catholic mass

Question from carol on 10/7/2007:

when and how did the mass begin and where in the catholic bible can it be found?

Thank you for your response.

Answer by Matthew Bunson on 10/14/2007:

The Eucharist is “The source and summit of the Christian Life” (Lumen Gentium, 11); the Eucharist is the sacrifice of the Mass and the sacrament in which Christ is really and truly present and is received under the appearances of bread and wine. Other names for the Eucharist are the Lord’s Supper, table of the Lord, breaking of the bread, the unbloody sacrifice, daily bread, the most blessed sacrament, the sacrifice of praise, Holy Communion, and agape.

The Sacrament of the Eucharist was described by the Second Vatican Council: At the Last Supper, on the night when he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the Sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, No. 47). (CCC 1322-1419.)

The place of the Last Supper is identified as a large upstairs room, termed the Cenacle (Lat. cenaculum, “supper room”), in a house in Jerusalem (Mk. 14:15; Lk. 22:12), probably the same location as the upper room where the Apostles stayed after the Ascension and before Pentecost (Acts 1:13). The accounts of the Last Supper are preserved in the three Synoptic Gospels (Mt. 26:20-29; Mk. 14:17-25; Lk. 22:14-38) and John (chap. 13), but they provide few details as to the physical circumstances of the meal. Jesus sent Peter and John to Jerusalem to make arrangements for the meal (Mt. 26:17-19; Mk. 14:12-16; Lk. 22:7-13). The participants likely ate reclining at the table (Jn. 13:25).

The Eucharist was instituted by Christ at the Last Supper. In doing so, the Savior fulfilled his own promise made earlier in his public ministry, to give himself as the “Bread of Life” (Jn. 6:26-59). The accounts of the institution are found in Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:19-20, and 1 Corinthians 11:23-25. In John, the institution is omitted, although he leaves no doubt as to his Eucharistic references in the Bread of Life discourse (chap. 6).

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