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The Mass as Cross and Re-Presentation

“Now, the sacrifice is unsurpassable. Now, it’s a re-presentation of that sacrifice.”

As he says these words about the “climactic moment” of the Mass, he gestures to the crucified Christ behind him: the definitive sacrifice; the Lamb of God; the high priest who entered once for all into the sanctuary—not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own blood—to obtain eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:11-12).

This scene from the last episode of Bishop Barron’s new film series on The Mass is an important one, because while many Protestants reject the sacrificial dimension of the Mass as unbiblical and heretical, the controversy really stems from a failure to communicate—and might just be dissolved by a single word.

Of course, every effort to bridge the divide between Catholics and Protestants can feel daunting, even impossible. Our relationship has been mostly tense and often murderous for hundreds of years. Thankfully, we’ve come a long way. Without for a second claiming that the theological issues that divide us are not real or serious, Catholics and Protestants have increasingly entered into peaceful conversations and even found common cause in an increasingly secularized world. Think of the spirited but civil G3 Conference debate between apologists Dr. James White and Trent Horn, or Bishop Barron’s recent dialogue with Dr. William Lane Craig, or Rick Warren extending a hand of friendship to Pope Francis—the list goes on and on. So in that spirit of friendly dialogue (and with an eye to the Gospel call to Christian unity), I’d like to offer some clarity on the Catholic perspective of the Mass in light of the critiques of leading Reformed pastors.

Read more at Word on Fire. 

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