The Eucharist – Sacrifice
(God’s Road Company)
Peace be to you.
The subject of this lesson is the Mass.
It is a continuation of the Eucharist in the last lesson.
- It must be understood at the beginning that the Eucharist may be considered either from the point of view of a Sacrament or from the point of view of a Sacrifice.
Analogy of nature.
In order to understand this distinction because it is rather a technical one, we go back to the analogy of nature.
Every day of your life, you partake of certain foods, the products of wheat, vegetables, fish, meat.
They all enter into the sustenance of your life; they nourish you, they feed you.
But have you ever thought of this other side?
- Before they can ever nourish you, they must be submitted to some kind of sacrifice.
Before they can be the sacrament of your physical life, they must die or be sacrificed. The vegetables must be torn up from the roots, submitted to fire, the purification of waters. Animals must be submitted to the knife. Death, in other words, intervenes before you can live.
- Even nature, therefore, suggests that before you can have a sacrament, you must have a sacrifice.
- Before you can have communion, you must have the sacrifice or the consecration. Now running through nature, too, is this other law, that we live by what we slay. After all, we slay, to some extent, the vegetables and certainly the animals. And when we slay them and they submit themselves to our living, they are transformed into our higher life.
This law seems to be applied even on Calvary.
- Is it not true when we look at that Cross, that we live by what we slay?
Who of us can claim innocence of the crucifixion?
Which one of us can lay his hand upon the Crucifix and say, “I am innocent of the blood of this man.”?
- Our pride is there in crown of thorns, our avarice in the pinioned hands, our carnality in torn flesh and yet, though we are responsible for His death through our sins, He gives us His life. We live by what we have slain.
History of sacrifice:
- We said that our Blessed Lord came to this earth in order to redeem us.
There’s always been an anticipation in history of sacrifice, of this Great Sacrifice.
Man, conscious of his own unworthiness, has taken wheat and grapes and bullocks and doves and sheep and made these things stand for himself. Then he destroyed them in order that there might be some proof before God that he was not worthy to exist in His presence. You see, it was a vicarious sacrifice in the sense that they stood for man.
Sacrifice – Jewish religion:
Now in the Jewish religion, the sacrificial types were ordained by God Himself.
- One of them was the paschal lamb.
- But in all sacrifices, pagan and Jewish, the priest who offered was always distinct from the victim, which was offered. If we call the priest the offerer, he is distinct from the fruit or the animal, which was the offered. The two were never together, always distinct.
- You could point to the priest on one hand, the victim on the other– until our Lord appeared. Our Blessed Lord was both Priest and Victim. He differed from every other sacrifice in the world in the sense that He offered Himself. He gave His own life. He was the offerer and the offered. He took our place – there was still a vicarious sacrifice – He took our place as if the sins were His own.
Now what is the Mass? – Memorial Day
- It is the commemoration of that death and the application of that sacrifice of the Cross to ourselves.
- Because this is rather a new idea perhaps to many, we will have to use an analogy, and the analogy is that of Memorial Day.
All peoples have kept a memoriy of the soldiers who died in battle in order that their memory might evoke piety and love of country. In the United States, we decorate soldiers’ graves on Memorial Day, recalling the sacrifice which they made in order that we might live and be preserved in freedom.
Christ’s Sacrifice – Memorial Act
Now our Blessed Lord died as the great captain of our salvation. He did not come to live, He came to die.
- That was the purpose of His coming, to offer Himself in our stead to undo our infinite guilt. His death in a certain sense was more important than the 33 years of His physical life, because it was His death that purchased our Salvation.
- And the Bloody Sacrifice on the Cross began when He instituted the Last Supper.
Notice the words, now, of our Lord, just before He instituted this memorial. He is going to have a memorial: not DAY, but ACT. And immediately before He institutes this memorial; scripture states,
“Jesus already knew that the time had come for his passage from this world to the Father. He still loved those who were His own whom He was leaving in this world, and He would give them the uttermost proof of His Love”. (Jn 13:1)
The Last Supper
Now He proposes to give that uttermost proof, the Last Supper, which is looking forward to His cross. He is not going to leave the memory of His death to the chance recollection of men, because He knows that men have very short memories. He, is going to, Himself, institute the precise Memorial.
