The Sacrifice of the Mass
Lesson 27 from the Baltimore Cathechism
357. What is the Mass?
The Mass is the sacrifice of the New Law in which Christ, through the ministry of the priest, offers Himself to God in an unbloody manner under the appearances of bread and wine.
For, from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles; and in every place there is sacrifice and there is offered to my name a clean oblation. (Malachi 1:11)
358. What is a sacrifice?
A sacrifice is the offering of a victim by a priest to God alone, and the destruction of it in some way to acknowledge that He is the Creator of all things.
359. Who is the principal priest in every Mass?
The principal priest in every Mass is Jesus Christ, who offers to His heavenly Father, through the ministry of His ordained priest, His body and blood which were sacrificed on the cross.
And having taken bread, he gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is being given for you; do this in remembrance of me." In like manner he took also the cup after the supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which shall be shed for you." (Luke 22:19-20)
360. Why is the Mass the same sacrifice as the sacrifice of the cross?
The Mass is the same sacrifice as the sacrifice of the cross because in the Mass the victim is the same, and the principal priest is the same, Jesus Christ.
361. What are the purposes for which the Mass is offered?
The purposes for which the Mass is offered are: first, to adore God as our Creator and Lord; second, to thank God for His many favors; third, to ask God to bestow His blessings on all men; fourth, to satisfy the justice of God for the sins committed against Him.
362. Is there any difference between the sacrifice of the cross and the Sacrifice of the Mass?
The manner in which the sacrifice is offered is different. On the cross Christ physically shed His blood and was physically slain, while in the Mass there is no physical shedding of blood nor physical death, because Christ can die no more; on the cross Christ gained merit and satisfied for us, while in the Mass He applies to us the merits and satisfaction of His death on the cross.
For we know that Christ, having risen from the dead, dies now no more, death shall no longer have dominion over him. (Romans 6:9)
363. How should we assist at Mass?
We should assist at Mass with reverence, attention, and devotion.
364. What is the best method of assisting at Mass?
The best method of assisting at Mass is to unite with the priest in offering the Holy Sacrifice, and to receive Holy Communion.
364a. How can we best unite with the priest in offering the Holy Sacrifice?
We can best unite with the priest in offering the Holy Sacrifice by joining in mind and heart with Christ, the principal Priest and Victim, by following the Mass in a missal, and by reciting or chanting the responses.
365. Who said the first Mass?
Our Divine Savior said the first Mass, at the Last Supper, the night before He died.