Monday, January 13, 2020

A Biblical Dilemma For Catholic Eucharist Theology

        "As sacrifice, the Eucharist is also offered in reparation for the sins of the living and the dead and to obtain spiritual or temporal benefits from God." (CCC # 1414)

        Interestingly, Hebrews 9:8-9 tells us that sacrifices and gift offerings cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper:

        "The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience."

         The Mass causes the atonement of Jesus Christ to be just like the repetitive Old Testament sacrifices which cannot bring about the perfection of our souls. It is not consistent with the presentation of His work in Hebrews as to the reason for it being superior.


  1. We could see the Mass as the sacrifice of Christ. Since God observes history in its entirety, there is no past, present, or future. We are actually brought back to the sacrifice of Christ. With this idea in mind, the Eucharist would certainly make reparations for sin. It is not a sacrifice of just bread and wine, but Jesus Christ himself. It would also not be a resacrifice of the Lord, but a unification of time, an almost transportation back to the day on Calvary.
    But in any case the Eucharist does not forgive sins on its own procedural or traditional merits. It only gives grace because of its connection with Christ. It harkens back to the sacrifice and grants grace due to this reverence paid to the act of Christ and therefore receives the grace that Christ has achieved for us. It is important to note that all sacraments confer grace only because of Christ’s sacrifice.
    Because the Eucharist is actually identified as Christ, I think the former explanation would be closer, but giving nods to the other. The Mass can not stand alone as a sacrifice (what a silly and cheap sacrifice it would be! Bread and wine?). The Mass is united with the sacrifice of Christ and therefore has the merits of that sacrifice. We are almost transported into the timeless nature of God.

  2. Hello Sean,

    While Scripture mentions believers offering spiritual sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving before God, the Lord's Supper is not presented as a sacrifice but as a simple memorial meal.

    Jesus, while holding the bread and wine, said, "Do this in remembrance of Me." In addition, there is nothing in Scripture suggesting that the communion elements confer grace.

    If the sacrifice of Jesus Christ at Calvary and the sacrifice of the Mass are one and the same event, then why does it have to be continually offered? The Book of Hebrews presents His atonement as being accomplished one time forever, not ongoing.

    Yes, God is beyond time. He is, in fact, its Author. However, Jesus Christ's work was brought to completion at Calvary nearly two thousand years ago. This "once for all" description of His atonement points to it being perfect (in contrast with animal sacrifices).

  3. Sean,

    Transportation back in time?!?!? You've got to be kidding.

    Jesus NEVER said he was to be sacrifice over and over, continually going back in time every week all over the world, rather it was a one-time sacrifice FOR ALL TIME.

    And since Christ was sacrificed hours after the Lord's supper, how can the mass be representing a sacrifice that hadn't happened yet?

    No where did Jesus say that his last meal with the apostles conferred grace or that repeating it would confer grace. That idea was made up by Rome.

    Nowhere in Scripture do we see that the Eucharist actually is Christ, another invention of Rome. If it was actually Jesus, then he was sitting at the Last Supper eating himself! And if it actually him, we all become cannibals.