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What if I told you the Mass is Scriptural?

What if I told you the Mass is Scriptural?

To answer this question we must first look at the Old Covenant (Old Testament) as a foreshadowing of what was fulfilled in the New Covenant (New Testament) in Jesus.

Our first glimpse of a priest is found when Abraham met Melchizedek, the King of Salem (Jerusalem) who was a priest of God of the highest heaven, who brought him bread and wine. (Gen. 14:18) This prefigured Jesus the new high priest in the New Covenant.

Then during the Passover (Exodus 12: 6-13) we see unleavened bread, and the blood of unblemished lambs being sprinkled on the lintels of the doors with hyssop branches so that the Angel of the Lord could spare the lives of the Israelites. While in the desert the Israelites ate manna which was "bread from heaven". This prefigured and was fulfilled in Jesus in the New Covenant when He said: "I am the living bread which has come down from heaven, he who eats this bread will live forever, and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world (John 6:51)..not like the bread the Israelites ate in the desert, they are dead, but anyone who eats this bread will live forever. (John 6:58) the blood of the unblemished lamb prefigured The sinless Jesus who was "the lamb of God".

Isaac the beloved and only son of Abraham prefigured the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. They were both the "only beloved sons" of their fathers. Isaac carried the wood on his shoulders, while Jesus carried His own cross, Isaac went along trusting his father implicitly, Jesus trusted His Father to the end. Both sacrifices took place on a Jerusalem hill and Abrahams journey took three days, both fathers received their sons back on the third day.

As early as the second century we have the witness of St. Justin Martyr for the basic lines of the order of the Mass (the Eucharistic Celebration). The structure has stayed the same through the ages down to our own day. Around the year 155 St. Justin wrote to the pagan Emperor explaining what Christians did: "On the day we call the day of the sun, all who dwell in the city or country gather in the same place. The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read... Then all rise and offers prayers for ourselves and others...then we have the kiss of peace...then the bread and wine mixed with water are brought to the presider who prays over these gifts and all present say Amen. Then the deacons give those present the "Eucharistic' bread, wine and water and take them to those who are absent.

This structure of the liturgy has been preserved throughout the centuries down to our own day. It displays two great parts that form a fundamental unity:
-The gathering, the Liturgy of the Word, with readings, homily and general intercessions for sins;
- the liturgy of the Eucharist, with the presentation of the bread and wine, the consecratory thanksgiving, and communion.
This is the same movement as the paschal meal of the risen Jesus with his disciples. He walked with them and explained the scriptures to them and sitting with them at table He took bread blessed it and gave it to them:

"While they were at table, He took bread in His sacred and venerable hands, and blessed, and broke, and gave to His disciples, saying: "Take and eat; this is My Body." In like manner, taking the chalice, He gave thanks, saying: take and drink for this is my Blood of the New Covenant, which will be shed for many for the remission of sins". (Matt. 26:26-28) Every time we celebrate Mass these words of consecration are repeated and Jesus Himself is present.

After Jesus' resurrection on the road to Emmaus the disciples recognised Jesus in the breaking of the bread, after He had explained the Scriptures to them. So "word" was followed by "the breaking of the bread".

In the book of Exodus we see the Israelites at the Passover killing an unblemished lamb without broken bones (not one of Jesus' bones was broken); we also see the blood sprinkled on the doorway with a hyssop bush (this same bush was used to offer Jesus wine mixed with vinegar); they had to eat that lamb and in John 6 Jesus explicitly declares that He is the new Passover lamb who must be consumed like the original Passover sacrifice.

Some people say that we re-sacrifice Jesus at every Mass...what we do is a re-presentation of the once-and-for-all sacrifice of Christ on the cross. At the last supper Jesus said "Do this in remembrance of me".(Luke 22:19) the Greek word "remembrance" (anamnesis) literally means "the making present of a past event".

What we do in the Mass has deep roots in the Old Testament. In fact Peter said that the precious blood of Christ offered as an unblemished lamb was part of God's plan from before "the foundation of the world" (1 Pet 1:19-20)

In the Acts of the Apostles the early Christian community remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles.. To the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. (Acts 2:42)

Finally in the book of Revelation we see John worshipping on Sunday (the Lords day). (Rev. 1:10) Someone resembling a high priest in vestments tells him to record what he sees. There are references to altars and incense. Chapter 2:17 says "to him who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna...We hear "Holy, Holy, Holy" also known as the Sanctus which is part of our liturgy today. A great multitude in heaven cries out the Alleluia: " Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God..." (19:1-6)

By assuming the flesh of man, Christ brought heaven down to earth and joined the two forever in the most intimate way. In His very flesh He perfected, fulfilled and transformed the ancient Israelite worship. He is both priest and victim. We now participate in the heavenly liturgy with the angels and saints!

2nd SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR B - TRANSFIGURED