- So on this night before He dies, at the Last Supper, he institutes not a memorial DAY, but a Memorial ACT.
Here we must recall the words of our Lord the last supper. Quoting the Gospel of Luke:
“…Then He took bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them, saying, this is My Body given for you.” ( Mt 26:26-28) Continuing scripture, “Then He took a cup and offered thanks, and gave it to them saying, ‘Drink, all of you of this, for this is my Blood of the New Testament, shed for many to the remission of sins…’”
Thus scripture, at that moment, the substance of the bread became the substance of the Body of Christ, the substance of the wine became the substance of His Blood. Now He says to His Church, and I am quoting scripture, our Lord said, “What I have just done, do you in your turn in commemoration of Me”. ( Lk 22:19)
- Certainly these words mean that if the apostles were to do what He did, they had to be given the power to do it.
Now this night of the Last Supper when our Lord instituted the commemoration of His death, He was looking forward to Calvary on the next day.
- The cross would not be a distinct Sacrifice, it would not be an entirely different oblation, but merely a new presence of the same Sacrifice.
This Last Supper was the unbloody presentation of His sacrifice and the next day would be Bloody when our Blessed Lord went to the Cross.
The Lord said: “Repeat it”
What we have to emphasize here is our Lord said, “Do this. Repeat it, prolong it, extend it through space and time that all may share in My sacrifice.” When we do this, we have the Mass.
Another analogy – magnificent drama:
- Here we invoke another analogy, and all analogies are incomplete, but here we use the analogy of a drama. Suppose that some great playwright wrote a magnificent drama, the greatest one that was ever composed. It might conceivably have been the story of how a whole community of people who were suffering from leprosy were cured of that disease, how they were restored to peace and unity among themselves, and how they all began to live in charity. Suppose, furthermore, that this drama was so well written and presented and acted that it would be a shame if only the people of one city and one theatre and at one moment of time saw it. What a tragedy, we would say, that a drama which did so much for the hearts of men should have no other recall, no other memory than what, say, four dramatic critics wrote about it, telling about the characters, quoting a line here and there.
- Do you think our Lord went through this tragedy of Calvary only once and intended to leave no other memory than what four writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, might say about it?
Of course not!
Road companies of that great drama:
- Just as theatre producers would organize road companies of that great drama, so our Blessed Lord organized road companies, as it were. The great tragedian, Christ, offered His life for the sins of the world in accordance with the script that had been written by His Heavenly Father, and immediately afterwards, in accordance with His instructions, the tragedy of Calvary is repeated throughout the world, thanks to the road companies, as it were, which are playing to packed houses every day, even to this very hour.
This re-presentation, this reenactment of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, applied to our day and to our lives, is the Mass.
Sacrifice of Calvary
In the Mass, the Mystical Body of Christ, actually united to Christ, its head, offers through Him and with Him, the Sacrifice of Calvary.
- As our Blessed Lord in the Last Supper looked forward to the Cross,
so in the Mass, we look back to the Cross and the Last Supper.
Which brings up two questions:
1.) How does the Sacrifice of the Cross differ from the Sacrifice of the Mass?
2.) are the Sacrifice of the Cross and the Sacrifice of the Mass the same?
Let us take similarities, then differences.
First, what are the similarities between the Cross and the Mass?
- This is the basic similarity: there is the same priest in both, Christ, and the same victim in both, Christ.
- Both on the Cross and in the Mass, our Lord is both the offerer and the offered.
That is why scripture says, “…We can claim a great high priest, one who has passed right up through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God. Let us come boldly, then, before the throne of grace to meet with mercy and win that grace which will help us in our needs…” (Heb 4:14-16 ) Note the continuing exercise of His priesthood?
In the Mass, He offers to His Father His sacrifice
- He is pleading as high priest on our behalf. Now here is an image that cannot be pressed too closely, but imagine our Blessed Lord in heaven in His glory, holding out His scars , saying to His Heavenly Father, “See what I suffered for men?” As the Epistle to the Hebrews said, “..If the sacrifices of the Old Testament gave outward purification, shall not the Blood of Christ, Who offered Himself through the Holy Spirit, purify our consciences to serve the living God?..”
