The Mass – the Catholic version of the Lord’s Supper
- The RC system states that it is a sacrifice. They claim that, when the priest consecrates the bread and the wine, these become the body and blood of Christ. Here it is defined:
“The Holy Eucharist in which, after consecration, our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, is truly, really and substantially present under the species of bread and wine, and a whole and perfect Christ is contained in each kind, and in every part thereof. Furthermore, that in the Holy Eucharist, a true and propitiatory Sacrifice is offered for the faithful, both living and dead”.
Let us see why this is religious hocus-pocus.
- The symbolism is obvious.
If I show you a photo of myself and say: “This is me”, you know that it is only paper with dots of ink on it, but that it represents me. So the Lord said: “This is my body which is for you”. It was obvious that it was a symbol. A child plays out the story of David and Goliath – he waves a stick, and says that it is his sword.
- Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice, once for all. See Hebrews 10:10, “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all”; verse 12, “But he, having offered one sacrifice for sins, sat down in perpetuity at the right hand of God”; verse 14, “For by one offering he has perfected in perpetuity the sanctified”. Read also Hebrews 9:24-28, where the emphasis again is on the one action; verse 28, “thus the Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many”.
- The Lord’s Supper is not the subject in John 6:48-58. [He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life eternal.] The Supper had not been established at that point. In John 6, the eating and drinking involve apprehending, or feeding on, or digesting, or assimilating the truth involved in Christ’s death, and its meaning for each one of us. There is not the space to go into detail here.
- Bread and wine remain the same.
The priest alone drinks the wine. After conducting three Masses, one after another, priests have been known to become intoxicated. Now if the wine had become Christ’s blood, this would not happen. Scripture instructs us to abstain from blood anyway (Acts 15:20).
Another has said that “We do not arrive at the truth of God by common sense, but the truth will not offend common sense”.
- Rome calls it a sacrifice and a sacrament. Another has pointed out that it cannot be both. A sacrament is given to man by God; a sacrifice is offered by man to God. What is offered in a sacrifice is partly or wholly given up, whereas a sacrament remains.
Whichever way you look at it, this teaching by Rome is nonsense.
Traditions of the Fathers. The Lord was scathing in condemning the Pharisees, the Ritualists of that day. In Mark 7:1-23, we get His message. In verse 9, “Well do ye set aside the commandment of God, that ye may observe what is delivered by yourselves to keep”. Some of the early church Fathers were godly men, but they introduced things that were additions to the Scriptures. This infers that Scripture is not enough and leads to the authority of man displacing that of the Scriptures. I have seen this happen elsewhere.
Apostolic Succession. Apostles were foundational – see Ephesians 2:20 and 3:5, and 1 Corinthians 3:10. Neither Paul nor Peter envisaged apostles succeeding them. When Paul gave his parting address to the elders of Ephesus in Acts 20, he did not promise any more apostles to protect them from the departure that was coming. Rather, in Acts 20:32, he committed them “to God and the word of His grace”. Peter, in 2 Peter 1:15, speaks of his departure and their being able to call to mind the things spoken. In both his case and Paul’s, this would be presumptuous of them if there were to be apostles succeeding them.
Prayers to Mary and “Saints”. The adoration of Mary.
Luke 1:28, “Hail, thou favoured one! The Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women” - not above women. Even then, the clause “blessed art thou among women” is questionable. The Darby translation puts square brackets around it to indicate that its authenticity is doubtful, and the NASB omits it altogether. In any case, God alone is the object of worship. The angel twice rebuked the apostle John for this, see Revelation 19:10, and 22:9. The (formerly) blind man in John 9:38 did homage to Jesus and it was accepted because He is God.
The Church Teachings.
Teachers teach and preachers preach, for the edifying of the body, see Ephesians 4:11-12; the church is never said to do these things.
Vestments, incense, candles and all the other paraphernalia.
All these belong to the Jewish order, the old covenant. Hebrews 9:1, “The first therefore also had ordinances of service, and the sanctuary, a worldly one”. That is, the first tabernacle system was suited to a religion of the flesh. Later, in chapter 10:1 we are told that “It was a shadow of the coming good things”. Now that we have the substance, why go back to the shadows? It is evident, that as the inward life declines, emphasis is placed on the outward forms. These forms require no moral exercise.
Confessional. James 5:16, “Confess therefore your offences to one another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed” – not to some unmarried priest.
Holy Days. In Colossians and Galatians we are warned against the keeping of days. It is a Judaizing principle. We have the thing, why occupy with shadows.
Purgatory. After death, things are fixed. In Luke 16 we get an insight into Hades, the place of departed spirits. But there is no going from one side to the other, it is a fixed state. See also Ecclesiastes 11:3, “and if a tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there shall it be”. Fixed and final.
Indulgences. The R.C. concept of purgatory after death leads to the practice of granting indulgences – the soul of a departed believer is supposed to get a remission of a certain number of days in purgatory, per favour of the Pope or his delegates. If the Pope has authority to release persons from purgatory, why in the name of Christian charity doesn’t he release them all?
Church Organization.A hierarchy appropriate for the Roman army, or any other major worldly organization, is unknown in the New Testament for the church of God.
MM July 2008