WHAT’S MISSING ON CHRISTMAS IN A NUTSHELL
By Steven Speray Christmas 1999
Year after year, we see many people scrambling to buy gifts as the hustle and bustle of Christmas takes place. As each year passes, so-called Christians talk about how Christ is once again taken out of Christmas. As secularism creeps in, we are reminded over and over to remember the real reason for the season.
For many so-called Christians, the highlight of the season is the gathering of family and friends, eating, singing carols and going to church to praise God and calling to mind the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.
On Christmas day in nearly every church service across America, indeed the world, the most important part of the service will be missing.
It will not be that Christ is forgotten, or taken out of Christmas, for it is in His Holy Name that these so-called Christians namely Evangelicals, Protestants, and Fundamentalists, and even neo-Catholics will come together. Rather, it is the Holy Mass that will be missing from Christmas. Hence the name ‘Christ Mass’ or the ‘Mass of Christ’.
The Holy Mass is the supreme act of Christian worship. It is infinitely greater than any other form of Christian worship. It is the very life, death and Resurrection of Jesus being presented in a liturgical form so that the faithful can participate in Christ’s own prayers and offering His sacrifice to the Father. It is called the Mass (Missa in Latin), because this liturgy concludes with the sending forth (missio) of the faithful.
The Mass was the code name for the worship service of the ancient Christians to keep pagan Rome from finding out and keep the heart of Christianity a secret.
At Holy Mass, not only is there prayer, singing, praising and hearing the Word of God, but also, Christ’s supreme once-and-for-all sacrifice on the cross (Heb. 10:10), and His Resurrection is made present throughout time for all generations to enjoy the benefits of what Christ did and is doing for our sins.
The Mass is not a re-sacrifice, but the same sacrifice represented in an unbloody manner. Above all else, the Mass is the earthly participation in that sacrificial offering going on in Heaven where Jesus prays, and offers Himself up to the Father on our behalf.
Since the mission of Christ began at His birth, the worship service celebrating that day came to be known as Christ Mass or simply Christmas. We see this reality in Scripture with the practice of all faithful Christians throughout history.
In Hebrews 9:23, the sacrifice of the Mass is explained: “Therefore, it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified by these rites, but the heavenly things themselves by better sacrifices than these.” Notice the plural sacrifices as a copy of the heavenly things.
Hebrews 13:10 mentions, “We have an altar.” An altar without a sacrifice would be meaningless. We also see the Mass explained in the First Letter to the Corinthians 11:17-34 clarifying the true nature of the Lord’s Supper which clearly shows that it is not a mere symbol as the Evangelicals, Protestants, and Fundamentalists would have us to believe. Although, without a valid priesthood, they all can only have merely a symbolic Lord’s Supper.
Speaking of the Lord, Psalm 110 reads, “Like Melchizedek, you shall be a priest forever.” As Melchizedek offered bread and wine, so too, Christ would offer up His body and blood in the form of bread and wine (Matt. 26:26-29.)
Christ commands us to do likewise (Luke 22:19.) This new sacrifice would be offered as Holy Writ has it, “For from the Rising of the sun, even to its setting, my name is great among the nations; And everywhere they bring sacrifice to my name, and a pure offering.” (Malachi 1:11)
Only the Holy Mass can, and does fulfill this final prophecy of the Old Testament.
The Holy Mass (Lord’s Supper) is a memorial, but not merely as a psychological remembrance as in non-Catholic services. It is a supernatural copy on Earth of the Heavenly things, viz, Christ continually offering His sacrifice to the Father as He sits at His right hand. Christians are invited to this sacrifice to receive Christ mysteriously on earth by literally eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood as we read in Matt. 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:14-21, John 6:53-57, and I Cor. 11:23-26.
As many of the disciples thought it was a hard saying, (John 6:60) so too, did the Protestant Reformers of the 16th and continual centuries. The difference between the Jews of that time and the Reformers was the Jews recognized that Christ was not speaking symbolically.
To symbolically eat flesh and drink blood, meant to revile and hate the enemy by the ancient Jews, thereby rendering Christ’s words ridiculous and silly since one would have to revile and hate Christ to have eternal life. Had Christ only meant it figuratively, the Jews would have not left Him. They knew well enough that Christ meant literally that His Flesh was real food and His Blood was real drink (John 6:56). Incidentally, it was here that Judas Iscariot left and stopped believing in Jesus (John 6:71).
Christ had warned them not to think of it as cannibalism for the flesh is no avail, but the spirit that gives life (John 6:63). In other words, it is a matter of faith, and will not happen in the bloody way that you are thinking. It is not only the Flesh but also the Soul and Divinity, and this is what gives life.
Christ had told them in John 6:53-54, “unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you do not have life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.”
The Reformers, however, didn’t want to leave Christ as those particular Jews before them. So they changed the theology and created a whole new interpretation of Scripture to fit their understanding of salvation even though it would contradict 1500 years of Christian belief and practice.
Once the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Mass was denied, the Holy Mass ceased with those who separated with the true Church.
Only the Traditional Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches continue to have Jesus Christ substantially present while all the rest of Christianity (if you call them that) can only have Jesus in spirit, though, I would say not even in spirit would Christ be present if His Holy Mass was denied.
If we take another look at the story of Christmas, we see that Jesus was born in a town called Bethlehem, which means House of Bread. (Matt 2:1) Mary had laid Him in a manger, which is a feeding tough for animals. (Luke 2:7) Jesus says that He is the Bread that comes down from Heaven. (John 6:58) Who is the Lamb of God who is to be eaten (John 1:29, Matt. 26:26-28, Exodus 12:3-4, 8-9, 11, 14-16.)
These three prophetic readings in Holy Scripture shows what Christmas is really all about, viz, that Christ came into the world, for the purpose of dying, giving Himself to us in a mystery, and redeeming mankind by saving us from absolute death.
Christ and the Mass are a reality so joined together, that They cannot be truly separated. To deny the Mass would be to deny the mystery of Christ’s salvific work for mankind.
When those Jews left, Jesus then asks, “Will you also go away?”(John 6:67) The Lord’s question is answered by Peter, “You have the words of eternal life.”
To receive in faith the gift of Christ’s Body and Blood at Mass is to fulfill what Jesus intended for those who truly love and follow Him.
Taking the Mass out of Christmas is a rejection of the real reason for the season, which is ultimately that we remember Christ’s birth as we receive Him in Holy Communion at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and be reminded, and prepared for His coming again in glory.
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