The Book of Hebrews chapter 10 tells us why we should attend Mass,
the Eucharistic Liturgy.
Hebrews 10:3-29 (Explanatory comments added in parenthesis.
The reference to the ceremonial laws of the Old Covenant
colored in red, and the aspects of the
Covenant are in blue.
Biblical verses are preceded by their verse number in
3 But in those sacrifices there is only
a yearly remembrance of sins,
4 for it is impossible that
the blood of bulls
and goats (according to the
ceremonial laws) take
5 For this reason, when he (Jesus Christ) came
into the world, he said:
"Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body
and sanctified) you prepared for me;
holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight in.
7 Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll,
Behold, I come to do your will (infused
righteousness), O God.’"
8 First he says,
"Sacrifices and offerings,
holocausts and sin offerings, you neither desired nor delighted
in." These are offered according to the law.
9 Then he says, "Behold, I come to do your
will." He takes away the first to establish
the second (the
10 By this "will," we have been consecrated through the offering
of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
(Christ died only once. His Life, Death,
and Resurrection is offered to our Heavenly Father in reparation
for our sins. God the Father, who created time, is not constricted
by it like we are. For Him there is no past or present, there is
only the eternal now. Everything is present to Him. Jesus is
offered to Him once for all time as it is continually present to the Father.
Our participation in the Mass makes present to us the Heavenly Liturgy
of the Son being offered to the Father. The Sacrifice of the Mass
makes present this one Sacrifice of Jesus Christ - His Life, Death, and
Resurrection - into our time that which is perpetually offered to
the Father. It is not a repetition of the offering because you cannot
repeat that which never ends.
Revelation 5:6 "Then I saw
standing in the midst of the throne and the four living creatures and the
elders, a Lamb that seemed to have been slain." This perpetual
offering was prophesied in Malachi 1:11 "For from the rising
of the sun, even to its setting, my name is great among the nations;
And everywhere they bring sacrifice to my name, and a pure offering;
For great is my name among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.
(This pure offering that is offered everywhere from the rising to the setting
of the sun is the offering of this perfect Sacrifice of Jesus to the Father.
Jesus died on the cross, but His Sacrifice must be offered to the Father.
And this is always done on the Altar.
Hebrews 13:10 "We have an altar from
which those who serve the tent have no right to eat." RSV
Those of "the tent" are the priest’s of the Old Covenant.
1 Corinthians 5:7-8 "For our paschal
lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate
the feast…" NAB)
…19 Therefore, brothers, since through the
of Jesus (the Eucharist) we
have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary
20 by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil,
that is, his flesh (the
21 and since we have "a great priest over the house of God,"
22 let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, with
our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies
washed in pure water. (Baptism)
23 Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope,
for he who made the promise is trustworthy.
24 We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works.
25 We should not stay away from our assembly
Mass), as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, and
this all the more as you see the day drawing near.
26 If we sin deliberately after receiving knowledge of the truth,
there no longer remains sacrifice for
(The sacrifice mentioned here is the perpetual
offering of the Sacrifice of Jesus’s Life Death and Resurrection which
we offer at Mass. We need to participate in the Mass so that we might
avail ourselves of God’s grace. This is the only understanding of
the word "sacrifice" that fits the context. It is the only "sacrifice
for sins" which brings redemption and forgiveness. And if we reject,
or ignore it there is no other sacrifice that will take its place.)
27 but a fearful prospect of judgment and a flaming fire that is
going to consume the adversaries.
28 Anyone who rejects the law of Moses is put to death without pity
on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
29 Do you not think that a much worse punishment is due the one
who has contempt for the Son of God, considers unclean the covenant-blood
by which he was consecrated, and insults the spirit of grace?
(In the RSV verse 29 reads "…profaned the blood of the
covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace?"
To profane - to consider unclean - means to make it ordinary as opposed
to that which belongs in the Temple and is consecrated to God. It
is the Holy Spirit who changes the bread and wine into the Body and the
Blood of Jesus Christ. )
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