Christ draws us to His sacrifice.  We bring Christ and ourselves to the Father at Mass.

Jesus offered his sacrifice to the Father as a man, and as mankind’s priest and representative.  That sacrifice was sufficient for the reconciliation of the entire world.  Nonetheless, Christ willed and wills to associate us with that sacrifice.  St. Paul expresses this truth very strongly when he writes: “Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my fresh what is till lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his Body, which is the Church” (Col 1:24).

By Christ’s will, we bring more than Christ and his offering to the Father.  As sacrificial offerings we also bring ourselves, and our own lives with their joys and sufferings.  Taken up into the sacrifice of Christ, these too become part of the sacrifice of praise ad prop0itiation presented to the Father.  … 

In this way, in each sacrifice, the members of the Body add their own merits to the merits of Christ.  These merits are indeed totally dependent on Christ and come to us because of him and the work of his Spirit in us. (The Hidden Manna, O’Connor, 310)

We join Jesus’ sacrifice for us, with our own sacrifice to Him.

What more do I ask than that you give yourself entirely to Me?  I care not for anything else you may give Me, for I seek not your gift but you.  … 

Offer yourself to Me…and give yourself entirely for God—your offering will be accepted.  Behold, I offered Myself wholly to the Father for you, I even gave My whole Body and Blood for food that I might be all yours, and you Mine forever.

But if you rely upon self, and do not offer your free will to Mine, your offering will be incomplete and the union between us imperfect.  Hence, if you desire to attain grace and freedom of heart, let the free offering of yourself into the hands of God precede your every action.  …

My word stands: “Everyone of you that do not renounce all that he possesses, cannot be My disciple.”  …  If, therefore, you wish to be My disciple, off yourself to Me with all your heart. (The Imitation of Christ, a Kempis, 232)

Mass is a propitiatory offering to the Father.

The Mass, though a commemoration, is not a mere commemoration. In the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ are not simply present as a gift to us. They are also present as an offering to the Father under the appearances of bread and wine. This being so, the sacrifice of the altar is in a true sense one reality with the sacrifice of the cross.

The difference from the sacrifice of Calvary lies only in the manner of offering. For the Mass is a sacramental, bloodless sacrifice, whereas Calvary took place in a blood-stained fashion in the order of natural existence, not in that of signs. (The Holy Eucharist, Nichols, 89)

“Community Meal” cheapens Christ’s sacrificial death

To speak of the Eucharist as the community meal is to cheapen it, for its price was the death of Christ.  And as for the joy it heralds, it presupposes that we have entered into this mystery of death.  Eucharist is ordered to eschatology, and hence it is at the heart of the theology of the Cross.  This is why the Church holds fast to the sacrificial character of the Mass; she does so lest we fail to realize the magnitude of what is involved and thus miss both the real depth of what it means to be human and the real depth of God’s liberating power. (65)

Eucharist means that the Lord’s Resurrection gives us this joy which no one else can.  So, it is not enough to describe the Eucharist as the community meal.  It cost the Lord his life, and only at this price can we enjoy the gift of the Resurrection. (The Feast of Faith, Ratzinger, 150)

Only God could make reparation for an evil against an infinite God.  Christ was born to die for us.

Christ became man in order to be able to offer an expiatory sacrifice to satisfy for all human sins in perfect justice. This was necessary because of the gravity of sin and the impossibility for a man to offer fitting reparation. … [E]very mortal sin involves an infinite evil, a denial of our infinite Benefactor, to whom we owe all honor and reverence. The gravity of sin is proportionate to the honor of the offended party.

The value of satisfaction, however, is determined by the dignity of the party who makes reparation. How could a mere man make satisfaction for an infinite evil, being both finite and rendered ignoble by sin? God, therefore, chose to make satisfaction Himself in our place by taking on a human nature in order to suffer and die in it to expiate the sins of all men. (Eucharist, Feingold, 18)

Christ’s human sacrifice holds infinite, eternal value through His divinity.

Even though the sacrifice of Calvary took place in time, its value is not limited and contained in the past but transcends all times, just as Christ’s priesthood is eternal, transcending the limits of His earthly life.  The sacrifice of the Mass is the preeminent ordinary means of actualizing and applying the fruits of the sacrifice of Calvary, making that bloody sacrifice…active and fruitful in the world today and in every time and place in which the Mass is celebrated.

The reason that the sacrifice of Calvary has a certain eternal power and cannot be limited to that one moment of history is that it is the supreme earthly act of a divine Person.  … (Eucharist, Feingold, 349)

The Eucharist is Jesus’ immolated Body and Blood with the wounds He suffered at His Crucifixion.

Although Christ is not physically immolated in the Mass as He was on the Cross—for He dies no more—He remains for all eternity as the glorious, immolated Victim of Calvary. His Resurrection and Ascension do not undo His glorious Passion. This is manifested in the fact that Christ rose from the dead retaining the glorious wounds of His Passion. It is also manifested in the words of consecration, which speak of His Body as given up for us, and His Blood as poured out…for the forgiveness of sins. (Eucharist, Feingold, 365)

We place our sacrifices with Christ on the altar, the paten, to be offered with Him.

