The plan for now is to post my bible study notes up here, in case anyone else is interested in what we are covering. This semester the main focus will be on the mass in the beginning.
Some background to the Mass:
Eucharist means “thanksgiving”. I believe that it is a Greek wordMass comes from the Latin word “Missio” which is actually used at theend of mass, to “go forth” – so mass is all about worshiping God and receiving grace so that we can “go forth” into the world and share it!
Hints in Salvation History:
Q: What are some of the signs and hints of the Mass that we see in the Old Testament?
Gen 14:18-20 the priest Malchizedek “Prince of Peace”, the king ofSalem (the future Jerusalem! “City of Peace”), offers a sacrifice of bread and wine to God in thanksgiving. Notice tithing. Psalm 110:4-5 also talks about Malchizedek and someone who “is a priest forever”.. well, Jesus fulfills this prophecy! Check out St. Paul’s commentary on these passages in Hebrews 7:1-17.
Malachi 1:11 A sacrifice everywhere from the rising of the sun to the
setting- just like how there is a Catholic Mass being said at any point of time
around the world
The sacrifices of the Patriarchs of Israel:
Q: Where did we see sacrifices in the Old Testament?
Q: Why would God want people to sacrifice things?
It shows God’s sovereignty, it is an act of thanks, it seals an
agreement or oath, and it could be an act of renunciation and sorrow
Cain+Abel- Gen 4:3-4
Noah- Gen 8:20-21
Abraham- Gen 15:8-10 and Gen 22:13
Jacob/Israel- Gen 46:1
The Passover- Exodus 12
The Manna from Heaven- Exodus 16:4
Three features of the Eucharist:
Q: How is the mass a sacrifice?
We don’t sacrifice animals. Instead we follow Christ’s lead at the
last supper by making present Christ as He sacrificed Himself on the
“In the divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same
Christ who offered himself once in a bloody matter on the altar of the
cross is contained and offered in an unbloody matter.” -CCC
Christ is present in many ways: in the poor, in His Word, in the
sacraments, when two or more people are gathered in His name, but most
uniquely in the Eucharist
The Eucharist isn’t just a symbol but truly is Jesus Christ: body,
blood, soul, and divinity.
Q: Does anyone know what transubstantiation means? How does it make
sense when describing the Eucharist?
Jesus said “This IS my body, this IS my blood”
In the original Passover, not only did you need to sacrifice the lamb
and sprinkle the blood on the wood- notice that, just like the wooden
cross- of the door, but you had EAT the lamb too. In the same way,
with the “new Passover,” we need to participate in the sacrifice.
1 Cor 10:16-17
The main purpose of the Eucharist is so that the faithful can be
united as one with Christ. Think of it as a “spiritual marriage.”
The Eucharist completes Christian initiation, it is “communion” with God.
The goal of the Christian is to be one with God in heaven. Mass brings
us closer to that goal literally. Just as “we are what we eat,” by
receiving the Eucharist we become more like Christ.
Pro-life in Catholicism:
This is rare opportunity for us to talk about the FAITH based reasons
why the Catholic Church is against abortion. So as important as they
are, let’s leave the scientific reasons for another day.
The Catholic Church absolutely has a stance on abortion. “Human life
must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of
conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must
be recognized as having the rights of a person- among which is the
inviolable right of every innocent being to life.” -CCC 2270
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born
I dedicated you.” -Jeremiah 1:5 (p. 804)
“You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise
you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works! My very
self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you, When I was being
made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth. Your eyes
foresaw my actions; in your book all are written down; my days were
shaped, before one came to be.” -Psalm 139:13-16 (p. 628)
“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb” -Luke 1:41
The Church has always been against abortion from the 1st century, as
we can see from the Church Fathers.
“You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the
newborn to perish.” -Didache (the teaching of the 12 Apostles, written
sometime from 40-60 AD)
Thus, you read the word of God, spoken to Jeremias: “Before I formed
thee in the womb, I knew thee.” If God forms us in the womb, He also
breathes on us as He did in the beginning: “And God formed man and
breathed into him the breath of life.” Nor could God have known man in
the womb unless he were a whole man. “And before thou camest forth
from the womb, I sanctified thee.” Was it, then, a dead body at that
stage? Surely it was not, for “God is the God of the living and not
the dead.” -Tertulian
Some go so far as to take potions, that they may insure barrenness,
and thus murder human beings almost before their conception. Some,
when they find themselves with child through their sin, use drugs to
procure abortion, and when (as often happens) they die with their
offspring, they enter the lower world laden with the guilt not only of
adultery against Christ but also of suicide and child murder. -St.
Therefore brothers, you see how perverse they are and hastening
wickedness, who are immature, they seek abortion of the conception
before the birth; they are those who tell us, “I do not see that which
you say must be believed.” -St. Augustine
The right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive
element of a civil society and its legislation. -CCC 2273
Just because abortion wasn’t something that Jesus explicitly talked
about doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t care about. He called us all to
care for the “least of these,” so we should do all that we can to
defend the right to life of all.
Also, check out Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae (human life),
written in 1968. It’s really not a hard read, so I’d highly suggest going straight to the source here if you have any questions on the Church and life issues.