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John Luce wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am in an e-mail discussion with a very dear Catholic friend of mine, Dan, in another state.

He is a very strong Catholic who is trying to get me into "the one true church" but cannot defend it against the issues I have raised, which, frankly, prevents me from ever becoming a Catholic. The matter of first concern, at the moment, is the following question which Dan cannot answer:

When Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper He told His disciples to eat and drink, not offer or
re-offer or "re-present", His one sacrifice which He was about to make at the Cross. He made His one sacrifice once for all and He offered it to the Father in the Heavenly sanctuary once for all, and sat down at the right hand of God (Hebrews 10:12), indicating His work of sacrifice was completed and His one offering to the Father finished. He never instructed anyone to stand up and re-offer that one sacrifice over and over again, millions of times on Catholic church altars all over the world. Any offering by priests is a denial of what Jesus did once for all. All they were ever told to do, again and again, was eat and drink in memory of Him. As often as they did that, they showed the Lord's death until He comes. That is what the Bible teaches. Rome, on the other hand, teaches:

  • it is not simply a Memorial Meal to remind us of His great work of redemption at Calvary but a "sacrifice of the Mass", and
  • that sacrifice is propitiatory for the living and the dead, something Jesus never said and the Bible does not teach.

There is no question that whatever you wish to call it (re-present or make present), there is an offering by priests being made in an unbloody manner of what Christ offered in a bloody manner.

  • My question disputes whether there can be any offering after Jesus made His one offering to the Father once for all and sat down.
  • How do you respond to all the above?

John

  { Can there be any other offering by any Catholic priest after Jesus' one offering to the Father? }

Mike replied:

Hi, John —

Thanks for the question.

We've answered questions similar to these so let me share them with you. If you are still not happy with our answer, come back and we can clarify any misunderstanding. My colleague Eric gave a really great answer in this first posting below.

You said:
He never instructed anyone to stand up and re-offer that one sacrifice over and over again, millions of times on Catholic church altars all over the world.

No priest anywhere in the Catholic Church is re-offering the Sacrifice of Calvary.

In another answer I gave, the questioner said:

You said:
What happens during a Roman Catholic Mass?

The short answer: more that what you see. In reality, we enter into that one Sacrifice of Calvary. Jesus Our Lord is the incarnate God-Man who died in 33 A.D. on Calvary, but because God is outside of time and Jesus is the God-Man Himself, when he died in 33 A.D., His death was perpetuated throughout history. When we go to Mass we enter into that one sacrifice of Calvary. He is not dying again, not suffering again, not being re-sacrificed but we enter into that one Sacrifice of Calvary that happened back in 33 A.D. which He continues to offer to the Father until the end of time.

This method of redeeming mankind shows Our Lord's love and mercy for everyone.

  • How?

Though we were not at Calvary in 33 A.D., we can mystically be there every time we go to Mass and receive the same graces they received back in 33 A.D. applied to us in 2011 A.D., Jesus using the body of the priest to enter into that one Sacrifice on Calvary.

This is what the Catechism tells us on the matter:

The sacrificial memorial of Christ and of his Body, the Church

1362 The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ's Passover, the making present and the sacramental offering of his unique sacrifice, in the liturgy of the Church which is his Body. In all the Eucharistic Prayers we find after the words of institution a prayer called the anamnesis or memorial.

1363 In the sense of Sacred Scripture the memorial is not merely the recollection of past events but the proclamation of the mighty works wrought by God for men. (Exodus 13:3) In the liturgical celebration of these events, they become in a certain way present and real. This is how Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated, the Exodus events are made present to the memory of believers so that they may conform their lives to them.

1364 In the New Testament, the memorial takes on new meaning. When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ's Passover, and it is made present the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present. (Hebrews 7:25-27) "As often as the sacrifice of the Cross by which 'Christ our Pasch has been sacrificed' is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out." (1 Corinthians 5:7)

1365 Because it is the memorial of Christ's Passover, the Eucharist is also a sacrifice. The sacrificial character of the Eucharist is manifested in the very words of institution: "This is my body which is given for you" and "This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood." (Luke 22:19-20) In the Eucharist Christ gives us the very body which he gave up for us on the cross, the very blood which he "poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." (Matthew 26:28)

1366 The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit:

    [Christ], our Lord and God, was once and for all to offer himself to God the Father by his death on the altar of the cross, to accomplish there an everlasting redemption. But because his priesthood was not to end with his death, at the Last Supper "on the night when he was betrayed," [he wanted] to leave to his beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as the nature of man demands) by which the bloody sacrifice which he was to accomplish once for all on the cross would be re-presented, its memory perpetuated until the end of the world, and its salutary power be applied to the forgiveness of the sins we daily commit.

    (Hebrews 7:24,27; Council of Trent)

1367 The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: "The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different." "And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory." (Hebrews 9:14,27; Council of Trent)

1368 The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of the Church. The Church which is the Body of Christ participates in the offering of her Head. With him, she herself is offered whole and entire. She unites herself to his intercession with the Father for all men. In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body. The lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer, and work, are united with those of Christ and with his total offering, and so acquire a new value. Christ's sacrifice present on the altar makes it possible for all generations of Christians to be united with his offering.

    In the catacombs the Church is often represented as a woman in prayer, arms outstretched in the praying position. Like Christ who stretched out his arms on the cross, through him, with him, and in him, she offers herself and intercedes for all men.
1369 The whole Church is united with the offering and intercession of Christ. Since he has the ministry of Peter in the Church, the Pope is associated with every celebration of the Eucharist, wherein he is named as the sign and servant of the unity of the universal Church. The bishop of the place is always responsible for the Eucharist, even when a priest presides; the bishop's name is mentioned to signify his presidency over the particular Church, in the midst of his presbyterium and with the assistance of deacons. The community intercedes also for all ministers who, for it and with it, offer the Eucharistic sacrifice:
    Let only that Eucharist be regarded as legitimate, which is celebrated under [the presidency of] the bishop or him to whom he has entrusted it.

    (St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Smyrn. 8:1; Ch 10,138.)

    Through the ministry of priests the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful is completed in union with the sacrifice of Christ the only Mediator, which in the Eucharist is offered through the priests' hands in the name of the whole Church in an unbloody and sacramental manner until the Lord himself comes.
1370 To the offering of Christ are united not only the members still here on earth, but also those already in the glory of heaven. In communion with and commemorating the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, the Church offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. In the Eucharist the Church is as it were at the foot of the cross with Mary, united with the offering and intercession of Christ.

1371 The Eucharistic sacrifice is also offered for the faithful departed who "have died in Christ but are not yet wholly purified," (Council of Trent) so that they may be able to enter into the light and peace of Christ:

    Put this body anywhere! Don't trouble yourselves about it! I simply ask you to remember me at the Lord's altar wherever you are.

    (St. Monica, before her death, to her sons, St. Augustine and his brother; Conf. 9,11,27:PL 32,775)

    Then, we pray [in the anaphora] for the holy fathers and bishops who have fallen asleep, and in general for all who have fallen asleep before us, in the belief that it is a great benefit to the souls on whose behalf the supplication is offered, while the holy and tremendous Victim is present. . . . By offering to God our supplications for those who have fallen asleep, if they have sinned, we . . . offer Christ sacrificed for the sins of all, and so render favorable, for them and for us, the God who loves man.

    (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. myst. 5,9,10:PG 33,1116-1117.)

1372 St. Augustine admirably summed up this doctrine that moves us to an ever more complete participation in our Redeemer's sacrifice which we celebrate in the Eucharist:
    This wholly redeemed city, the assembly and society of the saints, is offered to God as a universal sacrifice by the high priest who in the form of a slave went so far as to offer himself for us in his Passion, to make us the Body of so great a head. . . . Such is the sacrifice of Christians: "we who are many are one Body in Christ" The Church continues to reproduce this sacrifice in the sacrament of the altar so well-known to believers wherein it is evident to them that in what she offers she herself is offered.

    (St. Augustine, De civ Dei, 10,6:PL 41,283; cf. Romans 12:5.)

If you ever wish to go deeper into what we believe as faithful Catholics, consider buying a cheap copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

You may find my Catholic Scripture passages page enlightening too:

Catholic Scripture passages that defend Catholic doctrines

Mike

John replied:

Hi Mike, et al. back (for later use in this posting.)

Yes, I need clarification. We're dealing with three things:

  1. Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross.
  2. Christ's Offering in the Heavenly Sanctuary of that Sacrifice.
  3. The Lord's Supper, commemorating No. 1.

Nos. 1 and 2 were once for all. No. 3 is done often, since Paul says,

"As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup you show the Lord's death until
He comes" (1 Corinthians 11:26)

My point is that when No. 2 occurred and Christ offered Himself to the Father, He did it once for all and sat down. He never told anyone to stand up and re-offer His one Sacrifice again and again which He did once for all.

What you are saying is that He told us to stand up and partake of No. 3, the Lord's Supper, which we are to do in remembrance of Him. Yes, we do that, but that is not repeating or re-doing
No. 1 or No. 2, both of which can never be repeated or redone since they were once for all.

No. 3, on the other hand, is not “once for all” but instead very repeatable and, in fact, to be done “often” as Paul says. So, there is a clear distinction between No. 1 and No. 2, on the one hand (both once for all), and No. 3, on the other hand (repeatable).