[T]he sacrifices of the Mystical Body are sanctified by the sacrifice of the Head and are offered together with it.  Thus, we can think of the sacrifices of the faithful as being offered on the altar that is the Body of Christ Himself.  For, in the Mass, Christ is ultimately Priest, Victim, and Altar.  The faithful, therefore, can think of putting their personal sacrifices on the paten that holds the Body of Christ and of “offering them up” t o the Father on the “Altar” of Christ’s own Body. (Eucharist, Feingold, 420)

A natural opportunity for the faithful to spiritually unite the sacrifice of their lives with the Mass is during the Offertory, in which the material gifts of the faithful are presented. (Eucharist, Feingold, 421)

Christ wants our sacrifices with Him on the altar.

Although He is a sacrifice of infinite value, Christ does not want to be offered alone! He gave His sacrifice to the church so that we could add our lives, our dreams, our efforts (even when they end in apparent failure and the Cross), our loves and sorrows, out humiliations and trials, our forgiveness and acts of mercy, to be placed on the altar with Him and be offered to the Father with Him. (Eucharist, Feingold, 430)

Sacrifice is first and ennobles Communion.

In this connection of sacrifice and communion, it is important to understand that there is an order: the sacrifice precedes the communion, and the communion is the culmination and fruit of the sacrifice. The communion in the sacrifice presupposes that God has first been propitiated by the sacrifice, which enables the faithful to enter into deeper intimacy with Him. (Eucharist, Feingold, 488-489)

Christ’s sacrifice is present to us.

Christ’s sacrifice is not behind us as a thing of the past.  It touches all times and is present to us.  Eucharist is not merely the distribution of something from the past but is, rather, the presence of Christ’s Paschal Mystery, which transcends and unites all times.  When the Roman Canon cites Abel, Abraham, and Melchisedech and describes them as concelebrants of the men offering sacrifice, Christ was passing through time, or perhaps, more precisely, that in their search they were going forth to meet Christ. (Collected Works, Ratzinger, 555-556)

Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross is not merely our spiritual food. He is our gift to the Father.

By virtue of its close relationship to the sacrifice of Golgotha, the Eucharist is a sacrifice in the strict sense, and not only in a general way, as if it were simply a matter of Christ’s offering himself to the faithful as their spiritual food. … Certainly it is a gift given for our sake, and indeed that of all humanity…yet it is first and foremost a gift to the Father…. (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Pope John Paul II, 13)

The Eucharist is first, a true, real, and substantial sacrifice

The Eucharist is above all else a sacrifice. (#9)

All who participate with faith in the Eucharist become aware that it is a “sacrifice,” that is to say, a “consecrated Offering.” For the bread and wine presented at the altar and accompanied by the devotion and the spiritual sacrifices of the participants are finally consecrated, so as to become truly, really and substantially Christ’s own body that is given up and His blood that is shed.

Thus, by virtue of the consecration, the species of bread and wine re-present in a sacramental, unbloody manner the bloody propitiatory sacrifice offered by Him on the cross to His Father for the salvation of the world. Indeed, He alone, giving Himself as a propitiatory Victim in an act of supreme surrender and immolation, has reconciled humanity with the Father, solely through His sacrifice, “having cancelled the bond which stood against us.” (Dominicae Cenae, Pope John Paul II, #9)

By virtue of the Cross, the Passover becomes a sacrifice.

After the singing of Psalm 118, the fourth cup of wine would be drunk. … This fourth cup of wine was known as the cup of praise—in Hebrew, the hallel cup.  When it was drunk, the Passover meal was complete. (Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist, Pitre, 157-158)

Every other Jewish Passover…would have ended with the celebratory drinking of the fourth cup…  But this Passover was cut short.  This meal was different. (Pitre, 163)

In short, through his words of institution and his prayer in Gethsemane, Jesus has woven his own fate into the completion of the Jewish Passover meal.  When the meal is finished, and the final cup, drunk, it will mean his own death has arrived.  That is why Jesus did not finish the Last Supper.  That is why Jesus didn’t drink the fourth cup. (Pitre, 165)

[B]y refusing to drink of the fruit of the vine until he gave up his final breath, he joined the offering of himself under the form of bread and wine to the offering of himself on Calvary.  Both actions said the same thing: “This is my body, given for you” (Luke 22:19).  Both were done “for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28).  Both were done “as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).  In short, by means of the Last Supper, Jesus transformed the Cross into a Passover, and by means of the Cross, he transformed the Last Supper into a sacrifice. (Pitre, 169)

The Sacrifice of the Mass applies the Redemption won on the Cross to each soul.

[I]n Calvary, Redemption was wrought or purchased, completely, once for all; in the Mass, the efficacy of that Redemption is applied to souls. Again, on Calvary the offering was made by a real bloodshedding and death; in the Mass, it is made without blood or death. …  [I]n the Mass, Christ is offered under sacramental species and not under His own species, and…it only applies the graces of Christ and does not originate them.  (The Holy Eucharist, Hedley, 158)

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