A few weeks ago I pointed out in one of my morceaux that the main “reason” why we celebrate the Eucharist is because it’s the re-presentation of the one unique sacrifice of Jesus. Who wouldn’t want to be there by the cross that day? In many ways a horrible day, sure, but it really was the most important day in the history of the universe!
Well, at Mass we can be “present to” the sacrifice of our Savior in a real way. The bread and wine are changed into the actual body and blood of Christ, and this is then offered again to God the Father. Jesus’ total gift of self is made real again, right in front of us! And then, just as in the ancient sacrifices of the Hebrews, the victim being offered is consumed: not by fire, this time, but by us, in Holy Communion!
In this way the sacrifice of Christ is now linked inseparably to His Church: we, the followers of Jesus, help or assist in His sacrifice by being involved in it, joining ourselves to it in a way. I find this a powerful motive for “full and active participation” at Mass: I think each of us wants to take some active part in Christ’s saving work. Jesus’ most important ministry lay not in His healings, or teachings, or miracles: it was His total sacrifice for us, and at Mass we get to play a part in helping to make this real again!