So, yes, we are to do No. 3 often, but we can never do Nos. 1 or 2 again, since they were once for all and Christ never told anyone to repeat them and in fact they cannot be repeated, since only Christ Himself could do either of them, and He has already done them.

  • My question, then, boils down to whether a priest is attempting to repeat either No. 1 or No. 2 or is he simply and solely doing No. 3?

Regards,

John

John replied:

Hi John,

You are correct, no one can repeat Jesus' once and for all sacrifice of Calvary but that's not what a Catholic priest does.

What the Church Teaches us, is that through the ministry of the priest, Christ Himself makes present the one sacrifice of Calvary. When Scripture tells us that we are to "Do this in remembrance of Him." it uses a very specific Greek word: anamnesis. It doesn't just mean to remember; it means to "enter into", to partake, or participate by commemoration. When Jews celebrate Passover, they don't just remember what happened thousands of years ago. No, the enter into the event, as though they are there.

However, the Eucharist isn't simply the Sacrifice of Calvary, It's also being present at the Resurrection and most importantly it is a participation in the Divine Liturgy which is taking place constantly in Heaven and is described in Revelation, Chapters 4 and 5 as well as Hebrews,
Chapter 12.

God stands outside of time and therefore is able to make all these things present to those who participate in the Mass. In fact most priests will go so far, as to take their watches off when they celebrate the Mass. That's because the Mass stands outside of time. As I said, we are present at Calvary, we are present at the tomb as He rises, and we are caught up in Heaven and join the angels and Saints who worship as Jesus continues to point to Calvary and offer Himself constantly to the Father on our behalf, as He for makes intercession for us.

John

Mary Ann replied:

John —

Nobody is re-offering anything. The priest makes present to us in our time and space the eternal offering.

Mary Ann

Mike followed-up:

John,

I was re-reading your last reply to your initial question and have a question.

You said:
My point, which I think you know, is that when No. 2 occurred and Christ offered to the Father He did it once for all and sat down.

  • Where in the Bible does it say that He " sat down"?

Help me understand where you are coming from.

Mike

John replied:

Mike,Spacerback (for later use in this posting.)

The last two versions of Hebrews 10:12 from the:

  • New American with Apocrypha state,

      But this one offered one sacrifice for sins, and took his seat forever at the right hand of God;

      Hebrews 10:12

  • New Revised Standard with Apocrypha state,

      But when Christ {Greek [this one]} had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, "he sat down at the right hand of God,"

      Hebrews 10:12
  • How can there be any further need for a "priest" to do anything, whether offer or re-offer
    a sacrifice, that's what priests do, isn't it, offer sacrifices?

Jesus gave the Ultimate Sacrifice of Himself at the Cross and He "offered for all time, a single sacrifice for sins" and then sat down at the right hand of God. His one single sacrifice was completed and His offering of it to the Father was finished, so He sat down. At that point, there is no further sacrifice and no further offering, to be made. We are only told to:

"Do in remembrance of Him.": the Lord's Supper, a memorial meal, which only involves eating and drinking, not offering.

No one is told to offer anything by way of sacrifice or offering, except the spiritual sacrifices of our bodies (Romans 12:1) and of praise and thanksgiving to God and of doing good. (Hebrews 13:15-16)

  • So, how do we have a Mass which includes priests offering something that is said to be propitiatory for the living and dead?
  • All that is totally unscriptural, is it not?
  • If not, why not?

Regards,

John L.

Mary Ann replied:

Hi, John —

Christ allows us to share in His sacrifice. He makes us a royal priesthood. He makes Himself present in His sacrificial state, so that we can join our offering with His, and commune with Him, receiving the sacrificial meal.

The priest's actions, by Christ's will and mandate, make present the living sacrifice which Christ is, the priestly prayer which he offers eternally to His Father.

Mary Ann

John replied:

Hi, Mary Ann —

No, we do not "share in his sacrifice". He is the spotless Lamb of God; we are sinners, anything but spotless. The only thing we would do by "joining our offering with His" is to contaminate His, which is perfect without us.

Yes, Peter tells his readers they are:

"a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises' of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."

1 Peter 2:9

All believers are part of that royal priesthood, offering sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving to God.

No, there was no mandate from Christ for priests to "make present the living sacrifice which Christ is." Nowhere does the Word of God say such. Christ is ever present, dwelling in believers, and He gives us His promise,

"I am with you always, until the end of the age."

Matthew 28:20

He is already, and will always be, present.

John L.

Mary Ann replied:

John —

Our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving only gets to God because it goes in and through the one offering of Christ. That is what I meant by participating in His sacrifice. We can not reach God, or commune with Him, on our own.

Many Protestants believe there is an unbridgeable divide between God and Man (Karl Barth, for instance), but Christ is the Bridge, the Priest, and in Him, and only in Him, our offerings are acceptable to God.

Mary Ann

John replied:

OK,

That makes sense; when you put it that way, you're right.

John L.

Mary Ann replied:

I am so glad to find that common ground!

Mary Ann

John replied:

John,

I highly recommend Scott Hahn's book called "The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth". A single text in the Book of Hebrews tells us that after Christ entered the Sanctuary, He sat down. I would caution you against building an entire doctrine around a single text.

The Bible also tells us that Jesus was the Lamb slain before the foundation of time. That tells us that Christ's sacrifice transcends time and space as we understand it. Also, remember that Hebrews is dealing with Hebrew Christians who are struggling with whether or not to return to maintaining the "temple sacrifice and the Mosaic Law." The inspired authors intent is to address that question. He compares the fact that bulls and sheep had to be constantly sacrificed because they were insufficient and merely a shadow of what was to come. In addition, the Greek used for "once for all" is not as limited as it sounds in the English. It also has a "perpetual" quality to it.
In other words, it's a past perfect, present and future perfect tense much, like the tense used for Greek verb for "saved".

Nevertheless, we need to be careful when we read Scripture to understand the meaning of author in the context he is writing. You're not reading a technical schematic or a recipe book. As I said, we need to understand the Eucharist the way the early Christians, who came out of the Jewish Tradition, understood it. The Jewish Tradition is that they enter into the event, they don't simply remember it, when they celebrate a holy day.

Again, pick up a copy of The Lamb's Supper" By Dr. Scott Hahn. He is a former Presbyterian who was an anti-Catholic. He gives a pretty easy to understand and well written explanation of the Eucharist from the Scriptures, in particular the Book of Revelation.

Paul writes to the Colossians,

"I make up in my body what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ."

(Colossians 1:24)

Now Paul is not suggesting that Christ's atoning sacrifice is not sufficient for all. What he is alluding to is the fact that our being grafted into Christ's Body is real and we, as members of His Body, participate in Christ's redemptive role in the distributive sense.

Christ purchased our redemption in and through the Incarnation. It wasn't just Calvary, it was every breath He took on this earth out of obedience to Father, which of course included "death, even death on the cross." (Philippians 2:8) We, as members of His Body, are the marketing department.

Our sacrifice, whether it be:

  • our praise
  • our worship, or
  • our commitment to share the gospel, all fulfills God's plan for man's redemption.

As Catholics, we believe that by the Incarnation, God chose to include man himself in his own redemption. That's why Christ was not just God, but the God-Man. Our participation in the Body of Christ is real and tangible. Although sinners, we are by grace and through the Holy Spirit, part of His Mystical Body and therefore part of the Incarnation. St. Paul compares the relationship between Christ and His Church to a husband and wife, (Ephesians 5), and therefore we are to Christ, what Eve was to Adam; Flesh of His Flesh, Bone of His Bone.

Our salvation is not simply a forensic, static, and declared righteousness. Rather, we believe what God declares, He does. Isaiah 55 tells us His word does not return void but accomplishes what it was set forth to do. Hence, part of our salvation, includes our participation in the redemptive work of the Gospel. We are infused with the righteousness of Christ, not simply imputed with it. Therefore we a participate in a very real way in His mission.

The same Bible that says He sat down at the right hand of the Father, also says He forever makes intercession on our behalf. And the same Book of Hebrews that says Christ's sacrifice was once and for all, tells us:

"We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat."

Hebrews 13:10

Again, the context of Hebrews which is constant comparison between Old Testament temple worship and New Testament worship. Read Hebrews 12 and see that in New Testament worship, we join the Angels and Saints, "the spirits of just men made perfect." (Hebrews 12:23) when we worship. So in the context of worship we have the mention that we have an altar that the Jewish priests can't eat from. Well, if we have an altar, we therefore have a Sacrifice and that Sacrifice is the "Once for all Sacrifice" made present.

I urge you read Scott Hahn's book and I'd encourage you to look at Scripture as the Revelation of a Mystery which it is. It is not a recipe book or a book of formulas. It's not a chronological accounting of events, although it does contain some of that. It's important to understand metaphor and literary constructs for what they are.

God Bless

John D.

John replied:

Hi John,

You said:
A single text in the Book of Hebrews tells us that after Christ entered the Sanctuary, He sat down. I would caution you against building an entire doctrine around a single text.

The portions of Hebrews that I see in conflict with the Mass are certainly not "a single text" — they run through several Chapters, 7—10; for example, see Hebrews 10:12. It does not say

"after Christ entered the Sanctuary, He sat down."

