Homily...the Sacrifice of the Mass

In the years following the Second Vatican Council in 1965, there has been a great emphasis on the eucharist as a sacred meal. But I’m not sure that Catholics born after that time have heard about the sacrificial nature of the Mass. In fact, it was (and still is) properly called the “Sacrifice of the Mass.” Today’s scripture on this feast of “Corpus Christi” or the Body and Blood of Christ, speak to this understanding of the Eucharist.

The Temple was at the heart of Jewish worship, from about 1000 BC. The sacrifice of grain or animals was offered here day & night as a sign of thanksgiving, communion & reparation. This “atonement” sacrifice (at-one-ment) is described in the first reading: blood of the lamb or bull was placed in bowls and the other half placed on the altar. The people were sprinkled with it. It was a sign of their “communion” with God. 

Jesus is the new lamb of sacrifice whose blood was offered on the altar of the cross for the sake of our eternal redemption. We drink his blood so that we may be in Communion with him. This is what we do at Mass. We offer the Sacrifice of the Mass for thanksgiving, reparation & communion with the divine.