The Cycle of Sacrifice in the Roman Catholic Mass

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The Cycle of Sacrifice in the Roman Catholic Mass The Christian Church is centered on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is what set the early Christians apart from their Jewish roots. In the Christian Church the notion of sacrifice is based on Jesus Christ as the ultimate sacrifice. This comes from a long tradition of sacrifice throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. In the Jewish tradition there are sacrifices made at certain times of the year. For example, traditionally during Passover each family has a rabbi sacrifice a lamb. The Jewish belief is that this sacrifice must take place every year at Passover. The Christian belief has changed since the death of Christ. Christians believe Christ has become the one true sacrifice. The reason the sacrifice of the Hebrews must be continued is two fold. The Hebrew sacrifice is made to God, by a priest who is imperfect, and the sacrifice itself is also imperfect. This imperfection and the presence of sin prevent the sacrifice from becoming eternal and therefore must be repeated. In the Christian view, Jesus is the perfect victim and the perfect sacrificer. The emphasis on sacrifice in the Catholic Church has changed. In the earliest days bread was broken in a meal of fellowship. Eyewitness accounts of the works of Jesus Christ were the center of the fathering. It was a gathering of a community of believers. Gradually this emphasis on community and discussion has changed to an emphasis on the sacrifice of Jesus. By the middle ages this is the center of all. People came to adore the Blessed Sacrament while the priest offered the sacrifice. This centrality on the eucharist and the priest as sacrificer was solidified by the Council of Trent. In time, the people yearned for a greater participation in the liturgy. This led to the Second Vatican Council in which great changes to the liturgy resulted in a shift of emphasis back to the words and works of Jesus and to the people as the mystical body of Christ. In the earliest church there was little to no mention of sacrifice. The focus of the beliefs of the community was around the resurrection and good works of Jesus. Just after the death of Christ, Jewish Christians gathered in homes after the Temple service.

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