2021-08-0819th Sunday in Ordinary TimeRev. Msgr. Michael J. Motta, D.Min.

Pagans offered food to their gods as their form of worship. So too did the Jewish priests who offered animal sacrifices in the Temple.

Catholic worship is the opposite. Jesus, who is God, offered himself to us as food. It is a complete reversal. They offered food to God. God offers himself as food for us. We call this food, Eucharist. Ordinary bread and wine are transformed during the Mass into the very body and blood of Jesus Christ

We can talk about the Mass in different ways. The Mass can be seen as Sacrifice. God sacrifices himself for us. It is a commemoration of what happened on Good Friday when Jesus died on Cavalry. When this sacrifice takes place on a High Altar, it resembles the sacrifices offered by Jewish priests of the Old Testament. When Catholic priests had their backs to the people and said Mass in Latin, it was easier to talk about the Mass as a sacrifice.

In those days, few people went to Holy Communion because they felt unworthy. Because few people went to Holy Communion, the Eucharist became an object of adoration. People adored the presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament. The Eucharist was marched through city streets. They were called "Corpus Christi" processions. Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament was more frequent. People made visits to the Eucharist in the tabernacle. Beautiful Churches were constructed for the same purpose.

We can also talk about the Mass as a Sacred Meal. This would commemorate the Last Supper or the Passover Meal that Jesus celebrated with his apostles on the night before he died. This spirituality becomes more apparent when the priest faces people and speaks in their own language. The altar looks more like a table and people are encouraged to go to Holy Communion as often as possible. In the Early Church, people would take this sacred food home to their sick loved ones who were not able to attend the celebration of the Mass.

Which theology or spirituality is correct? Actually, both of them are because the Eucharist is a profound mystery that cannot be looked upon in only one way.

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