Re-presenting the sacrifice of Christ

It is said that at Mass the priest does not re-sacrifice Christ but only re-presents (i.e. makes present again) the sacrifice of Christ.
The priest initiates the Eucharistic prayer by saying, “Pray, brethren, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father”.
So now it’s my sacrifice, not just Christ’s?
Now, I know that this usually comes right after we have given money into the collection basket, and also had a representative of the congregation bring the gifts of bread and wine to the priest symbolically on all our behalf.
But there seems to be more than that going on when we all reply, “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of His name, for our good, and the good of all His holy Church”.
If the priest is making present again the one and only, once and for all sacrifice of Christ, and we are a part of that sacrifice now–“my sacrifice and yours”–then if we are a part of that sacrifice now, we must have been a part of that sacrifice then!
Might it not be said that the priest is making us present to this sacrifice that we are already in a sense part of?
Christ cryptically had already said that when he is lifted up from earth he will draw all men to himself. Perhaps this moment in the Mass is a fulfillment–or even a revelation of its already having been fulfilled–of that prophetic declaration. Maybe we are being made present to the actual crucifixion, such that we were there by anticipation, every bit as much as Mary was preserved sinless in an anticipatory way due to the merits of her future son’s redeeming act.
And if we say (at our Lord’s instruction at the Last Supper) that the Eucharist is the Body of Christ, and we also refer to his Church as the Mystical (i.e., hidden) Body of Christ, then perhaps there is a profound realism to this idea that we were always a part of Christ’s crucifixion.
And so there can be little cause for confusion: Christ is not being re-crucified. We are being drawn into the once and for all sacrifice as it happens, and merely discovering it now, in the present.
What’s more is that Christ’s saving action (suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension) is not complete until he ascends to the Father. He is lifted up from the earth and draws us yet once more.
And here we go again–in the best possible way.
“Through Him, and with Him, and in Him, O God almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is Yours, forever and ever. Amen.”

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This entry was posted in Eucharist, Fifth Luminous Mystery, Fifth Sorrowful Mystery, Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Glorious Mysteries, God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit, Liturgy, Luminous Mysteries, Power of God, Rosary, Sacraments, Second Glorious Mystery, Sorrowful Mysteries, Trinity, Wisdom. Bookmark the permalink.

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