The Sacrifice of the altar is no mere commemoration of the Sacrifice of the Cross. It is the one and same Victim; the same Person who now offers it, by the ministry of His priests, Who then offered Himself on the Cross; the manner of the offering alone is different. The priest is the same: Jesus Christ, Whose sacred person, the priest represents.
The Victim is the same: our Divine Redeemer in His human nature with His true Body and Blood. On the Cross He willingly offered Himself to God by a bloody death. On the altar, as Christ is glorified and death cannot touch Him, the shedding of His Blood is impossible. By Divine Plan, by the transubstantiation of bread into His Body and wine into His Blood, both His Body and Blood are present. The Eucharistic species under which He is present, symbolize the actual separation of His Body and Blood. Thus, the Sacrifice of Calvary is repeated in every sacrifice of the altar. The purpose of Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary and the Sacrifice of the Mass are the same.
1. PRAISE: To give glory to the heavenly Father: To perpetuate this praise members of the Mystical Body are united with their Divine Head, and together with Him, together with the Angels and Archangels, they offer praise and honor
and glory to the Father Almighty.
2. THANKSGIVING: To give thanks to God. Only the Divine Redeemer, as the Father’s beloved Son, could offer a worthy return of gratitude. This He did at the Last Supper and on the Cross. This He continues in the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar.
3. EXPIATION: No one was more qualified to make satisfaction, expiation, and reconciliation to God for all the sins of the whole world than was Christ.
4. PETITION: Christ on the Cross, replacing man, offered “prayers and supplications with a loud cry and tears, and He was heard,” as St. Paul says. On the altar likewise He is our Mediator with God, in the same effective manner, so we may receive every grace and blessing. The merits of the Sacrifice of the Cross are limitless for they are meant for all
men of every time and place.
“The Sacrifice of the Altar is the supreme instrument whereby the merits won by our Redeemer on the cross are distributed to the faithful. As often as Mass is offered, the work of our redemption is wrought.” This, the Council of Trent [1545-63]
declares: “Man needs the continual help of the Blood of the Redeemer.”
Sycamore Tree is a weekly column written by “Zacchaeus”, a pen name for longtime Guam Catholic Daniel Bradley.