- Our Lord is the priest and the victim. Between our sins and His glory, He interposes His Eternal Sacrifice.
Well, you ask, what is the role of the priest, the earthly priest?
He stands at the altar. But when I, for example, offer the Holy Mass, I am merely the instrument of Christ; He offers the Mass. He is the offerer. I am not an instrument like a pencil, but an animated instrument.
- Every priest is the sacramental image of Christ, in Whose Person and with Whose power he utters the words of consecration. We cannot repeat it too often.
Christ is the Priest, Christ is the Victim.
- Now when we are ordained, we receive a power to act by the power of Christ and in His name. We lend our Lord our tongue. We give Him the use of our hands, but the Sacrifice is His.
He is the Priest, He is the Victim.
What now are the differences? Among others, we will mention two.
- The Sacrifice of the Cross was a very bloody Sacrifice, and
- the Sacrifice of the Mass is unbloody,
that is to say,
- on Calvary, those who stood near it saw red rivers of redemption flow from hands and feet and side,
- but in the Mass there is no physical crucifixion.
is symbolically represented under the species of bread and wine.
The second difference, and this is very important.
- On the Cross our Lord was alone.
- In the Mass, the Mystical Body is with Him.
- On the cross our Lord was alone. He redeemed us all. By that sacrificial act He put, as it were, a great deposit in a bank for the spiritually poor of the world. It will only be through the coming of the Spirit that we will be able to draw on that deposit.
- And when the Holy Spirit came and the church began to offer the Mass, then our Lord is not alone. We are with Him. He, the head, makes use of His body.
The Mystical Body is united with Christ
- The Mystical Body is united with Christ, the Head, the Offerer.
- The Mystical Body is united with Christ, the Head, as the Offered.
That is why, when we offer the Mass, the prayers are in the plural. For example, “We, thy servants, Lord, and with us all Thy holy people, offer to Thy sovereign majesty, this Sacrifice.”
- In the Mass, our Lord is no longer the sole priest, no longer the sole victim.
First of all, He has associated with Him, us earthly priests who are the instruments of His power, but He also has victims associated with Him, too, namely the sacrifices and the battles against the Old Adam and the crucifixion of our lusts and concupiscences; in fact, all the trials of the Mystical Body of Christ.
The Mass, then, is not a souvenir.
- When you assist at Mass, it is not just the same as going, for example, to Calvary, and chipping away a rock and saying, “This is a souvenir of the place where our Blessed Lord died.”
No, the Mass is a vision.
It is an action, in Time and in Eternity.
- In Time, because we see it. We see it taking place before our eyes on the altar.
- It is also in Eternity, as regards the value of redemption. All of the merits of our Lord’s death, resurrection, ascension, glorification, are applied to us.
We unite ourselves with that great Eternal Act of Love.
The mass, then is not a distinct sacrifice from the cross.
- If, when the Blessed Mother and St. John and Mary Magdalene, if when they were at the foot of the Cross – they had closed their eyes and merely consecrated on the tremendous mysteries of Love being enacted before their eyes, they would have been assisting at the Mass.
- And if we at the Mass close our eyes and concentrate on that mystery, we would equivalently be with Mary, Magdalene and John at the foot of the cross.
The Mass is not a new sacrifice.
It is the re-presentation in space and then time of the Redemption.
*Why should we be penalized by the Eternal because of the accident of time?
*Are there not women today who want to be Veronicas and to offer veils to the suffering Christ?
*Are there not men like Simons, who want to help Him carry the Cross ( Mt 27:32) and
*do we not want to take our own sufferings to have them united with Him in order that they might be considered part of our expiation for sins?
- It is said that today that science might some day be able to go back and pick up all of the sounds that were ever spoken and ever uttered and ever made in the universe because they exist some place in space.
That means that we might recover the voice of Alexander and Gregory and Demosthenes, and even the voice of Christ.
- But what is that compared to going back and finding and repeating the very Sacrifice of the Cross, of taking the Cross of Calvary, transplanting it into New York, to London, Tokyo, and Berlin and applying the benefits of Redemption to our souls now? What a Mystery of Love!
This IS the Mass.
God love you.
