So tonight was Maundy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper, and the Bishop just went on and on about how we have to believe in the Sacrifice of the Mass and Transubstantiation and how people don't talk about it anymore but we have to believe it. Then he lamented over the poor communities that "only" had the bible/gospel and worship and works of charity. Indeed, how sad to think of a biblical community spreading the gospel, worshipping the Lord, and loving their neighbours, what a deficient ecclesial community. Seriously man, it's communion, everyone has it, everyone eats it, and everyone agrees, it tastes like wine and bread (or in parts of the Evangelical tradition, goldfish crackers and cool-aid). He went on and on to quote Trent about the Sacrifice of the Mass, etc. But here's my beef: I think Trent just ratified the Church Fathers - see this proof text/quote mine of Roman Catholic apologetics (http://www.catholic.com/library/Sacrifice_of_the_Mass.asp)
But what does it matter that it is a sacrifice? That's my question. How does that make it any different? Because if you ask Catholics about it they have no answers, and if you look at the Catechism etc, it just says that it's not a 're-sacrificing' so what is it then. It's just a word. Sacrifice. Oblation. It's not even a 'real' sacrifice anyway because it's not taking away anyone's sins, it's like if someone took a picture of the crucifixion and said this is a re-displaying of the Sacrifice, and then everyone bowed down to the photo and we had the Liturgy of the Kodak and we all sat around talking about the Sacrifice of the Photo.
I just don't get it. For me the only reason the Sacrifice of the Mass is at all meaningful is because of the Sacrifice of Calvary. As Bp. N.T. Wright says, 'Jesus didn't give us a theological exposition to understand his death, he gave us a meal'. So I believe it's the body and blood of Christ, because Jesus says so, and if his spirit and body cannot be separated then if he is spiritually present he is bodily present, and all the Church Fathers all unilaterally agree on the Real Presence. So to me, the doctrine's full meaning is that Christ is present with us and actually dwells in us and we receive Him physically.
But what's the point of all the bowing and worship. I mean the Apostles lived with him and they didn't kneel before him / genuflect. They didn't bow down and worship him all the time. No, he washed THEIR feet - which we did tonight. Christ was trampled for our sake. In fact I think it would be a better tradition to take the host and smash it, or stomp on it. Because that's what happened to Jesus. He was pierced for our transgressions, he died for OUR sins. By his wounds we are healed. So why are we going through all of this ritual, Jesus said it himself "For even the Son of Man did not come into the world to serve but to be served and give his life as a ransom for many".
So our thoughts should be, "Jesus died for us", crucifixion, etc. The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ's death, not of the Eucharist. Jesus' purpose was not to eat a meal for the sake of eating a meal. Again it, like all of his life, was pointing to the cross, and our reconciliation and communion with God.
So that's how I feel, and that's why I get frustrated when I have to say the words "I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed of God" for my confirmation, because while I agree with Rome, St. Catharines is a long way from Rome...
St. Thomas Aquinas Pray that we would truly understand the Eucharist, that it would lead us to Christ and not traditionalism and sacramentalism for their own sakes.