We are born to live. Christ, however, was born to die. On the night of the Last Supper, Christ instituted the Mass in order to leave a memorial to his beloved Spouse, the Church. He offered his body and blood under the species of bread and wine to God the Father.
Taking bread, Christ said: "This is my body, which will be given up for you." Also taking the chalice with wine, he said: "This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven." Christ then commanded his apostles: "Do this in memory of me," making them priests of the New Testament. This rite anticipated the bloody sacrifice that Christ accomplished on the cross once and for all on Good Friday for the redemption of the world.
The Church continues to offer the sacrifice of the cross, but in a bloodless manner. The Mass is neither a repetition of nor a substitute for the cross, but the merit we gain from the Mass is the same merit that we would have gained had we actually been present at the foot of the cross on Calvary.
The historical event of Calvary does not, however, repeat itself, nor is it continued in each Mass. The sacrifice of Christ is perfect and, therefore, does not need to be repeated. Glorious in heaven, Christ does not die again. His sacrifice is not repeated; rather, the presence of the singular sacrifice of the cross is multiplied, overcoming time and space.
Printed with permission from eCatholicHub.