You left out the most crucial part — He offered and then sat down. Again, the verse says,

"But when Christ {Greek [this one]} had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, 'he sat down at the right hand of God,'" (New Revised Standard).

And, of course, two verses earlier, we read,

"And it is by God's will {in Greek [by that will]} that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."

You said:
The Bible also tells us that Jesus was the Lamb slain before the foundation of time. That tells us that Christ's sacrifice transcends time and space as we understand it.

That depends on what translation you use for Revelation 13:8 from which that thought comes.
The (NAB) New America Bible renders it this way:

"All the inhabitants of the earth will worship it, all whose names were not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life, which belongs to the Lamb who was slain."

That rendering does not say when the Lamb was slain.

You said:
In addition, the Greek used for "once for all" is not as limited as it sounds in the English. It also has a "perpetual" quality to it. In other words, it's a past perfect, present and future perfect tense much, like the tense used for Greek verb for "saved".

  • Are you trying to give me a snow job?

The Greek word, efapax,, which is Strong's No. 2178, and rendered “once for all” in Hebrews 9:12 and 10:10, is not a verb with the “past perfect, present and future perfect” tenses. It is an adverb which modifies the verb, “entered” (in 9:12), telling how often Jesus “entered” the Heavenly Sanctuary, or the verb, “offered,” (in 10:10) telling how often Jesus “offered” His Sacrifice to the Father in the Heavenly Sanctuary. The only “perpetual” quality involved, if any,
is the idea that has perpetual validity without requiring repetition. In other words, it signifies something done once, for all time, and all people, needing no repetition ever.

Please, no more snow jobs.

See the attachments for some things in regard to the Greek for "once for all" in support of my belief.

1. Green Int. on Hebrews 9-12c
2. Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words
3. Pocket Lexicon on "Once and for all"
4. Strong's New Testament Greek Lexicon on "Once for all"

John L.

John replied:

John,

I'm not in the business of snow jobs. Strong's is a useful but limited tool. Again, I don't pull things out of thin air. The word can be used to mean perpetual.

I would not have left the pulpit and to become a lay Catholic on the basis of snow jobs. Neither would have dozens of others. I may have been mistaken in claiming it was verb; it's been a while since I took apart the text. Nevertheless, I'm not the only one to conclude that the word also means perpetual. For two thousand years, the Church has understood this. Moreover, it has understood that God is not limited by time. He created time. Everything He sees is in the Eternal Now.

Secondly, no one is repeating anything. The Sacrifice of the Mass is the same exact Sacrifice.

  • Since you seem to want to debate rather than learn, can you please explain to me, how is that you know that Hebrews part of the canon?

Certainly the Bible itself does not give us a list of books. Therefore you must be accepting a Tradition which tells you which books belong in the Bible. That Tradition came from the early Christians and was handed down for 382 years before the Church canonized Scripture. If you bothered to read any of the Church Fathers from that same period, you would see that the earliest Christians professed a belief in the Real Presence, and that it was through the ministry of the priest that this came about. You're relying on Protestant tradition which is roughly 450 years old through which you read and interpret the Scriptures.

Finally, if you want to have a serious dialogue, that's fine. I will continue to engage you and attempt to explain the Church's doctrine, but none of us are here to debate and win arguments. We also have an extensive database on the web site and we've addressed this question many times before. I would suggest you check that out as well.

Scott Hahn has a CD on Hebrews that should help a lot. In addition, there is one other book called "This Is My Body" by Mark P Shea. Mark is former Evangelical who after years of studying the Scriptures became a Roman Catholic. He has another great book called "By What Authority".

Again, if you want to learn or understand the Church's teaching these are the places to start.
If you want to debate, I have no time for it.

God Bless,

John D.

John replied:

John,

  • Perhaps I was hasty to characterize it as a snow job, but how else would you to expect me to see it?
  • What you stated is clearly wrong from a Greek standpoint and yet when I call you on it, what do you do?

Change the subject to the canon and accuse me of not wanting to learn. Amazing.

  • Why don't you just apologize for the error or show me with your Catholic lexicons,
    if they exist?
  • Why it is not an error to confuse a verb with an adverb?

The least you could do is show me some Greek authority that supports your statements, which otherwise appear to be wrong. I did not know there were Catholic lexicons that differed from “Fundamentalist” or “Dispensationalist” lexicons.

You referred me to Dr. Scott Hahn's CD series on the Book of Hebrews where this subject matter is covered at length. This is the first time you've mentioned a CD series on the Book of Hebrews.
I would like to know how I might acquire it.

  • Do you have a web site link, or do you offer it yourself?

You had previously mentioned a book called, “The Lamb's Supper,” but this is the first time
I've heard anything about a CD series on the Book of Hebrews.

I have not submitted my question to AskACatholic to debate you and I have no desire to debate, but if you cannot answer my question, you have done no better than my Catholic friend, Dan.

Thanks.

John L.

John replied:

John,

I didn't change the subject, my point is that you're looking at and interpreting Scripture through the bias of a Protestant Tradition.

I pointed to the canon of Scripture because I was pointing to the people who gave you the canon of Scripture. Those people, who handed us Catholic Tradition, understood that the Eucharist was the Real Presence and that it became so through the ministry of the priest. I would hope that you'd take the time to research their writings on the subject.

  • Ignatius of Antioch, writing as early as 100 A.D.
  • Justin Martyr writing circa 150 A.D., or
  • Hippolytus writing early in the next century.

These are the guys that preserved the faith and wrote about these issues, for close to 400 years, before we got a canon of the Scriptures and they agree with the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist.

At issue here is the way you are interpreting a few lines from the Book of Hebrews verses the way The Church has understood them for 2000 years. You are wrenching Hebrews out of the context of it's time and reading passages in it as thought they were a chronological accounting of Christ's actions.

This is the quintessential Fundamentalist flaw. The author of Hebrews was not giving us a narrative of what Jesus did, rather what was accomplished and comparing it to the daily sacrifices of animals under the Mosaic Law. When the author writes "He sat down" he was telling us about Jesus' posture. He was referring to all sufficiency of the Christ's Sacrifice. Which we agree on. You keep on insisting that we re-offer or repeat the Sacrifice of Calvary. We do no such thing.
We make present the once and for all sacrifice of Christ at Calvary. At Mass, we step outside of time and space and find ourselves looking at the Christ's Sacrifice from the Father's perspective. It is and remains in the Eternal Now. At the same time, we are present at the same Divine Liturgy presented to us in Revelation Chapter 4 and 5; we also know this from Hebrews Chapter 12.

When I referred you to Dr. Scott Hahn's CD on Hebrews, I was just suggesting your get his CD set, not his book. Nevertheless, I still think there is a problem when it comes to your exegesis of the Scriptures. You fail to understand, not just the immediate context that the Scripture is written, but the context of the circumstance in which the writer is writing.

There are no Catholic Lexicons per se. The Church does not rely on Sola Scriptura; it's unbiblical. We rely on the living understanding or Sacred Tradition that has been handed down and continues to be handed down from Jesus and His Apostles. That's why I referred you to the Early Church Fathers. These guys were all a lot closer to the human authors of Scripture than you or I, and they were a lot closer than the Reformers who lived in the sixteenth century. Start reading the first two or three centuries of Church Fathers and you'll see what I mean. These are the guys that protected and would eventually deliver the canon of Scripture. You can't accuse them of adopting pagan beliefs in Middle Ages, a common attack against the Church.

  • If these guys were wrong about things like:
    • the Eucharist
    • praying for the faithful departed, and
    • the Communion of Saints

    then how do you know they were right when they gave you the New Testament?

I will close by repeating my prior point. At issue here, is the way you interpret Scripture.

The issue is not whether we repeat Christ's Sacrifice.

John D.

John L. followed up with Mike:

Mike,

You seem like a reasonable guy. You asked me where I came up with "he sat down" and I told you.
You wanted to know where I was coming from and I told you.

  • Am I being unreasonable?
  • Could you please at least attempt to reply to my answer?

Regards,

John L.

Mike replied:

Hi, John —

In your last reply you said:

  • Could you please at least attempt to reply to my answer?

Let me preface up front, by saying that, unlike John and others on the team, I'm not a strong Scripture scholar, so what I can say is limited, Scripture-wise.

In order to understand the Catholic answer there are two areas that have to be addressed:

  1. the Scriptural understanding of Hebrews and specifically the verses you mentioned, and
  2. the Church's understanding of what happens at the Mass.

    It's important to note the Church's understanding of what happens at Mass is not its own invention, but what has been handed down to us from Jesus and the Apostles. The words "handed over" or "handed down" are where we get the word Tradition.

I don't know Greek, nor Latin, nor Aramaic, so like many in the Church who are also not familiar with these language, we trust the Church and reliable sources for good interpretations.

You said earlier:
The portions of Hebrews that I see in conflict with the Mass are certainly not "a single text" — they run through several Chapters, 7—10; for example, see Hebrews 10:12.

The best source for me has been my 1954 Catholic Commentary on Holy Scriptures. Because of your strong interest in the Scriptures, I scanned all seven pages from my commentary for Hebrews, Chapters 7 through 10 and highlighted the Hebrews 10:12 area of the Commentary.

These comments do not represent Catholic doctrine for any specific passage or verse, but rather the theological opinion of a commentator that is faithful to a proper understanding of both:

  • Hebrews and
  • Church teachings.

