Anti-Catholics often charge that Catholics “re-crucify” Jesus through the sacrifice of the Mass.
If we were, that would be a problem, because the Bible repeatedly indicates that Jesus suffered and died “once for all.”
What’s really going on here?
How should we understand the relationship of the Mass to the sacrifice of the Cross?
Question from a Reader
Some time ago, I got the following question from a reader:
You know the way non-Catholics always say we are re-doing the crucifixion at every Mass.
I want to say, “No, we’re re-doing the Last Supper (as He said to do).”
At the Last Supper, Christ is pre-presenting the Calvary sacrifice, so if they could participate in it ahead of time, why can’t we participate in it after that time?
So my question is: Is it accurate to say that the Mass is a re-enactment of the Last Supper, rather than of the crucifixion?
There’s a sense in which it’s a re-enactment of both, but I think the reader is on to something here. The way a current Mass re-enacts the two is not the same.
Last Supper, Crucifixion, Mass Today
To flesh out the idea, we need to consider the relationship between three events:
· The Last Supper (a.k.a. The First Mass)
· The Crucifixion
· Any particular Mass being held today
Obviously, all three of these are related to each other, but the nature of the relationship differs.
The Masses (the first one and contemporary ones) make present the sacrifice of the Cross in a special sense.
The Catechism Speaks