The Mass: Miracle or Mendacity
|By: Greg Durel; ©1999|
|The Mass is an important part of Roman Catholic worship. Greg Durel explains what the Mass involves, and how it compares to biblical teaching.|
The Mass: Miracle or Mendacity?
The Mass is the heart and soul of Roman Catholic worship. Without the Mass there would be no Roman Catholic Institution. The Mass is unique to Romanism, for only they teach and believe in the Doctrine of Transubstantiation. This doctrine teaches that when the priest and only a priest says the words of consecration, that the bread and wine are literally changed into the body, blood, soul and divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is then offered again as a sacrifice for the sins of the living and the dead. Rome teaches that it is necessary for one’s salvation to partake of the Mass. Peter Kreeft, in the book Ecumenical Jihad, says the mass is an extension of Calvary’s cross. He states that “Protestant communion” is deficient.
- Eat Protestant communion bread, and you have not eaten Christ. You have no more grace than if you had only prayed or read the Bible. But eat the Catholic Host, and you are really filled with Christ, as really as Mary’s womb was.
As a result of this unbiblical theory, we find chapels of perpetual adoration where a piece of bread is knelt before, prayed to and worshipped. Kreeft gives an excellent argument from logic to reject this false teaching, even though he uses it to try and prove the opposite. He tells of a Muslim student that can not believe that a Catholic really believes that a piece of bread is not bread at all but in reality is Jesus Christ in the flesh. Remember, to deny that doctrine is to be hell-bound according to the Council of Trent as well as Vatican II. The Muslim says that if a person really believes that they were in the presence of the Lord God they would never get up off their knees, much less turn their back on Him and walk out.
The Muslim’s point is well taken and correct. If this miracle has taken place and Catholicism believes that it certainly has:
- The supreme power of the priestly office is the power of consecrating. “No act is greater,” says St. Thomas, “than the consecration of the body of Christ.” In this essential phase of the sacred ministry, the power of the priest is not surpassed by that of the bishop, the archbishop, the cardinal or the pope. Indeed it is equal to that of Jesus Christ. For in this role the priest speaks with the voice and authority of God Himself.
- When the Priest pronounces the tremendous words of consecration, he reaches up into the heavens, brings Christ down from His throne, and places Him upon our altar to be offered up again as the Victim for the sins of man. It is a power greater than that of monarchs and emperors: it is greater than that of the saints and angels, greater than that of the Seraphim and Cherubim.
- Indeed it is greater even than the power of the Virgin Mary. While the Blessed Virgin was the human agency by which Christ became incarnate a single time, the priest brings Christ down from heaven, and renders Him present on our altar as the eternal Victim for the sins of man—not once but a thousand times! The priest speaks and lo! Christ, the eternal and omnipotent God, bows his head in humble obedience to the priest’s command. (Cardinal John A. O’Brien, The Faith of Millions, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., (Huntington, IN 1974), pp. 255-256)
Would anyone leave the physical presence of the risen Savior? I would think not.
The Mass and the Bible—do they agree?
When you ask a Catholic to show you where in the Bible one can find the Lord instituting the Mass, you will be directed to the passages dealing with the “Last Supper”. You will be told that when Christ says the words, “this is my body,” the bread is changed into His body and the same miracle occurs with the wine.
A few years ago, in a dialogue with a “Eucharistic minister,” I was told that, clearly, anyone could see that this was the institution of the sacrament by Christ. I responded by asking him a few questions.
- Is the Mass a sacrifice for sins for the living and the dead. His answer, Yes!
- Did Jesus Christ celebrate the first Mass at the “Last Supper”? His answer, Yes!
- Was it a perfect Mass? His answer, Of course!
- If Christ offered a perfect sacrifice for the sins of the living and the dead at the “Last Supper”, why did He have to die on the cross? And
- How can the Mass be a re-presentation of the Cross when it preceded the Cross? His answer, silence for about two minutes, “No you don’t understand. What Christ did at the ‘Last Supper’ was just pointing to what He would do on the Cross!”
I replied, “You are right and when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper today we are pointing back to what Christ has already done on the Cross for us. ‘For by ONE offering He hath perfected FOREVER….’”
He became very quiet and replied, “I have a lot to think about.”
The intellectually honest person, when reading passages dealing with the last Passover meal that Jesus shared with His apostles, will quickly notice the absence of words such as sin, Sacrifice, offering, Priest, etc. You must force your presuppositions into the text to retrieve the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Mass and the Priesthood.
The Mass and Theology
Whenever a person reads Catholic catechisms or theological works for Biblical proof of the false doctrine of Transubstantiation we are brought to John chapter six without fail.
For the sake of space, let us look strictly at the text involved. Verses 53-56 are used to prove that you are to literally eat His flesh and drink His blood to be saved. Leaving aside the fact that this is unnatural and against Levitical law (cf. Lev. 17), Transubstantiation is disproved by John chapter six.
Firstly, the verbs in this verse are NOT present tense verbs, which they would be if we were to repetitiously partake of His flesh and blood in the Mass. They are, in fact, aorist tense verbs which tells us that, whatever this eating and drinking really is, it is to be done only one time.
Secondly, verse 58 clearly tells us that this is not literal eating at all. Jesus says “NOT AS YOUR FATHERS DID EAT MANNA AND ARE DEAD.” How did they eat manna? Literally! Was the manna physical or spiritual? Physical! So we are not literally eating any literal thing. We are in fact spiritually receiving something SPIRITUAL. If you miss it in verse 58, you get it again in verse 63. Jesus says here that the words that He is speaking are SPIRITUAL! This is why when the apostle Paul is asked the question in Acts 16:30, “What must I do (present tense—literally “do and keep on doing”) to be saved?” He replies, “Believe (aorist tense—literally “believe one time for salvation”) on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved….”
Nowhere in the New Testament does anyone celebrate a “Mass”. It is not some miracle, but is in reality a falsehood, a religious ritual that says the work of Christ on the cross was deficient and incomplete. It should be rejected as all false doctrine should.