To my knowledge, I believe there are no more then six or seven verses in the whole Bible that the Church requires to be understood a certain way. I recommend you refresh your memory and reread Hebrews, Chapter 7 — 10 before reading this commentary.

1954 Catholic Commentary on Holy Scriptures.

Chapter 7:1—28 Superiority of Melchisedechian Priesthood

The excellence of the Priest according to the order of Melchisedech is shown from the details of the typal Melchisedech's biblical record, 1-3; his superiority over the Levitical or Aaronic priesthood is shown from the relation of Melchisedech to Abraham, 4-10; the perfection of the new priesthood is shown to be an abrogation of the old priesthood and of the regime to which it belonged, 11-28.

1-3 Extra-biblical speculation on the mysterious figure of Melchisedech need not detain us. Was he a Semite, a Japhetite, or, being a Chanaanite king, did he belong to the cursed seed of Cham? Various fancies clustered around his name and different brands of pseudo-Christian Melchisedechian heretics venerated Him as a manifestation of the Logos, of the Holy Ghost, or even as a divine priestly power superior to Christ Himself. St Paul argues entirely from the positive and negative details of the biblical notice, wh1ch he summarizes from Genesis 14, with close adherence to LXX. Every single point of the summary is utilized. The personal name 'King of justice'; the place of his royalty Salem (Jerusalem) designates him as 'King of peace'; but the royal titles are only incidental to the Apostle's theme; it is as a 'Priest of God Most High' that Melchisedech is here envisaged. No mention is made of the kind of sacrifice he offered, for the Eucharistic significance of Melchisedech does not belong to our Epistle. He met the victorious but still childless Abraham (cf. 10), blessed him, and received from him the honor of a tithe of the booty. 2. The Priest Melchisedech thus blessing and receiving tithe from the Patriarch of the promise, Genesis 14, and the future great grandfather of the twelve tribes, supplies the two essential positive points. But the divinely intended omissions of the sacred text are also significant.

3. On Melchisedech's origin there is complete silence — no mention of father or mother or ancestral line — and he is without certificate of birth or of death. The inspired page presents him in this negative manner as a living Priest, and so, being assimilated to the Son of God in the quality of a type, he remains a priest in perpetuity. Note that the three adjectives: without father, without mother, without recorded descent' should be taken together. St Paul did not think of Christ having no temporal father, having no eternal mother, and having no priestly genealogy, though he had a royal one. It is simply as possessing a divinely given negative certificate of life that Melchisedech is a type of the Eternal Priest. Whether St Paul knew certain facts now revealed by the Tell el Amarna tablets about the kings of Jerusalem claiming kingship not by succession but by divine appointment must remain doubtful and, in any case, contributes nothing to the exegesis of this passage.

4-10 Superiority of Melchisedech over Abraham and Levi

The argument here is easily grasped. 4. That Abraham the Patriarch was great was simply a Hebrew axiom. Yet he gave tithes to Melchisedech from the choicest of the spoils (lit. 'the top things of the heap') and received blessing from him. 5-6. Levitical priests had the right to receive tithes from their brethren, though these also had the dignity of children of Abraham, but in the person of Melchisedech one who was no Levite laid Abraham himself under tithe. Melchisedech also blessed the very Patriarch in whom the promise of future blessing was vested. 7. And undoubtedly the bestowal of authoritative priestly blessing is the act of a superior. 8. Moreover, the Levitical priests, being priests in a line of succession, had death written on them even while they gathered tithes, but Melchisedech lives on without a successor, having that negative diploma of life mentioned above.

9-10. To put the matter almost paradoxically , Levi the tither was tithed by Melchisedech, for Levi was then included in the still potential fatherhood of the childless Abraham. The word 'loins,' 5,10, is a Hebraism for virility or generative power. Aquinas raises the objection: 'But Christ also was in the loins of Abraham when Melchisedech tithed and blessed him!' He answers: Seminally, no; as to the bodily substance taken from the Blessed Virgin, yes. The virginal conception of Christ makes the difference.

11-28 Imperfect and Perfect Priesthood

The appointment of a Priest according to the order of Melchisedech marks the Aaronic priesthood as transitory, 11-14;

(a) 9-12. Perfection is the end of every divine arrangement, and if perfection was to come through the Levitical priesthood — this priesthood being the basis of the whole cultural system of the Mosaic Law — why should another, a different — Priest arise according to the order of Melchisedech and not be called according to the order of Aaron? 12. A theocratic law lapses totally when its priesthood lapses. Now the Aaronic priesthood does lapse with the introduction of the Melchisedechian priesthood, and with it lapses the law which has no provision for any other but a Levitical priesthood. 13. It is historically evident that 'Our Lord' — note the title of whom the oracle of priesthood according to the order of Melchisedech was spoken, has come from the tribe of Juda, no member of which tribe ever had access to the altar to perform priestly functions, and moreover, the Law of Moses has no inkling of any connexion between priesthood and that same tribe of Juda.

(b) 15-17. This is still more evident from the mode of duration of the priesthoods. The Priesthood which arises according to the order of Melchisedech is a lasting personal priesthood, not a priesthood transmitted from father to son according to a law of carnal succession. 16. The Melchisedechian Priest holds his priesthood 'according to the power of an indissoluble (or unending) life', for the oracle says: 'Thou art a Priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech'.

(c) 18-19. Thus, to come back to the idea of or perfection, the former regime is set aside because of its weakness and unprofitableness. Really, the law brought nothing to perfection, for of itself it conferred no interior sanctity and it gave no power to do the good which it commanded. With the setting aside of the law we hail the introduction of a better hope — note the word 'better' three times in this chapter and ten times elsewhere in Hebrews — and through this better hope we draw near to God in the confidence which arises from pardon and the spirit of adoption and the assurance of glory. The realized by the priesthood of Christ is all these things: forgiveness and grace and glory.

(d) 20-22. Another circumstance which marks the superiority of the priesthood of Christ is the solemnity of the oath which ratifies it and confirms its irrevocable finality. The priests of the House of Aaron were inaugurated without any divine oath, but Christ with an oath never to be repented of. In this respect Jesus stands as the sponsor (or surety, or mediatorial guarantor) of a better covenant. Covenant or covenant-testament appears here for the first time and will appear sixteen times in the sequel in eleven changes of context. This sentence, 20a, 22, with its parenthesis, 20b, 21, has an indescribable majesty in our author's Greek.

(e) 23-25. As unending life was contrasted with fleshly succession in 15-17, the oneness and permanence of Christ's priesthood is finally set against the multiplicity of priests whom death prevented from remaining. 23. They were many, for no one of them, all being mortal, could remain, but he, because he remains forever, has a priesthood which does not pass away . 24. The DV here does not represent the full force of the Greek which means: 'He, because he remains for ever, holds his priesthood as a priesthood untransmissible, everlasting'. 25. Hence he is also a perpetual Savior, a perpetual Mediator, an everliving Advocate, 'able to save perfectly — or perpetually (Vg, Coptic, Syriac) — those who come to God through him, always living to make intercession for them'.(cf. Romans 8:34, the tones of which are here echoed). At the end of the sentence Vg substitutes 'us' for 'them'. The presence of Christ's sacred humanity in Heaven is itself a perpetual pleading, our names are better written in his sacred wounds than the names of the twelve tribes on the gems of Aaron's pectoral, and his heart's desire for our salvation is before God always.

26-28 Conclusion

26. Such indeed was the High Priest whom in all fitness we should have — utterly holy and exalted and effective. He is all piety towards God , without any tinge of harmful malice which would diminish our confidence in him, without any defilement to dim the lustre of his holiness — hence separated from sinners with a transcendence which has raised him above the heavens. 27. His work is absolutely efficacious, for he has no need day by day; like the high priests — that is, toties quoties on Expiation Day — to offer sacrifices for his own sins, then for those of the people. For the people alone he came to offer, and this he did once for all, offering himself. 28. In fine — and the sentence sounds like a triumphal chant — the law sets up men as high priests — men having weakness, that is, sin and mortality, but the word of the oath announced through the mouth of David, long after the law, sets up One who is Son (again without the article) and whose perfection is consummated forever in priestly achievement and in glory.

N.B. — 27a creates a difficulty. It was only on Expiation Day (Leviticus 16) and not 'daily' that the high priest was bound to offer sacrifice first for himself and then for the people. Some commentators answer that St Paul is referring to the actual practice of the high priest, who offered the double sacrifice every day; but such practice is not otherwise attested. The most satisfactory answer is that St. Paul's gaze here is entirely on the high priest and Expiation day. He mentions the daily sacrifices of 'every priest' for the first time specifically in 10:11, and in a new context. In the present context, which is entirely high-priestly, , meaning 'day by day', refers to each Expiation day as it came around once a year.

Chapter 8:1—10 18 Superiority of Christ's Sacrifice

The kernel of Hebrews being the priesthood of Christ, it remains to show in detail the superior efficacy of his priestly work. St. Paul shows this superiority in relation to the old sanctuary, the old covenant, the annual and daily sacrifices of the old dispensation.

