Liturgy & Priesthood

Mass with 2 Protestants and 1 Crucifix

by Steve Ray on November 21, 2020

CrucifixionChurch.jpgA while ago we went to Mass with two Protestants.  As we walked in the door — there it was, as big as life — a CRUCIFIX with the Body of Our Lord hanging over the altar.

I knew what the Protestants were thinking — I used to think the same — “CATHOLICS ARE WRONG, JESUS IS NO LONGER ON THE CROSS, HE HAS RISEN FROM THE DEAD AND IS IN HEAVEN.”  Of course they think Catholics are wrong to keep Jesus on the cross as though he had not risen and ascended into heaven.

Are they right?  Well, YES and NO.  Jesus DID rise and ascend into heaven and He IS glorified at the right hand of the Father and we are mystically seated there with him (1 Pet 3:22, Eph 2:6).  BUT the Catholic Church is ALSO correct to show Jesus on the Cross — not only to remind us of His suffering and death and to show what happens during the Mass — but because in a mystical way He IS STILL on the Cross.

God the Father sits on His throne in heaven.  And what does God see from his throne every time he “opens his eyes”?  He sees Jesus on the Cross!  Really?  Yeah, really!

PassoverLambBlood.jpgJesus is our Passover Lamb (1 Cor 5:7).  In the Old Testament the lambs were slain on Passover to save the Israelites from death.  The lamb was held over the altar, his neck was slashed with a knife and the blood was drained onto the altar.

This is why we have an altar in the Catholic Church! The altar represents the Cross (among other things). An Altar is where a Sacrifice takes place!  Jesus was slain as our Passover Lamb to save us from eternal death and to appease the wrath of God.  That sacrifice is re-presented at the Mass (see my talk Defending the Eucharist!).

Take a look at Revelation 5:5 and ask yourself — what John is telling us?  It reads,

Between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain . . .

LambInHeaven2.jpgWho IS the slain Lamb that is still standing?  Jesus is the Lamb!  Standing on a altar before the throne of God the Father is a Lamb still bearing the wounds of slaugher.  Jesus is that Lamb and he still bears the wounds of His sacrifice. That is what God sees when He “opens his eyes” — Jesus the sacrifice — Jesus on the altar — Jesus on the Cross.

Charles Wesley, the great Methodist minister and hymn writer agrees. In his hymn “Arise, My Soul, Arise” in which he says the very same thing in very poetic terms.

“Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears; The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears, Before the throne my surety stands, My name is written on His hands. He ever lives above, for me to intercede; His all redeeming love, His precious blood, to plead: His blood atoned for all our race, And sprinkles now the throne of grace.”

But wasn’t Jesus crucified once and for all, never to sacrificed for sins again?  Yes, of course!  In   space and time  Jesus was crucified once and for all in AD 30.

In God’s eyes — in eternity which is not limited by space and time — Jesus was crucified before the foundations of the world (see endnote 1) and in “eternity future” He is still seen by the Father as a slain lamb on the alter in heaven, as the crucified Lord on the Cross. All salvation past, present and future is based on this one historical event.

In the Mass, Jesus is NOT re-crucified, but we partake in a mystical way in the re-presentation of the ONE ETERNAL SACRIFICE which is ever before the eyes of the Father (see Endnote 3).

I used to say “Jesus WAS our sacrifice. He cannot be crucified again on Catholic altars, so Catholics are wrong!”  But the Bible says, Yes, he WAS our sacrifice, but he also IS our Sacrifice. Look at what John says in his first epistle:

“[Jesus] is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (RSV-Catholic Edition).
The Protestant NIV renders this “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

ThomasWounds.jpgThe Greek word for IS (eimi) is in the present tense. Today, right now He IS our propitiation, our sacrifice. After His resurrection with His new spiritual body Jesus still has the wounds of his crucifixion (Jn 20:27). He has a body in heaven and still bears the wounds of the Sacrifice. He is presented before God as slain sacrifice — yet now alive.

So, what does God see when He “opens his eyes”?  He sees Jesus on the Cross!  If this is what God sees in heaven, then it is certainly proper for us to show Jesus on a Cross to remind us what he did for us — and to see what God sees every day and has from eternity.  So Catholic are right after all. Suprise!  Surprise!

Creche.jpgBy the way, once a Baptist said to me, “You are wrong, Jesus is no longer on the cross, He is in heaven.”  It happend to be Christmas and I noticed they had a Manger Scene (creche) on their table.  I said, “Why do you have Jesus in the manger?  He is no longer in the manger — he is in heaven.

“And oh,” I said, “isn’t that a cute statue of Mary!  I thought you Protestants considered statues to be idols?  Why do you have a statue of Mary in your house?”

****************************

Endnote 1: There are two ways to translate this verse, but either way it comes out making the point. The best Protestant translations of Revelation 13:8 read: “All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” (NIV – New International Version).
“All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (NKJV – New King James Version).