1. In today’s lesson on – The Eucharist – Sacrifice what stood out the most to you?
2. Why do you think Bishop Sheen gave the subtitle “God’s Road Company” to this lesson?
3. How would you explain to someone seeking a deeper understanding of The Eucharist – Sacrifice – The Mass ?
4. Now that you have learned more about – The Eucharist – Sacrifice – The Mass
– what changes do you think this will have in your daily life?
1088. “‘To accomplish so great a work’ – the dispensation or communication of his work of salvation – ‘Christ is always present in his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the Sacrifice of the MASS not only in the person of his minister, ‘the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross,’ but especially in the Eucharistic species. By his power he is present in the sacraments so that when anybody baptizes, it is really Christ himself who baptizes. He is present in his word since it is he himself who speaks when the HOLY Scriptures are read in the Church. Lastly, he is present when the Church prays and sings, for he has promised ‘where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them.”[SC 7; Mt 18:20 .]”
1330. “The memorial of the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection.
The HOLY Sacrifice, because it makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Savior and includes the Church’s offering. The terms HOLY sacrifice of the MASS, ‘sacrifice of praise,’ spiritual sacrifice, pure and HOLY sacrifice are also used,[Heb 13:15 ; cf. 1 Pet 25 ; Ps 116:13, 17 ; Mal 1:11 .] since it completes and surpasses all the sacrifices of the Old Covenant.
The HOLY and Divine Liturgy, because the Church’s whole liturgy finds its center and most intense expression in the celebration of this sacrament; in the same sense we also call its celebration the Sacred Mysteries. We speak of the Most Blessed Sacrament because it is the Sacrament of sacraments. The Eucharistic species reserved in the tabernacle are designated by this same name.”
1332. “HOLY MASS (Missa), because the liturgy in which the mystery of salvation is accomplished concludes with the sending forth (missio) of the faithful, so that they may fulfill God’s will in their daily lives. ”
2042. “The first precept (‘You shall attend MASS on Sundays and HOLY days of obligation.’) requires the faithful to participate in the Eucharistic celebration when the Christian community gathers together on the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord.[Cf. CIC, cann. 1246-1248; CCEO, can. 881 # 1, # 2, # 4.]
The second precept (‘You shall confess your sins at least once a year.’) ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.[Cf. CIC, can. 989; CCEO, can. 719.]
The third precept (‘You shall humbly receive your Creator in HOLY Communion at least during the Easter season.’) guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.[Cf. CIC, can. 920; CCEO, cann. 708; 881 # 3.]”
2180. “The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: ‘On Sundays and other HOLY days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the MASS.'[CIC, can. 1247.] ‘The precept of participating in the MASS is satisfied by assistance at a MASS which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the HOLY day or on the evening of the preceding day.'[CIC, can. 1248 # 1.]”
2192. “‘Sunday . . . is to be observed as the foremost HOLY day of obligation in the universal Church’ [CIC, can. 1246 # 1.]. ‘On Sundays and other HOLY days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the MASS’ (CIC, can. 1247).”
PASCHAL MYSTERY .
429. “From this loving knowledge of Christ springs the desire to proclaim him, to ‘evangelize’, and to lead others to the ‘yes’ of faith in Jesus Christ. But at the same time the need to know this faith better makes itself felt. To this end, following the order of the Creed, Jesus’ principal titles – ‘Christ’, ‘Son of God’, and ‘Lord’ (article 2) – will be presented. The Creed next confesses the chief mysteries of his life – those of his Incarnation (article 3), PASCHAL MYSTERY (articles 4 and 5) and glorification (articles 6 and 7).”
444. “The Gospels report that at two solemn moments, the Baptism and the Transfiguration of Christ, the voice of the Father designates Jesus his ‘beloved Son’.[Cf. Mt 3:17 ; cf. Mt 17:5 .] Jesus calls himself the ‘only Son of God’, and by this title affirms his eternal pre-existence.[Jn 3:16 ; cf. Jn 10:36 .] He asks for faith in ‘the name of the only Son of God’.[Jn 3:18 .] In the centurion’s exclamation before the crucified Christ, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God’,[Mk 15:39 .] that Christian confession is already heard. Only in the PASCHAL MYSTERY can the believer give the title ‘Son of God’ its full meaning.”