Chapter 8:1-5 Superiority of Christ's Sanctuary

At first sight this section seems to be simply a matter of contrasting Heaven with the Mosaic tabernacle, but it will be found that a purely local interpretation of it is difficult to maintain. The contrast is certainly between celestial and terrestrial, and place considerations are included, but it cannot simply be worked out in terms of 'above the sky and on this earth below'. The celestial has to be conceived socially as the Church which is the kingdom of Heaven. The interpretation here followed is that of St Cyril of Alexandria (De adoratione in spiritu et veritate, Bk g, PG 68, 590-631).

1. 'A principal or main point in the subject under discussion is (the following): Such is the High Priest that we have (cf. 7:26) — a High Priest who has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of majesty (cf. 1:4) in Heaven (cf. 4:14; 6:20)'. 2. The enthroned Christ does not offer sacrifice in Heaven, for sitting is not the posture of a ministering Priest; yet 'having made a cleansing of sins', 1:4, He is a minister of the sanctuary. What is this 'Sancta' or Sanctuary? It is generally taken to mean the place of God's special manifestation which we call Heaven; but Christ reigns in Heaven, he does not minister. It seems, therefore, that the Sanctuary; must be the whole Church Militant and Triumphant which is the extension of that Tabernacle of God which is Christ Himself, John 2:19,21, which St. Paul calls by the local name of 'the Jerusalem above', Galatians 4:26. and which St John heard described to him as 'the tabernacle of God with men', Apocalypse 21:3. This is the perfect tabernacle or tent which the Lord — here meaning God) pitched, not man. 3. Christ must have offered a sacrifice belonging to and bringing him into that celestial sphere. Sacrifice is the correlative of priesthood, for every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices (i.e. oblations of all kinds as in 5:1). Christ could not be a priest without having a victim to offer. 4. 'Yea rather, if he were on earth, he would not be a priest, because the legal victims were being offered by priests of a tribe to which he did not belong'. His sacrifice had therefore to be offered and consummated outside of the terrestrial sphere of Mosaism. 5. The Levitical priests do not belong to the heavenly sphere, for they serve a sanctuary which is only an image and shadow of the heavenly realities. This is intimated in the history of the institution of the tabernacle itself, Exodus 40, for the oracle addressed to Moses said: 'See that thou make all things according to the pattern shown to thee on the mount.' The rabbis imagined a design in fire or light shown to Moses in vision and visually representing the tabernacle as it was to be set up. The Epistle, however, indicates that Moses received some revelation of the Messianic and heavenly realities which his Hebrew tabernacle was to foreshadow. 6. A verse of conclusion and transition states that Christ has obtained a more excellent ministry inasmuch as he is the mediator of a better covenant established on better promises. The word 'Mediator' occurs here in Hebrews for the first of three times, also 9:15; 12:24. It is always a title of Jesus and related to 'covenant'. It occurs also thrice in the other Paulines, in two different contexts, Galatians 3:19, 20; 1 Timothy 2:5, once of Moses in relation to the Old Covenant and once of Christ in relation to redemption. As the redemptive character of Christ's sacrifice is here implied (cf. 9:12), the Mediator combines in a higher way the sacerdotal and ambassadorial offices of Aaron and Moses. The 'better' covenant is the alliance based on the redemption-transaction to which our author will later attribute the special character of testament, 9:16,17. The 'better promises' are chiefly pardon, grace and glory.

7-13 Superiority of the New Covenant

7. On the principle that God does not lay aside a perfect ordinance for a less perfect one (beginning high and ending low — cf. Galatians 3:3), his introduction of a second covenant must imply censure of the former one. 8. Actually that censure is spoken by God himself through the prophet Jeremiah, 31:31-34 (Heb). The censure indeed falls first on the Israelites, but it also embraces the regime which could not change the nation's 'heart of stone into a heart of flesh', Ezekiel 11:19. The text is taken from an impressive group of Restoration oracles Jeremiah 30-33) in which the Messianic future looms large. Christ our Lord had alluded to the same text in the institution of the Eucharist, Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25, and it is also the background of 2 Corinthians 3· Cited from the LXX 38:31-34 with interesting but merely accidental variations, it announces a new covenant different from that of the Exodus which the people did not keep. 9. Note that whereas DV has 'And I regarded them not', Jeremiah 31:32c has: 'I gave up caring for them', which is probably the true sense (cf. Gesenius-Buhl sub voce II; also Peshitta). God's rejection of the old Israel was very clearly forecast at the Babylonian captivity. 10. This verse describes the new covenant as an interior law under which knowledge and obedience will be a matter of inner light and love rather than external teaching and the discipline of a code. 12. It states that the remission of sins is a special characteristic of the New Covenant, cf. 10:15-18. It is, however, on the word 'new' that the Apostle's present argument rests. 13. To describe the second covenant as 'new' is to declare the former one old, senescent, and near its demise — is very frequent in Jeremiah (LXX) in the sense of 'destruction'. Jeremiah 30-33 should be read as a whole; they are the finest pages of a great prophet.

Chapter 9:1-28 Superiority of Christ's Sacrifice

Christ was a sacrificing Priest, Minister of a sanctuary and Mediator of a new Covenant, but what is of supreme importance in this Covenant is the sacrifice on which it is based, for there is no religious regime without sacrifice. Hence the logical development of the Apostle's argument leads him to consider the sacrificial ritual of the old alliance and that of the new. He proceeds to do so in terms of the Israelite sanctuary and with supreme emphasis on the greatest sacrificial ceremony of the Jewish year, that of Yom hakkippurim — Expiation Day or Day of Atonement (10 Tisri).

Chapter 9:1-10 The Tabernacle and Day of Atonement

1.'Of course (this is often the best English equivalent of the former (Covenant) also had ordinances of worship and a sanctuary of this world', i.e. a terrestrial sanctuary, and not in the sense of an ecumenical or universal one. 2. The Apostle describes not the Zorobabelian-Herodian temple but the tabernacle as set up by Moses. There is great argumentative prudence and subtle suggestiveness in thus taking a Pentateuchal basis and in going back to the days when the Ark was still in the midst of Israel. 2-5. The description of the tabernacle and its appurtenances is summary but not wanting in splendor. The first oblong tent which was set up by Moses is mentioned, in which is noted the seven-branched 'lampstand' (DV 'candlesticks') placed to the south or left, and the table (covered with gold) on which stand the twelve loaves of shew-bread, this being on the north or right side. This oblong, called the Holy, is seen to terminate west in a second veil or curtain, thus distinguished from the first or entrance veil. 3. Behind this second veil stands the tent or sacred cube called the Holy of Holies or Most Holy, having as its appurtenances a golden 'alter of incense' (DV 'censer') placed outside the veil, and then, within the veil, the Ark of the Covenant covered completely with gold. In the Ark mention is made of an urn having or containing manna, of the rod of Aaron that blossomed, of the tables of the Covenant 5. Over the Ark stand Cherubim of glory — that is, throne-bearers of God's glorious Majesty — covering with their wings the 'propitiatory' or golden cover of the Ark which is called in Heb. Kapporet, to which Luther gave the happy name of Gnadenstuhl, a reminiscence of Hebrews 4:16 — the 'mercy-seat' of AV. The Greek and Latin propitiatorium designate it as an instrument of expiation or atonement.

In the above exposition, care has been taken to bring out a literary quality of the text which is generally lost sight of. Apart from saying that the first tent 'was set up', there is no past tense in the paragraph, only verbless phrases and present participles. The Apostle evidently wishes the tabernacle to stand before the Hebrews in the 'legal present', for the Messianic age is 'the world to come'. cf. 'the Jerusalem which now is', Galatians 4:25.

Two objections must be briefly deal with. (1.) The 'altar of incense' (thymiaterion) is placed within the Holy of Holies, instead of outside it. The answer is that the verb used, namely, 'having' not 'containing', expresses the close relation of the altar of incense with the inner sanctuary. In 3 Kings 6:22 this altar is called 'the altar belonging to the or inner sanctuary' while Exodus 40:5 calls it 'the altar of incense before the Ark'. Moreover, according to the letter reproduced in 2 Maccabees 2:5 Jeremias hid the altar of incense together with the Ark and Tabernacle, for they went together. (2) The assertion that in the Ark were manna, and Aaron's rod, and the tables of the Covenant, seems to contradict 3 Kings 8:9 which says that the Ark contained only the tables. A possible answer would be that the author of 3 Kings and the author of Hebrews speak of different times, but we have no positive information on the point. A satisfactory reply is that the urn of manna and the sacerdotal rod which were beside the Ark are comprehended or lumped together with the stone tables which were within the Ark.

6-7 Day of Atonement

The Apostle does not intend to go into details about liturgical symbolism, but he wishes to note one important thing. 6-7. Officiating priests enter the Holy at all times—twice a day for the offering of incense, and at other times to perform blood ritual, to see to the lamps, to change the shew-bread on the Sabbath; but into the second tent or Holy of Holies entrance is allowed only once a year (actually four times in the performance of one liturgy), the only privileged person being the high priest, who enters not without blood but for the purpose of sprinkling the propitiatory and sanctuary with the blood of the bull which he has offered for his own sinful ignorances and also with the blood of the goat which he has offered for the sins or ignorances of the people. 8. The intention of the Holy Spirit in arranging Israelite worship in such was that the outer sanctuary should retain its position as the usual place of priestly access to God, and that the inner sanctuary should be an annual high-priestly reserve is to show that the way to the antitypal Holy of Holies of heaven has not yet been opened. 9. The outer sanctuary is really a parable-image of the present pre-Messianic (not Messianic) time—a parable according to which such oblation, and sacrifices of every kind are offered as are powerless to purify the conscience and interiorly perfect the worshipper. 9-10. These oblations and victims are really nothing more than part and parcel of the system which included food distinctions and drink prohibitions and various ritual washings, and, just like these, are really only fleshly regulations (DV 'Justices of the flesh': read in apposition to 'gifts and sacrifices', omitting 'and' before 'justices'). These fleshly regulations are merely temporary, imposed until the time of Messianic reform or betterment, .