Endnote 2: Pictures: 1) Crucifix; 2) Passover Lamb slain by the modern day Samaritans; 3) Image of Jesus the Passover Lamb sacrificed on an altar before the Throne of God (could not make out the name of the author) 4) Caravaggio’s famous painting “Incredulity of St. Thomas.”; 5) Creche scene.

Endnote 3: Catechism paragraph 1367:  “The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: ‘The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.’ ‘And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and offered in an unbloody manner. . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory’.”

{ 23 comments }

“Steve, what do you think of the Latin Mass?”

by Steve Ray on September 29, 2020

My friend. Thanks for writing. Here is my simple and uncomplicated answer.

download (2)The Latin Mass is marvelous, a gift of God and the form of the Mass for over a thousand years, and one that Benedict XVI thankfully brought back into wide usage.

The whole Church should be grateful and make full use of this liturgical form. I prefer the ad orientem posture of the priest in the Latin Mass (facing east, as shown in the picture).

However, the Novus Ordo Mass is also beautiful and marvelous when celebrated correctly and reverently. They are both valid and beautiful gifts from God.

The Latin Mass was not the original Mass of the Church. Jesus celebrated the Eucharist in Aramaic/Hebrew. The early Church then developed the Mass using the universal Greek language. Later it was developed in the West using Latin. Latin does not make it the original Mass as some may think.

The problem arises when some people that love the Latin Mass go a bit too far. Some of these good-intentioned folks end up disparaging and rejecting the Novus Ordo. This is not all by any means. Most of those who love the Latin Mass have a perfectly clear understanding of the Mass in both forms. But some then go on to the extreme and reject Vatican II and even recent popes since Vatican II. These few also often judge other’s spirituality and orthodox Catholicism by whether they go or don’t go to the Latin Mass.

These are sometimes referred to as Rad Trads (not traditionalists, which I consider myself, but Radical Traditionalists) and you should avoid them at all cost. Those who follow this course cannot talk about anything else (like playing one key on a piano) and they have no joy.

{ 17 comments }

You may want to send a copy of Cardinal Sarah’s official Vatican pronouncement to your bishop! It is time we stop this craziness and get back to Mass and worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ and fellowshipping with one another. We have been silent long enough. Now Rome speaks out in support of the churches opening and sacraments being open and available again.

Article by Thomas Williams, Sept. 13, 2020 from Rome.

ROME — The Vatican has issued a letter to the world’s bishops urging the resumption of public Sunday Masses, stressing that “it is necessary and urgent to return to the normality of Christian life.”

The letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments to the presidents of the Episcopal Conferences, titled “Let us return to the Eucharist with joy!”, was released on Saturday morning and published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, is pictured at the Vatican in this Oct. 9, 2012, file photo. Cardinal Sarah, the Vatican's liturgy chief, has asked priests to begin celebrating the Eucharist facing east, the same direction the congregation faces. Although not commonplace, the practice is already permitted by church law. Cardinal Sarah made his request during a speech at the Sacra Liturgia conference in London July 5. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See LITURGY-SARAH-ORIENTUM July 7, 2106.

The “community dimension” of Christian worship is essential, the cardinal writes, and constitutes “a fundamental trait of Christian life,” according to Jesus’s teaching that “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

During coronavirus lockdowns, many countries made a distinction between “essential” and “non-essential” activities, often judging public worship as belonging to the latter category, something the cardinal suggests was a mistake.

The Bishops should act firmly to ensure “that the participation of the faithful in the celebration of the Eucharist is not downgraded by the public authorities to a ‘gathering,’ and is not considered as comparable or even subordinate to forms of recreational assemblies,” he writes.

Cardinal Sarah’s words echo those of Cardinal Raymond Burke, a canon lawyer and the former head of the Vatican’s supreme court, who wrote in March that Church leaders must avoid treating places of worship more like cinemas and stadiums than pharmacies and supermarkets, because it sends a message that the sacraments and public prayer are not essential to the lives of Christians.

“In our totally secularized culture, there is a tendency to view prayer, devotions and worship like any other activity, for example, going to the cinema or to a football game, which is not essential and therefore can be cancelled for the sake of taking every precaution to curb the spread of a deadly contagion,” Cardinal Burke wrote at the time.

download“Therefore, we cannot simply accept the determinations of secular governments, which would treat the worship of God in the same manner as going to a restaurant or to an athletic contest,” Burke added.

In his recent letter, Cardinal Sarah also stresses that online streaming is no substitute for public worship as a community since “no transmission is equivalent to personal participation or can replace it.”

“Indeed, these transmissions, by themselves, risk distancing us from a personal and intimate encounter with the incarnate God who gave himself to us not in a virtual way, but really, saying: ‘Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him,’” the cardinal wrote. “This physical contact with the Lord is vital, indispensable, irreplaceable.”

As soon as possible, the cardinal urges, “it is necessary to return to the Eucharist with a purified heart, with a renewed amazement, with an increased desire to meet the Lord, to be with him, to receive him in order to bring him to the brothers with the witness of a life full of faith, of love and hope.”

“We cannot live as Christians without the banquet of the Eucharist, the Lord’s table to which we are invited as children and brothers to receive the Risen Christ himself, present in body, blood, soul and divinity in that Bread of heaven that sustains us in joys and labors of the earthly pilgrimage,” he asserts.