512. “Concerning Christ’s life the Creed speaks only about the mysteries of the Incarnation (conception and birth) and PASCHAL MYSTERY (passion, crucifixion, death, burial, descent into hell, resurrection and ascension). It says nothing explicitly about the mysteries of Jesus’ hidden or public life, but the articles of faith concerning his Incarnation and Passover do shed light on the whole of his earthly life. ‘All that Jesus did and taught, from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven’,[Acts 1:1-2 .] is to be seen in the light of the mysteries of Christmas and Easter.”
542. “Christ stands at the heart of this gathering of men into the ‘family of God’. By his word, through signs that manifest the reign of God, and by sending out his disciples, Jesus calls all people to come together around him. But above all in the great PASCHAL MYSTERY – his death on the cross and his Resurrection – he would accomplish the coming of his kingdom. ‘And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.’ Into this union with Christ all men are called.[Jn 12:32 ; cf. LG 3.]”
571. “The PASCHAL MYSTERY of Christ’s cross and Resurrection stands at the centre of the Good News that the apostles, and the Church following them, are to proclaim to the world. God’s saving plan was accomplished ‘once for all'[Heb 9:26 .] by the redemptive death of his Son Jesus Christ.”
618. “The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the ‘one mediator between God and men’.[1 Tim 2:5 .] But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, ‘the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the PASCHAL MYSTERY’ is offered to all men.[GS 22 # 5; cf. # 2.] He calls his disciples to ‘take up (their) cross and follow (him)’,[Mt 16:24 .] for ‘Christ also suffered for (us), leaving (us) an example so that (we) should follow in his steps.'[1 Pet 2:21 .] In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries.[Cf Mk 10:39 ; Jn 21:18-19 ; Col 1:24 .] This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the MYSTERY of his redemptive suffering.[Cf. Lk 2:35 .] Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.[St. Rose of Lima: cf. P. Hansen, Vita mirabilis (Louvain, 1668).]”
638. “‘We bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this day he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus.'[Acts 13:32-33 .] The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by Tradition; established by the documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the PASCHAL MYSTERY along with the cross:
Christ is risen from the dead! Dying, he conquered death; To the dead, he has given life.[Byzantine Liturgy, Troparion of Easter.]”
654. “The PASCHAL MYSTERY has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life. This new life is above all justification that reinstates us in God’s grace, ‘so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.'[missing] Justification consists in both victory over the death caused by sin and a new participation in grace.[Cf. Eph 2:4-5 ; 1 Pet 1:3 .] It brings about filial adoption so that men become Christ’s brethren, as Jesus himself called his disciples after his Resurrection: ‘Go and tell my brethren.'[Mt 28:10 ; Jn 20:17 .] We are brethren not by nature, but by the gift of grace, because that adoptive filiation gains us a real share in the life of the only Son, which was fully revealed in his Resurrection.”
1067. “‘The wonderful works of God among the people of the Old Testament were but a prelude to the work of Christ the Lord in redeeming mankind and giving perfect glory to God. He accomplished this work principally by the PASCHAL MYSTERY of his blessed Passion, Resurrection from the dead, and glorious Ascension, whereby ‘dying he destroyed our death, rising he restored our life.’ For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth ‘the wondrous sacrament of the whole Church.”[SC 5 # 2; cf. St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 138, 2: PL 37, 1784-1785.]
For this reason, the Church celebrates in the liturgy above all the PASCHAL MYSTERY by which Christ accomplished the work of our salvation.”
1076. “The Church was made manifest to the world on the day of Pentecost by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.[Cf. SC 6; LG 2.] The gift of the Spirit ushers in a new era in the ‘dispensation of the MYSTERY’ the age of the Church, during which Christ manifests, makes present, and communicates his work of salvation through the liturgy of his Church, ‘until he comes.'[1 Cor 11:26 .] In this age of the Church Christ now lives and acts in and with his Church, in a new way appropriate to this new age. He acts through the sacraments in what the common Tradition of the East and the West calls ‘the sacramental economy’; this is the communication (or ‘dispensation’) of the fruits of Christ’s PASCHAL MYSTERY in the celebration of the Church’s ‘sacramental’ liturgy.
