood and that is Christ is not being re-crucified but in the mass we are present at Calvary, Christ indeed was as sacrificed once and fall, as it is an un - bloodied sacrifice, as we spiritually  become present at the foot of the Cross on Calvary. We see this in the book of the Apocalypse (Chap 6) as John says, "I saw a lamb standing there as though it had been slain." The conquering king, the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David ruling and reigning in the new and glorified Jerusalem, up in heaven, and when you see him what's he look like? A lamb, looking as though he'd been slain. Why? Because that is what St, John saw in spirit on the Lord's Day up in heaven. This is what you see in the spirit on the Lord's day (at Mass) down on earth, a Eucharistic liturgy. Further we read in  the book of revelations that "An angel came and stood before the alter, having incense that he should offer of the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of God. And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of  the angel" (Rev 8:4). This shows us not only in the mass are our prayers offered up to god, but that truly a holy Sacrifice of Christ is offered on our alters as what need then has the angel of standing before the alter unless a Holy Sacrifice were to take place on it?


* Christ is the Sacrificial Gift. - * Christ is  the Sacrificial Gift.

* Priest represents Christ on the cross. - * Christ is  the Priest and Victim Altar. on the Cross.

* Glorifies GOD Our Father. - * Glorifies God the Father.

* "Do this in memory of Me"  - * Jesus offers Himself to His (that His Body would be  given), Father - clearly a Sacrifice.

* Priest is Christ during the consecration  - *Christ is Priest in offering Consecration at the Altar - and Himself, and is also Victim who is also Victim in the on the Cross. Eucharist.

The Sacrifice of the Mass is identical with the Sacrifice of the Cross, for there is the same Priest, the same Victim, the same Offering.

The remission of sins and the meriting of grace was accomplished once and for all by the Sacrifice of the Cross. The Sacrifice of the Mass applies these Graces to the individual.

The Mass is a means given us by Christ to be present with Him at Calvary, to kneel before Him in the Tabernacle, to draw close to Him and plead with Him. Through the Mass, our acts of adoration, praise, thanksgiving, atonement, satisfaction and petition receive a new and special efficacy.