11-28 The Day of Eternal Atonement

Firstly, the work of Christ the High Priest is described in a magnificent synthesis, 11-14; secondly, in relation to the Covenant which his blood sealed, 15-22; thirdly, in its absolute efficacy and finality, 23-28.

11-14 Synthesis

This passage which, with the addition of two verses from the next paragraph, is the Epistle for Passion Sunday and the Feast of the Precious Blood, continues in the symbolic language of the Tabernacle and Day of Atonement. Its chief difficulty—a very considerable difficulty—is to determine what is the tabernacle through which Christ passed. 11. The Apostle says in a tone of majestic contrast: 'Christ having come into the world in the quality of High Priest of the spiritual and eternal good things of the Messianic future, passed through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, and entered ... the sanctuary'. The sanctuary is everlasting glory, or, in the simpler language of place, Heaven; but what is the tabernacle 'through which' he entered? As the entrance was made through the Passion, the only satisfactory answer seems to be: his own mortal Body, cf. 'the veil, which is his flesh', 10:20. This would explain why the Apostle not only says 'not made with hands' but adds the words: 'that is, not of this creation', for the Body of Christ was formed as a temple of God by the Holy Ghost. It is, of course, impossible to deny that the writer is thinking of the two localized poles, earth and heaven; but he evidently does not regard the blue curtain of the sky as the veil of a sanctuary. Christ passed from the condition of mortality to glory. Thus the glorified Christ, finding of course his proper habitation in Heaven, constitutes the interior sanctuary. 'The flesh is a veil', says St. John Chrysostom, 'as concealing the Godhead; and likewise a tabernacle as holding the Godhead'. There is no express reference in the Epistle to the Ascension of Christ. He, as it were, enters Heaven from the Cross in the sprinkling of his blood, and at the end of the Epistle it is in the Blood of the New Testament that God brings him forth from the dead, 13:20. Not that our author was unaware of the three days (some thirty-five hours) of entombment and the forty days of glory on earth, but he is thinking in the juridical terms of Atonement Day. Christ expiating sin on the Cross and, sacerdotally sprinkled with his own blood, de jure enters eternal glory at the moment that the veil of His mortality is broken; and at the same moment the veil of the temple—surely the inner veil—is rent, with a synchronism which seems to find its tremendous explanation in Christ's sixth word: 'It is consummated' . With all the prophecies about the Messianic redemption now fulfilled, the Old Covenant and the Ritual of Leviticus 16 have come to an end. 12. 'Not by the blood of goats nor of calves but by His own blood (Christ) entered once into the holies, having obtained eternal redemption'. The heavenly sanctuary is opened once for all and forever, for the blood of expiation is an eternal ransom, that is, the infinite price of eternal freedom. 13. The cleansing efficacy of blood belongs to two different spheres, that of outer purification and that of interior purification. The sprinkled blood of sacrificial goats and calves and the lustral water made from the ashes of a red heifer offered in sacrifice, Numbers 20, cleanse those who have contracted legal defilement of one kind or another, that is, cleanse them externally in view of externally unimpeded communion with God's people. These sprinklings have limited but real legal efficacy in the sphere to which they belong. 14. But how much more shall not the blood of Christ be efficacious in the interior sphere of conscience? 'By the Holy Ghost (Greek, 'eternal spirit', probably meaning the Holy Ghost; otherwise' his own eternal Godhead') He offered himself unspotted unto God'. He was Priest and Victim — a Victim utterly without blemish (cf. 1 Peter 1:19). 'Cleansing' (cf. 1:3; Ephesians 5:20; Titus 2:14) is wrought within the conscience so that the beneficiary receives new life to serve the living God. The impressive phrase 'Living God' occurs four times in our Epistle, and five times in the other Paulines. It reminds us that the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God of the Hebrew Fathers and of the Apostles was no idol and no mere philosophical abstraction.

15-22 Covenant Significance

The Redeemer is a Mediator, and what he mediates is the new covenant of friendship between God and mankind. 15. With language partly similar to that of the great redemption passage of Romans 3:21-26 the Apostle insists that the New Covenant is enacted by a death that redeemed the transgressions which were without atonement under the former Covenant, so that those who have been called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance made to the Patriarchs. Christ, the Mediator, dying to establish a Covenant, is evidently a testator and the Covenant is a Testament receiving its validity through death. There seems to be no doubt that in 16 and 17 is not simply the equivalent of the Hebrew (Hebrew translation) meaning pact or alliance, but that it has its most usual Greek signification of 'last will or testament'. 16. 'Where there is a testament, the death of the testator must receive public attestation' . 17. For a testament is effective only after death — it has no legal force while the testator lives.

18-20. It was in view of this testamentary character of the Messianic Covenant that the inauguration of the Sinaitic Covenant and the dedication of its sanctuary and its holy things were accompanied by the death of victims of sacrifice and the sprinkling of blood. The actions of Moses are described and the words of Exodus 24:8 (alluded to in the consecration of the chalice at the Last Supper) are textually cited. Many ceremonial details mentioned are not found in Exodus, but are gathered from analogous ceremonies elsewhere described in the Pentateuch, Leviticus 14:4,5; 16:15; Numbers 19:9. 21. An anointing of the tabernacle and its utensils is all that is mentioned in the sacred page, Exodus 40:9; Leviticus 8:10, but on the analogy of the consecration of Aaron and his sons, aspersion of blood is presumed for all great consecrations. 22. Very few purifications and those minor ones were carried out without blood, and even such a permission as that of a sin-offering of meal for the poor, Leviticus 5:11, did not alter the general principle enunciated here and also current as a rabbinical Mashal: 'Without shedding of blood there is no remission'.

23-28 Finality of Christ's Sacrifice

Four chief ideas are conveyed in these lines: (a) 23. The purifications of the Old Law were shadows and affected shadow types of heavenly things only, and yet animal blood was required; but the heavenly things themselves must be purified by better sacrifices (plural of category really meaning only one sacrifice applied in many ways). As purifications fall only on the Church Militant that must be the primary meaning of (Chrys. Theodoret.). These things of the Church combatant are 'heavenly things', for they are of heavenly origin, belong to the sphere of eternal life and end in Heaven. 24. It really was no hand-made sanctuary that Christ entered but Heaven itself, to appear now before God on our behalf. Entering he has opened the road for ever. (b) 25-26a. He does not offer himself again and again to effect a periodical expiation like the annual expiation made by the Israelite high priest. If that were so, he should have suffered many times over, since the beginning of the world. (c) 26b. But now once and once only, in the last age of the world, he has appeared for the abolition of sin through His sacrifice. (d) 27-28. As far as Christ's work is concerned, nothing remains but the consummation. Just as death comes to men once and is not repeated — only judgement next — so also Christ offered himself once' to take away the sins of many' (any number Isaiah 53:12), and at his second coming shall make his appearance in order to gather in those who expect him as Savior, Philippians 3:20,21.

Chapter 10:1-18 Superior Efficacy of Christ's One Sacrifice Abolishes Legal Sacrifices

Here the Apostle's gaze is still more on the Church Militant, as it undergoes sanctification for Heaven. Christ's sacrifice is compared once again with the yearly liturgy of atonement and subsequently with the perpetual daily round of Israelite sacrifices. Here also four points seem to sum up the text : (1.) Sacrifices incessantly repeated show their powerlessness by their very repetition, 1-4; (2.) Christ's one obedience, as the Scriptures show, replaced them all, 5-10; (3.) the daily liturgy of simple Levitical priests is as powerless as that of Atonement Day and even more palpably powerless, 11; (4.) the sacrifice of Christ is the consummation of everything, for it really remits sins, 12-18.

1-4 Legal Sacrifices Powerless

The best way of conceiving the Apostle's terminology (shadow, image, things), seems to be this. 1. The Law had only mere shadow signs, the new economy of the Church Militant has the image (the object itself, the reality) in the institutional means of grace, while the good things to come embrace both grace and glory. The impotence of the yearly expiation, shown by its constant repetition, was its inability to give interior perfection or effect pardon of sin. 2. The sacrificial ritual was really only a yearly amnesty, not a purification of consciences once for all. 3. In fact the amnesty included a yearly anamnesis or commemoration of sins. 4. It was, of course, impossible that the blood of calves and goats should take away guilt.