It is therefore important first to explain this ‘sacramental dispensation’ (chapter one). The nature and essential features of liturgical celebration will then appear more clearly (chapter two).”
1085. “In the liturgy of the Church, it is principally his own PASCHAL MYSTERY that Christ signifies and makes present. During his earthly life Jesus announced his PASCHAL MYSTERY by his teaching and anticipated it by his actions. When his Hour comes, he lives out the unique event of history, which does not pass away: Jesus dies, is buried, rises from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father ‘once for all.'[Rom 6:10 ; Heb 7:27 ; Heb 9:12 ; cf. Jn 13:1 ; Jn 17:1 .] His PASCHAL MYSTERY is a real event that occurred in our history, but it is unique: all other historical events happen once, and then they pass away, swallowed up in the past. The PASCHAL MYSTERY of Christ, by contrast, cannot remain only in the past, because by his death he destroyed death, and all that Christ is – all that he did and suffered for all men – participates in the divine eternity, and so transcends all times while being made present in them all. The event of the Cross and Resurrection abides and draws everything toward life.”
1094. “It is on this harmony of the two Testaments that the PASCHAL catechesis of the Lord is built,[Cf. DV 14-16; Lk 24:13-49 .] and then, that of the Apostles and the Fathers of the Church. This catechesis unveils what lay hidden under the letter of the Old Testament: the MYSTERY of Christ. It is called ‘typological’ because it reveals the newness of Christ on the basis of the ‘figures’ (types), which announce him in the deeds, words, and symbols of the first covenant. By this re-reading in the Spirit of Truth, starting from Christ, the figures are unveiled.[Cf. 2 Cor 3:14-16 .] Thus the flood and Noah’s ark prefigured salvation by Baptism,[Cf. 1 Pet 3:21 .] as did the cloud and the crossing of the Red Sea. Water from the rock was the figure of the spiritual gifts of Christ, and manna in the desert prefigured the Eucharist, ‘the true bread from heaven.'[Jn 6:32 ; cf. 1 Cor 10:1-6 .]”
1104. “Christian liturgy not only recalls the events that saved us but actualizes them, makes them present. The PASCHAL MYSTERY of Christ is celebrated, not repeated. It is the celebrations that are repeated, and in each celebration there is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that makes the unique MYSTERY present. ”
1115. “Jesus’ words and actions during his hidden life and public ministry were already salvific, for they anticipated the power of his PASCHAL MYSTERY. They announced and prepared what he was going to give the Church when all was accomplished. The mysteries of Christ’s life are the foundations of what he would henceforth dispense in the sacraments, through the ministers of his Church, for ‘what was visible in our Savior has passed over into his mysteries.'[St. Leo the Great Sermo. 74, 2: PL 54, 398.]”
1166. “‘By a tradition handed down from the apostles which took its origin from the very day of Christ’s Resurrection, the Church celebrates the PASCHAL MYSTERY every seventh day, which day is appropriately called the Lord’s Day or Sunday.'[SC 106.] The day of Christ’s Resurrection is both the first day of the week, the memorial of the first day of creation, and the ‘eighth day,’ on which Christ after his ‘rest’ on the great sabbath inaugurates the ‘day that the Lord has made,’ the ‘day that knows no evening.'[Byzantine liturgy.] The Lord’s Supper is its center, for there the whole community of the faithful encounters the risen Lord who invites them to his banquet:[Cf. Jn 21:12 ; Lk 24:30 .]
The Lord’s day, the day of Resurrection, the day of Christians, is our day. It is called the Lord’s day because on it the Lord rose victorious to the Father. If pagans call it the ‘day of the sun,’ we willingly agree, for today the light of the world is raised, today is revealed the sun of justice with healing in his rays.[St. Jerome, Pasch.: CCL 78, 550.]”
1171. “In the liturgical year the various aspects of the one PASCHAL MYSTERY unfold. This is also the case with the cycle of feasts surrounding the MYSTERY of the incarnation (Annunciation, Christmas, Epiphany). They commemorate the beginning of our salvation and communicate to us the first fruits of the PASCHAL MYSTERY. ”
1173. “When the Church keeps the memorials of martyrs and other saints during the annual cycle, she proclaims the PASCHAL MYSTERY in those ‘who have suffered and have been glorified with Christ. She proposes them to the faithful as examples who draw all men to the Father through Christ, and through their merits she begs for God’s favors.'[SC 104; cf. SC 108, 111.]”
