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The holy Eucharist ( The Mass)

05 Feb 2015, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sacraments

The Holy Mass is the greatest of all sacrifices, a beautiful prayer. It is an invitation to participate in the Lord’s Supper and a unique experience of the divine at the foot of the cross. The Holy Mass is God’s gift of love, the gift of himself to us. At the Holy Mass, the Lord comes to us in a special way and feeds us with his body and blood.

The Mass is an amazing sacrament we must truly understand, love, and appreciate. It is very unfortunate that some do not have adequate knowledge of our Catholic faith; when they are asked by none Catholics to show them where it is in the bible, they become confused. Many have failed to understand the rich heritage of the Catholic Church; a Church founded on a rock that cannot be shaken, a Church the gates of Hell cannot prevail against, a Church founded on the faith of the Apostles, a Church that is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. A Church with a very rich heritage and tradition.

By the time you understand the Holy Mass and the Catholic faith, you will fight even with the last drop of your blood to defend it. This is not an attempt to preach the Catholic Church, but to make you understand how much God loves his Church, how much he loves you.

For God, so love the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever
believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent
his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world
might be saved through him
. Jn.3: 16 & 17.
The world can only be saved through the once and for all sacrifice of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. St. Paul tells us that the death of Christ is a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Eph. 5:2.) The Holy Mass is all about this once and for all sacrifice of the body and blood of Jesus Christ; it is all about eternal life; it is about eating and drinking the body and blood of Jesus Christ. We are not ashamed or afraid to talk about it because Jesus was not ashamed or afraid to preach it. While he taught the people in the Synagogue at Caper’na-um, he said that he is the bread of life which has come down from Heaven and that anyone who eats of this bread will never be hungry again and anyone who believes in him will never thirst. This made the Jews murmur and ask questions; is he not Jesus? Is he not the Son of Joseph? Where did he get all these? We know him very well.

Yes, indeed, they knew him as the Son of Joseph but certainly not as the Son of God. They wondered how this person they know very well now tells them that he came down from Heaven. Not just coming down from Heaven but that they must eat his body and drink his blood to have eternal life! This is unacceptable, they said. It is a hard teaching, just the way some Christians find it hard to believe in the mysteriousness of the Holy Mass.

This is truly mysterious; at Mass, ordinary bread and wine are presented, but they are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ by Christ himself, through the hands of the priests. At Mass, gifts are exchanged; man gives ordinary bread and wine while God gives himself. It is a mystery; for those that believe, they need no explanation but, for those that do not believe, no explanation is sufficient. No wonder many Jews rejected it as hard teaching, but Jesus insists:
Truly, truly I say to you unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man
and drink his blood, you have no life in you; for he who eats my flesh
and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the
last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He
who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the
living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats
me will live because of me.
This is the bread which came down from Heaven, not such as the
Fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.

Jn. 6: 53 – 58.

This so-called hard teaching made many of his disciples leave him; it was too hard for them to understand. They tried to understand him before they follow, not knowing that they ought to follow with faith in other to understand. Some people criticize the Catholic Church out of ignorance; they do not really understand the Church nor the truth. It is written; My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).

A none Catholic who attends the Holy Mass for the first time may complain of the kneeling and standing; he or she may get tired of it. That is what happens when you do not know or understand what the Mass is all about. Some would argue that it is monotonous; we repeat the same thing every day. They suggest we need some innovative skills, but the truth remains that he who knows and understands what takes place at Mass sees the Mass as always new; I mean, he is never tired of the experience of the divine at Mass because it is always new.

Even though many Jews rejected the message of Christ, their objection to the truth did not in any way deter Jesus from standing by the truth; he insisted on the truth, he insisted on his words that we must eat his body and drink his blood if we are to have life in us.

Do you take offence at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of
man ascending where he was before? It is the Spirit that gives life, the
flesh is of no avail; the words I have spoken to you are spirit and
life. But there are some of you that do not believe
. Jn. 6:61-64.
“The word I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” Jesus will not lie, he is the living bread which has come down from heaven and anyone who eats his body and drinks his blood will have life in him. This is true, and he will not lie to anyone for any reason. He is God and not man, he will not lie.
God is not man, that he should lie, or a Son of man that he should
repent. Has he said, and will not do it? Or has he spoken and will not
fulfill
? Numbers 23:19
The bible is the word of God, and the Holy Mass is biblical. Jesus instituted the Holy Mass on Holy Thursday and ordered us to do it in his memory (Lk. 22:14-20). The Mass is not just a memorial but a reality; it is an event in the here and now. He did not say the bread is a symbol of his body, but “my body.” The same with the wine.

It is by the Holy Spirit’s power that the ordinary bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ through the hands of the Priests. The priesthood is a gift to the Church; it is the Priesthood of Christ himself. The priests are mere mortals and are only called into the priesthood that is not theirs. They are called, chosen, and consecrated as a vessel to be used. The Holy Mass is not about the priest, but about Christ who acts in and through the priest for the Church’s good.

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