The cardinal also notes that “proper attention to hygiene and safety rules must not lead to the sterilization of gestures and rites, or to spreading, even unconsciously, fear and insecurity in the faithful.”

In this regard, “liturgical norms are not matters on which civil authorities can legislate, but only the competent ecclesiastical authorities,” he insists.

{ 2 comments }

St. Isaiah, Sts. Adam & Eve, St. Abraham, St. Moses – Did you know some Old Testament people are Saints?

July 6, 2020

Today is the Feast Day of St. Isaiah the Prophet.  What? Isaiah is a saint? Yes, and so are many of the heroes of the Old Testament. Adam and Eve have liturgical feast days, so do Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, King David and many others. The Roman Martyrology (1600) lists saints recognized up to that point including […]

Read the full article →

Finally, some bishops push back on the lockdown of churches!!

May 21, 2020

Fox News reports that the Minnesota archdiocese and all the bishops of Minnesota have defied the state’s coronavirus limits on religious gatherings. Civil disobedience in the face of blatant religious repression. Bravo to the bishops of Minnesota — and may all the bishops in the US have the courage to do the same. “In defiance of limits […]

Read the full article →

Coronavirus, Mass, and Catholic Life

March 19, 2020

Coronavirus, Mass, and Catholic Life  by Jimmy Akin First, here is my 15-minute show with John Harper on Relevant Radio discussing how the shutdown is affecting families and what we can do. My segment begins at the 30:00 minute mark. Now to Jimmy Akin’s excellent article: The coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic has produced many questions and controversies, including […]

Read the full article →

If you can’t attend Mass this Sunday, this will be a beautiful streamed Mass

March 14, 2020

  Join the Sisters, live from the Motherhouse. Sunday at 7:30 a.m EDT. The Mass is our greatest act of worship in which the Pilgrim Church on earth is united with the Church in heaven, sharing their worship of the Father. The Mass invites us into the very prayer of the only Son of God. […]

Read the full article →

Old Testament Priests; New Testament Priests – Isn’t Jesus our ONLY Priest Now?

February 17, 2020

This is a common fallacy among Protestants. Now that Jesus has become our high priests, priests are no longer needed; in fact, they detract from the priesthood of Christ. We don’t need priests now because Jesus has become our one and only High Priest. We believers are all priests in the New Covenant. We are the “priesthood […]

Read the full article →

Benedict XVI Breaks Silence

January 12, 2020

New book out on Monday written by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah and published by my publisher Ignatius Press. Can’t wait to read it. FROM THE DEPTHS OF OUR HEARTS: PRIESTHOOD, CELIBACY, AND THE CRISIS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

Read the full article →

Don’t You Wish this Sign was on Every Church Door in the USA?

November 19, 2019

This sign confronts everyone entering the Carmelite Monastery Church of St. Joseph. This was the 1st convent started by St. Teresa of Avila. Don’t you wish it was on every church door in America?   :-)

Read the full article →

Should We Use the Missalette at Mass?

November 15, 2019

From Jimmy Akin’s blog: Richard Becker, who describes himself as a “God-haunted lunatic,” has an entertaining rant against the use of missalettes at Mass. Being a God-haunted lunatic myself, allow me to counter-rant in the same spirit. In his piece, Becker poses a number of arguments against using missalettes at Mass. Let’s take a look […]

Read the full article →

Etiquette at Mass: Reasonable Do’s and Don’ts for Polite and Proper Worship

October 18, 2019

20 Things TO DO And NOT DO at Mass. These are not rules that will get you banished from the Church, but things that are mostly common sense — polite conduct to enhance our worship and that of those around us. 1. Fast before Mass. It is required that one fasts for at least 1 […]

Read the full article →

What is the Earliest a Mass can Start on the Preceding Day to Fulfill the Obligation for a Sunday or Holy Day Obligation?

October 14, 2019

A question on Mass-start times that warrants attention by Dr. Edward Peters Recalling, in the wake of a some recent discussions of Mass obligations, that I had promised some time ago to set out some materials for use in reasoning through another Mass attendance question, I offer some of that now. This question concerns, What is the […]

Read the full article →

Can you guess what this is? St. Paul would have no idea…

October 3, 2019

Take another look. It has two parts. St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians 2,000 years ago and told them how to properly conduct themselves on Sunday morning. He also told them what they were to do at the heart of their liturgy. If you still can’t figure it out, then visit this site where you […]

Read the full article →

Holding Hands at Mass? Fr. John Riccardo’s 4-Minute Answer

September 22, 2019

I hate holding hands at Mass so this 4-minute video sure resonated with me….

Read the full article →

Genuflecting a No-No?

May 5, 2019

Several years ago my wife and visited a new parish (new for us). I genuflected before receiving the Blessed Sacrament. Believe it or not, I was reprimanded by the Extraordinary Minister while he handed me the host. After Mass I spoke with the priest about it and he reprimanded me as well. I told them Quite […]

Read the full article →