1182. “The altar of the New Covenant is the Lord’s Cross,[Cf. Heb 13:10 .] from which the sacraments of the PASCHAL MYSTERY flow. On the altar, which is the center of the church, the sacrifice of the Cross is made present under sacramental signs. The altar is also the table of the Lord, to which the People of God are invited.[Cf. GIRM 259.] In certain Eastern liturgies, the altar is also the symbol of the tomb (Christ truly died and is truly risen). ”
1200. “From the first community of Jerusalem until the parousia, it is the same PASCHAL MYSTERY that the Churches of God, faithful to the apostolic faith, celebrate in every place. The MYSTERY celebrated in the liturgy is one, but the forms of its celebration are diverse. ”
1239. “The essential rite of the sacrament follows: Baptism properly speaking. It signifies and actually brings about death to sin and entry into the life of the Most Holy Trinity through configuration to the PASCHAL MYSTERY of Christ. Baptism is performed in the most expressive way by triple immersion in the baptismal water. However, from ancient times it has also been able to be conferred by pouring the water three times over the candidate’s head. ”
1260. “‘Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the PASCHAL MYSTERY.'[GS 22 # 5; cf. LG 16; AG 7.] Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.”
1344. “Thus from celebration to celebration, as they proclaim the PASCHAL MYSTERY of Jesus ‘until he comes,’ the pilgrim People of God advances, ‘following the narrow way of the cross,'[AG 1; cf. 1 Cor 11:26 .] toward the heavenly banquet, when all the elect will be seated at the table of the kingdom.”
1621. “In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the PASCHAL MYSTERY of Christ.[Cf. SC 61.] In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up.[Cf. LG 6.] It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but ‘one body’ in Christ.[Cf. 1 Cor 10:17 .]”
1670. “Sacramentals do not confer the grace of the Holy Spirit in the way that the sacraments do, but by the Church’s prayer, they prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it. ‘For well-disposed members of the faithful, the liturgy of the sacraments and sacramentals sanctifies almost every event of their lives with the divine grace, which flows from the PASCHAL MYSTERY of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ. From this source all sacraments and sacramentals draw their power. There is scarcely any proper use of material things which cannot be thus directed toward the sanctification of men and the praise of God.'[SC 61.]”
1681. “The Christian meaning of death is revealed in the light of the PASCHAL MYSTERY of the death and resurrection of Christ in whom resides our only hope. The Christian who dies in Christ Jesus is ‘away from the body and at home with the Lord.'[2 Cor 5:8 .]”
2177. “The Sunday celebration of the Lord’s Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church’s life.
‘Sunday is the day on which the PASCHAL MYSTERY is celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church.'[CIC, can. 1246 # 1.]
‘Also to be observed are the day of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Ascension of Christ,
the feast of the Body and Blood of Christi,
the feast of Mary the Mother of God,
her Immaculate Conception,
the feast of Saint Joseph,
the feast of the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul, and the feast of All Saints.'[CIC, can. 1246 # 2: ‘The conference of bishops can abolish certain holy days of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday with prior approval of the Apostolic See.’]”
1110 In the liturgy of the Church, God the Father is blessed and adored as the source of all the blessings of creation and salvation with which he has blessed us in his Son, in order to give us the Spirit of filial adoption.
1111 Christ’s work in the liturgy is sacramental: because his mystery of salvation is made present there by the power of his Holy Spirit; because his Body, which is the Church, is like a sacrament (sign and instrument) in which the Holy Spirit dispenses the mystery of salvation; and because through her liturgical actions the pilgrim Church already participates, as by a foretaste, in the heavenly liturgy.
1112 The mission of the Holy Spirit in the liturgy of the Church is to prepare the assembly to encounter Christ; to recall and manifest Christ to the faith of the assembly; to make the saving work of Christ present and active by his transforming power; and to make the gift of communion bear fruit in the Church.