As our consideration of the Eucharist continues, but before we begin to examine the actual rituals of the Mass, I think it=s a good idea to understand why we celebrate this wonderful sacrament. Probably most people see the reception of Holy Communion as the main purpose of the Mass, but that=s not really the first and foremost reason!
No, the first reason we celebrate the Eucharist is because the Mass is the re-presentation of Christ=s own sacrifice of Himself. It is the Amemorial@ of our Savior=s own Passover: it keeps present to us His own death-and-resurrection. Since nobody=s yet invented a time-machine, we can=t go back and witness the one unique bloody sacrifice of Jesus on the cross almost 2,000 years ago. But we can witness the non-bloody re-creation of that important event. We can be there!
Every Mass, even at Christmastime or on other occasions when some other sacred event or Christian theme is prominent, is a special re-presentation of that one key event in the history of salvation: the total self-giving of the Lord Jesus in His death. Although the Catechism of the Catholic Church is more eloquent in describing this (nos. 1362-1367) it=s something each of us should be able to understand and describe in our own words!