5-10 Christ's Obedience

Christ himself in a programmatic Psalm-text, 39:7-9a, announces the abolition of legal sacrifices of every sort and their replacement by his own obedience—which obedience actually was sacrificial obedience unto death. 5. Coming into the world he speaks the words of this Psalm which may well be directly Messianic as most of the ancients and also post-Tridentine commentators of note, like Agellius and Bellarmine, held. It is at the very least typically Messianic. In this latter case, David must have been in such a situation that God wanted no sort of material sacrifice from him. The language used is, it seems, the most absolute rejection of legal sacrifice in any Old Testament passage, cf. Psalms 49:8, 50:18, and 68:32. The verses are cited according to LXX, which differs from the Hebrew mainly which reads 'Ears thou hast opened for me', instead of Paul's 'a body thou hast fitted to me'. In spite of the high editorial authority of Rahlfs, this seems to be the original Alexandrian Greek reading. The sense of the verse is not substantially changed, for the obedience of Christ (open-eared promptness) was exercised by offering his body. Hence St Paul can lawfully emphasize the word 'body ' from the LXX. 5-10. The Psalm text, as expounded here is a five-point oracle: (1.) 'Thou wouldst not', 5, removes legal sacrifices; (2.) 'Behold, I come', 7, marks a new era, but, of course, not an era without sacrifice; (3.) the sacrifice of the Messias, though instinct with obedience, is not metaphorical but real, 8-9; (4.) it is the sacrifice of his body, 10; (5.) it is the will of God, 10, that this obedience unto death be our sanctifying sacrifice offered once for all used since 7:27 for the third and last time with a thud of emphasis).

11-18 The Daily Liturgy and the One Eternal Sacrifice

11. Repetition, repetition, repetition—that is the law of the daily sacrifices of Mosaism, for they can never take away sin. Christ's sacrifice for sins is, on the contrary, one and unrepeatable. 12-13. Having offered it, he sits forever at the right hand of God, awaiting the full actualization of his sovereignty in the subjection of all his enemies. 14. For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are undergoing sanctification. 15. Once again, under the name of the Holy Ghost the Inspirer, part of the oracle of Jeremias is quoted in inverted order, to show that the New Covenant brings the remission of sins. 18. Then the Apostle concludes: 'Where there is remission of these, an oblation for sin finds no place any longer'. What then of all our Masses? one may ask. The answer is that they are only the one Sacrifice of Christ perpetually commemorated, re-presented, applied to our daily needs, individual and social. The unity of Christ's sacrifice is a tremendous truth, and nowhere is it so tremendously driven home as in the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Paraenetic Part, Chapter 10:19—Chapter 13:17

This moral part is an exhortation to perseverance in the faith. Its first section, 10:19-39, opens with an encouraging 'we-exhortation' to faith, hope and charity, 19-25, continues with a severe warning against apostasy, 26-31, and terminates in a direct and comforting appeal based on past good deeds, 32-39.

Each of the three subdivisions ends in the thought of judgement. The second section (Chapter 11) opening with a practical definition of faith, 1-3, is a Martyrology of heroic examples of faith from the primitive age, 4-7, the patriarchal age, 8-22, the days of the Exodus, and Conquest, 23-31, followed by more miscellaneous examples out of the long period from Judges to Maccabees, 32-38. The Martyrology is crowned by the remark that all those heroes of faith attained the perfection of glory only in our Christian age. 39. The third section (Chapter 12) resumes exhortation especially to patience, firstly, with a 'we-appeal' centering in the example of Christ, 1,2 — this continues in the second person plural with consolatory remarks on God's paternal discipline, 3-13; then, in a special admonition to peace, holiness and fidelity which ends in a grandiose characterization of the Mosaic Sinai and the Christian Sion, 14-24. There follows a final warning, 25-29, in which, as it were, the sound of the last trumpet itself accompanies the proclamation that there can be no refusal of this final revelation of God now spoken in the Messianic end of time. The Epistle, in a sense, ends here; 13:1-I7 is of the nature of an appendix and contains a set of precepts loosely strung together but skillfully attached to the main theme of the Epistle.

X 19-26 Steadfastness

19. 'Unwavering confidence rooted in faith and working in charity' is the watchword. 20. Christ is the inaugurator of the newly opened way to the Sanctuary through the veil of his flesh, and since he is also High Priest over the House of God, he inspires the boldness of our confidence. 22-24. Sincerity, fullness of faith, the sprinkling and washing that come from repentance and baptism give the conscience freedom of access. 'Let us approach . . . let us hold fast ... let us consider each other' are the three exhortatives which urge the practice of the three divine virtues. Hope particularly is founded on the fidelity of God to his promises, and charity must be social. 25. The necessity of 'provoking' charity, of frequenting liturgical gatherings, of mutual exhortation is all the greater 'as you see the day approaching'. The Parousia is meant, but the judgement on Jerusalem (five years hence) is probably included.

26-31 Apostasy

26-29. The sin contemplated is deliberate and persistent rejection of the truth once sufficiently received. For such sinners, on account of their moral condition, no sacrifice is operative and there is no prospect but the wrath of God. Much worse than the capital crime of blasphemy, mercilessly punished with death under the old legislation, is the sin of him who has trampled on the Son of God, treated the sanctifying blood of the Covenant as a common "thing of nothing", and outraged the Spirit of grace. 30. The vengeance text from Deuteronomy 32:35 verbally differs from both Hebrew and LXX but agrees with St Paul's citation in Romans 12:19. The judgement text as uttered by Moses, Deuteronomy 32:36, really refers to judgement in favour of God's people, but every such judgement entails punishment of enemies. 31. The Apostle ends with one of the three terrible dicta of Hebrews, cf. 6:8 and 12:29.

32-39 Old Memories

Remembrance of days of fervor is a most powerful antidote against relaxation. The Hebrews had 'endured a great contest of sufferings' and proved themselves good spiritual athletes. Pain, shame, active sympathy with persecuted fellow Christians, and spoliation fell to their lot—in the days of Stephen, for example. 35. This courage of confidence must not be thrown away, and patience is necessary in order to keep doing God's will and thus secure salvation. 36-39. Prefaced by the words: 'a little while, a very little while', Isaiah 26:20, the well-known text of Habakkuk 2:3c, 4a, and 4b is cited in the order 3c, 4b, and 4a. Thus an eschatological warning is made to end in the chiasmus: faith gives life, withdrawal displeasure to God — 'but we are not persons of withdrawal to our perdition, rather of faith to the saving of our souls'. The homiletic 'we' concludes this direct appeal.

 

 

 


You said in your first reply:
Yes, I need clarification. We're dealing with three things:

  1. Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross.
  2. Christ's Offering in the Heavenly Sanctuary of that Sacrifice.
  3. The Lord's Supper, commemorating No. 1.

Nos. 1 and 2 were once for all. No. 3 is done often, since Paul says,

"As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup you show the Lord's death until He comes" (1 Corinthians 11:26)

My point is that when No. 2 occurred and Christ offered Himself to the Father, He did it once for all and sat down. He never told anyone to stand up and re-offer His one Sacrifice again and again which He did once for all.

What you are saying is that He told us to stand up and partake of No. 3, the Lord's Supper, which we are to do in remembrance of Him. Yes, we do that, but that is not repeating or re-doing No. 1 or No. 2, both of which can never be repeated or redone since they were once for all.

No. 3, on the other hand, is not “once for all” but instead very repeatable and, in fact, to be done “often” as Paul says. So, there is a clear distinction between No. 1 and No. 2, on the one hand (both once for all), and No. 3, on the other hand (repeatable).

So, yes, we are to do No. 3 often, but we can never do Nos. 1 or 2 again, since they were once for all and Christ never told anyone to repeat them and in fact they cannot be repeated, since only Christ Himself could do either of them, and He has already done them.


No, this is not quite correct.

  1. Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross.
  2. Christ's Offering in the Heavenly Sanctuary of that Sacrifice.
  3. The Lord's Supper, commemorating No. 1.
  • Number 1 was done once
  • Number 2 is done perpetually by Christ, and
  • Number 3 is done often by priests, representing Christ, who enter into that Sacrifice that which is perpetually offered by Christ to the Father.

In order to understand the concept of what is going on at the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the proper use of grammar and articles is important.

  • Why?

Because a mere man did not die on the Cross for our sins. The God-Man, Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ died on the Cross. Jesus is a Divine, not a human, person. We are God's sons and daughters by adoption, Jesus is God's Son by nature. Because [God|Jesus'] nature is eternal or outside of time, His existence is a Perpetual Now, covering all of time and history.

If Jesus were a mere man and he died on the Cross for our sins, only those at the foot of the Cross would have received the redeeming graces of salvation, because man is bound by time.

Because Jesus is True God and True Man, one substance with the Father, His Redemptive Death and Resurrection, and saving graces that come from that Paschal Weekend were perpetuated throughout history.

This is why Mass is called the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; His painful death happened once, but wait, Jesus said:

"Do in remembrance of Me."

to his [Apostles|first priests]. Addressing Hebrews 10:12:

  • I think we have to ask the question, why would Christ sit down at the right hand of God (Hebrews 10:12), yet ask his Apostles and future priests to do something apart from Him? <He wouldn't and He doesn't.>

Everything the Catholic Church does and Catholic priests do are:

  • in Christ
  • through Christ, and
  • with Christ

I sense the writer of my Catholic Commentary may think you may be reading too much into that one verse, but only he can speak for himself. If Christ did sit down and have His own spring vacation until Judgment Day, people would accuse you of not doing good works, in, through and with Christ, which I'm sure you would never do.

