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Sep 22, 2020

A Biblical Look at the Mass

Dr. Edward Sri

Do you long to feel more united to Jesus at Mass? It’s easy to just go through the motions at Mass when we don’t understand the rich symbolism behind all the rituals. Today, Dr. Sri uncovers the biblical symbolism behind the Liturgy of the Eucharist so we can more fully unite our whole lives to Christ during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 

Snippet From the Show

In the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we have the opportunity to give our whole selves to Christ as he offers up his whole self to the Father.  


Shownotes

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the greatest form of worship. In Liturgy of the Eucharist, Christ’s sacrifice on calvary is mystically made present to us in the most intimate way possible. However, in order for us to get the most out of our experience at Mass, we need to understand the rich biblical symbolism of all the rituals. Here is brief glimpse into the biblical context of Liturgy of the Eucharist: 

Bread

In Biblical times, bread was the most basic type of food. Bread was considered basic sustenance, it was the food that Israelites leaned on for nourishment on a daily basis. Bread supported life in the biblical world, it wasn’t just a side dish. Sacrificing bread was truly a huge sacrifice for Israelites. In the consecration, bread is specifically used to represent the significance of Christ’s sacrifice for us. 

Presentation of the Gifts

At the presentation of the gifts, it is easy to zone out or get distracted if we don’t understand what is truly happening. The presentation of the gifts marks the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and in this moment we have the opportunity to give our whole selves to Christ as he offers up his whole self to God the Father. Offering up gifts to God is something that is seen throughout the Bible. In the early Church, people would offer God things such as bread, wine, fruit, flowers, honey and wax because they were all works of their hands and represented a part of their very selves. By parting from something we value and offering it to God, we give of ourselves to God. When the gifts of bread and wine are brought forward to the altar, the priest receives these gifts and then offers them to God. In the presentation of the gifts, we have the opportunity to unite our hearts to those gifts being presented at the altar so we too can be untied and offered to God through Christ’s sacrifice. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass reminds us that Jesus gave up his whole life for us and this should encourage us to also make sacrifices to God in imitation of Jesus. I encourage you to say a little prayer of surrender during the presentation of the gifts and tell Jesus that you are putting your heart, mind, and soul into his hands. This intentional prayer will unite you more deeply to the Eucharist. 

Priest Washing his Hands 

The priest washing his hands before the consecration is a biblical practice. In Exodus 30:17-21, we see that it was customary for the priests of Israel to wash their hands before they would enter the innermost sanctuary, the holy of holies. This act symbolized the cleansing of their hearts of sin before entering into the presence of God. At Mass, the washing of the priests’ hands signals the entrance into the holy of holies which in the new covenant is the presence of God in the Eucharist. 

Mixing Wine and Water

Wine symbolizes Christ’s divinity and water symbolizes Christ’s humanity. The mixing of water and wine represents both the incarnation and also the great work God wants to do in our souls, how God wants to transform us and make us like him when we consume the Eucharist. 

Biblical Walk Through the Mass: Discover the Beauty and Riches of the Mass

This five-part program takes participants on an exciting tour of the Liturgy as it explores the biblical roots of the words and gestures we experience at Mass and explains their profound significance. See, perhaps for the first time, why we say what we say and do what we do every week at Mass. You will see the words and gestures in a new light, giving new life to the liturgical experience.

In this study, Catholics will…

  • Learn the biblical background to the words, prayers, and gestures of the Liturgy
  • Discover how the Mass is a “true re-presentation” of Christ’s redeeming sacrifice on the Cross
  • Explore the three key aspects of the Mass as Sacrifice, Real Presence, and Holy Communion
  • Gain helpful insights for getting the most out of every Mass … and much more!

$5 OFF DISCOUNT: Use the discount code ATCPODCAST to get a $5 discount on any of Dr. Edward Sri’s studies (No Greater Love, Follow Me, A Biblical Walk Through the Mass, Mary: A Biblical Walk with the Blessed Mother and Jesus: The Way, the Truth, and the Life )

Resources

  • Visit Dr. Sri’s website at https://edwardsri.com/ 
  • Subscribe to our show by texting “allthingscatholic” to 33-777
  • Find more of Dr. Sri’s episodes at ascensionpress.com/allthingscatholic
  • Ascension is pleased to offer our new and improved online bible study programs and sacramental preparation programs digitally to help you minister with flexibility. Go to ascensionpress.com to view all our offerings!

Meet Your Host: Dr. Edward Sri

Dr. Sri is a theologian and the author of several best-selling books. He holds a doctorate from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. A founding leader of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), Dr. Sri currently serves as its vice president of formation. He appears regularly on EWTN and resides in Colorado with his wife, Elizabeth, and their eight children.

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