Catholic do good works, not on their own, but "In Christ". How? By partaking in the Eucharist every Sunday. When we receive the Eucharist in a state of grace, we become partakers of divine nature as St. Peter states in his epistle.

  • If Christ, in the Body of His Church is active and dynamic, how can you reason that the Head, Christ Himself, is just sitting on his throne in an inactive manner?

Holy Orders makes the physical body of the priest, a body Jesus can use to commemorate the Last Supper. All over the world for generation after generation, the Mass has been celebrated by priests in obedience to the Words of Jesus above.

  • Are priest re-crucifying Christ at every Mass? <No!>

Here's an analogy. Every day I get up in the morning, one the first things I do is take a shower. After getting out the shower and am much cleaner than I was before.

What if I left my shower "On" twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year; boy would that be a waste of water. Nevertheless, when I get up each morning, all I would have to do is step into the shower, clean myself, get out and grab a towel.

Something similar is happening when priests offer up the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The celebrant and the worshipping parishioners attending the Mass enter into that one Sacrifice of Calvary (like entering into that daily shower) that has perpetuated down through history. In doing so, they are receiving the graces and blessings from Our Lord's redemptive Death on the Cross that those at the foot of the Cross received in 33 A.D.

The Sacrifice of Calvary happened once; but we enter into that Sacrifice on the command of Our Lord's Words:

"Do in remembrance of Me."

So Yes, from a human view there are many Masses said often throughout any day. Each Mass is a celebration of the Last Supper, where we enter into the Sacrifice of Calvary, which happened once.

The key is to understand this is, yes, although Christ did offer His one Sacrifice in the Heavenly Sanctuary, it is perpetually offered by Him to the Father, for all Masses that would be offered up by priests because of His Command to:

"Do in remembrance of Me."

As the commentary pointed out:

Having offered it, he sits forever at the right hand of God, awaiting the full actualization of his sovereignty in the subjection of all his enemies. For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are undergoing sanctification. St. Paul states: "Where there is remission of these, an oblation for sin finds no place any longer".

  • What then of all our Masses? one may ask.

The answer is that they are only the one Sacrifice of Christ perpetually commemorated, re-presented, applied to our daily needs, individual and social.

As a priest commented in a 1915 book called "Treasury of Catholic Doctrine":

The Mass being a commemorative sacrifice, the actual death of Christ is not necessary to make it complete. All that commemoration requires is, the presence of the victim, a mystical death, or such a notable change as may represent death.

The commemorative sacrifice that takes place at Mass are the separate consecrations of the leaven bread to the Body of Christ and the grape wine to the Blood of Christ. if one separates their body from their blood, they can't live; they will die. This is the commemoration that happens at Mass.

The liturgy is a stepping out of the world into this contact between eternity and time.

So as the Catechism states:

1367 The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: "The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different." "And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory." (Hebrews 9:14,27; Council of Trent)

I think it's important to also see what the Early Church Fathers, the very first Christian, though on this topic. Here is some addition information I scanned from my 1915 book called:
"Treasury of Catholic Doctrine":

The catacombs of Egypt and Rome where the early Christians spent many years of exile, show to a demonstration that the Mass was the form of divine worship then and there used. The history of the Christian church, century by century, from the first to [the twenty-first century], gives us the Mass as the form of divine worship used. Those who have not the time, nor the convenience, of consulting large works, will find in the "Faith of Catholics, [Volume 1; Volume 2]" lately edited and published by Monsg. Capel, collations from the representative Christians of the first five centuries, with special reference to the principal doctrines of the Catholic Church. That these citations are authentic and genuine no intelligent person will doubt, after a study of the mode in which the work was prepared. I will offer you brief citations taken from the most learned, prominent, and representative Christians, of the first, second, third, fourth and fifth centuries.

First century, St. Clement, instructed and ordained by St. Peter:

"The Lord has commanded us to perform both the oblations and the offices—not at random, but at determinate hours and places. They, therefore, that make their oblations at the proper time and places are at once accepted and blessed. Perpetual sacrifices, or votive sacrifices, or sacrifices for sins, are offered at the altar."

Second Century, St. Ignatius of Antioch

Some abstain from the oblations through not confessing that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, which flesh suffered for our sins, and which flesh, the Father in His mercy raised again. They therefor gainsay the gift of God."

Second Century, St. Justin Martyr:

"The oblations of wheaten flour prescribed to be offered for those who were purified from the leprosy (Leviticus 14:10), was a type of the bread of the Eucharist which our Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to offer for a commemoration of the passion which He endured, that we may, at the same time give thanks to God for having made the world and all things in it for the sake of man. Whence God in speaking of the sacrifices mentioned by the prophet Malachi, then foretold concerning the sacrifices offered unto Him in every place by us Gentiles, that is of the bread of the Eucharist and of the cup in like manner of the Eucharist."

Second Century, St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, France, a disciple of St. Polycarp, who was a disciple of St. John, the beloved Apostle:

"Most manifestly the Lord Almighty means by these words of the prophet, Malachy, that the olden people shall cease to offer to God; but that in every place, a sacrifice and that a pure one, shall be offered to Him. Wherefore the church's oblation, which the Lord taught to be offered throughout the whole world, is reputed a pure sacrifice before God, and is acceptable to Him."

Third Century, St. Hippolytus:

"It is not lawful for a deacon to offer up sacrifice. Christ, having become man for our sakes, and offering up to Him, the God and Father, the spiritual sacrifice before His passion, to us alone did He give commission to do this after His ascension; we offering up according to His appointment, a pure and unbloody sacrifice, set apart bishops, and priests, and deacons."

Third Century, St. Cyprian, writing to Celerinus, whose relatives had been martyred:

"We always, as you remember, offer sacrifices for them as often as we celebrate the sufferings and days of the martyrs in the anniversary commemoration."

Fourth Century, Eusebius:

"Who but our Savior alone delivered to His votaries to celebrate unbloody and rational sacrifices. For this cause over the whole inhabited earth, altars have been erected, and there have been consecration of churches and liturgies truly hallowed of rational and intellectual sacrifices are offered to God."

Fourth Century, Saint Macarius of Alexandria, Egypt:

"If thou art present at Mass, keep a guard over thy thoughts and senses, and stand with trembling before the most high God, that thou mayest be worthy to receive the body of Christ and the blood, and mayest cure thy passions."

Fifth Century, St. Augustine of Hippo:

"They who think that these sacrifices befit other gods, whilst him as invisible befit invisible sacrifices, are certainly ignorant that these visible sacrifices are signs of invisible ones, as words are signs of things."


Addressing John's points on the Canon of Scripture:

I think it is fair to admit that we see things from two different authorities.

  • Catholics see the Church Jesus founded on St. Peter and His successors as the final authority.
  • Most Protestants see the Bible, which was written by Catholics and their ancestors, for Catholics, for use in the Catholic Mass, as their authority.

It's like a friend of mine explained (I'm not saying you are doing this): When a Protestant attacks a Catholic with the Bible, it's like pulling the arm from the socket of the person and beating him over the head with it. The Bible is a Catholic book; at the Reformation, the reformers just took Catholic bibles and edited them to their desire. That's just history.

If you are looking for Bible answers to all Bible questions for all the Church teachings, don't expect it. As John said, the Church had 382 years of Oral Tradition before we even knew what books would make up the Bible. The very first Christians, who were Catholic Christians, for the first 382 years passed the faith by word of mouth. The decision of which books would be in the Canon of Scriptures was made by Catholic bishops, guided by the Holy Spirit. So whenever a Protestant opens a Bible, they are implicitly saying:

I trust the decision that Catholic bishops made back in 382 A.D. when choosing the New Testament books.

We have had over 2000 years of weak, frail humans in the Church, who, nevertheless have been
guided by the Holy Spirit to preserve the truth of "Who is Jesus Christ?" and "What is His Gospel and Teachings?" The Holy Spirit guides certain members of the Church to teach, preach and clarify the faith for others. This process is where we get the word theology from "Study of God."

For any reader, who is strong in the Scriptures, interested in understanding what Catholics truly believe I would recommend:

  1. studying Catholic teaching. Many members in the Church, and I'm sure Dan will agree, have been very poorly catechized. Find out what we truly believe John, and again, consider buying a cheap copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
  2. getting a copy of the Navarre Bible Commentary for Hebrews.
    (Navarre is a great series for understanding Catholic Biblical interpretation.)
    I believe they have an Old Testament and New Testament series.

John said in one of his replies:
Since you seem to want to debate rather than learn, can you please explain to me, ...

No one can pre-judge someone else's intent, but we have had more than a few visitors to our site who we dialogue with for a while, just to find out they have no interest at all in whether the Catholic Church is the true Church or in joining.

They basically, they just come to our site to debate. We welcome those who know nothing about the Catholic faith OR know nothing about Christianity, itself, but expect sincerity and courtesy in every [question and reply] as we dialogue.

John made some very good recommendations for viewing and reading.
Here are some links to them:

One last thing that did concern me is what your friend Dan said:
He is a very strong Catholic who is trying to get me into "the one true church"

No one can "get a person" into a Church. One has to freely choose to be Catholic, otherwise
their entrance into the Church is invalid. You have to have understand what we truly believe
and have the desire to partake in the Body of Christ, via the Eucharist.

If I send you a FREE Catechism and, after reading it, you think we are nuts, I wouldn't want you to join : )

Mike

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