The Victory Party
The Mass is a party that the most Holy Trinity throw to celebrate the victory of the Son of God and the defeat of the serpent. A victory without a party to celebrate it is not much of a victory, right? It is trivial - downright lilliputian. A victory without a party is no different than a defeat. Parties do not follow defeats; they follow victories. What a victory must have been won that celebrations of it are repeated again and again, non-stop, through both time and space over the course of more than two thousand years and to the far ends of the earth. The continued celebration of victory parties attests to the fact that this was no ordinary victory. An earthquake took place and we are still feeling the aftershocks. The victory party, however is not thrown to celebrate his presence at the party. His presence at the party is not the victory. His presence at the party is incidental to his victory. He is the guest of honor. He is the hero who achieved the victory. It would not be much of a victory party without the hero being present, right? The priest celebrating the victory party is the master of ceremonies. The priest is not the star of the show. The Son of God is the star of the show. At the victory party are food, drink, music and speeches. It would not be much of a party without food, drink, music and speeches, right? We are the beneficiaries of his victory. He fought the serpent not for himself but for us and won. What exactly was the victory that we are celebrating at the Mass? At Calvary, the serpent tried to poke a hole in the most sacred heart of the Son of God to drain it of his love for us. The serpent failed. The evil we did to the Son of God did not extinguish his love for us or reduce it by even the slightest degree. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he emerged from the black hole of dead still alive and still in love with us. That he let us baptize him in the boiling cauldron of torture and death and he emerged therefrom still alive and still in love with us tells us with no ambiguity whatsoever that his love for us is immense in size, radical in scope and indestructible in duration.
The Body and Blood Point to the Bloody Wounds
Obviously, the Son of God is present at Mass. The Mass is the party that the most Holy Trinity throw to celebrate the victory of the Son of God and the defeat of the serpent. What would a victory party be without the hero. He is the guest of honor.
However, if you focus on his real presence, you are missing the point of the Mass.
Ask yourself, "why body and blood?". Why not knee and nose? Why not one item? Why not three items? The choice of body and blood was not accidental. The body and blood point. They point our attention to the wounds we opened. The evil we did to him opened bloody wounds in the body of the Son of God. Through the bloody wounds, buckets of blood spilled from his body. Gory is the appropriate word. Yet, not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us spilled. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. This is the victory we celebrate at Mass. The God who shaped us out of the mud with his hands put himself into the hands to the mud to reveal to us the sweetness of paradise. His immense and indestructible love for us is the sweetness of paradise. The sweetness of paradise was revealed to us so its honey can lure the bees back home to the hive. The serpent camouflaged the sweetness of paradise from us with an illusion. Jesus shattered the illusion when he emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. His emergence from the dead still alive and still in love with us shattered the illusion as the blow of a hammer shatters glass. With the illusion shattered, the truth becomes visible to us. Rational people seek the sweetness of paradise. It is contrary to our interest to do otherwise. The truth sets us free. Wow! Where do I sign up? How do I enlist? How do I join the kingdom of the King who loves sinners like me (Romans 5:8)?
Propagation of the Memory of the Bloody Wounds
We opened the bloody wounds in the body of Christ in the boondocks of time and space. Between then and there and here and now is an impassable gap - a gap in time of more than two thousand years and a gap in space of half way around the world. The event was inconspicuous, anonymous and remote. Christ was just one of hundreds of thousands that the Romans crucified. The question, therefore, was how to perpetuate and propagate the meaning of the bloody wounds across the abyss (Luke 16:26) from then and there to us here and now. God decided that a memorial was needed to keep the attention of the children of Adam and Eve focused on the bloody wounds. God did not want to establish an ordinary, conventional, run-of-the-mill memorial. God did not want a firefly. God wanted a fire - a blazing, raging, engaging bonfire to match the bonfire of love that we see when we look through the bloody wounds we opened in the body of the Son of God to his most sacred heart. Any inferior memorial just would not do. God reviewed the candidates for a memorial - words, a reenactment, a work of art, and other types of representations depicting our opening of the bloody wounds. It would be too cruel to ask the Son of God to let us impale Him on the Cross - to repeat His sacrifice at Calvary anew - for each successive generation and, within a generation, from place to place. One Calvary - one guarantee of His love for us - was enough. Duplicate guarantees would be superfluous. From God's review of the candidates for a memorial, God realized that the any representations made by human hands of the bloody wounds would be inferior to the bloody wounds themselves. Therefore, God decided that the memorial had to be nothing less than the bloody wounds themselves. So God did the impossible. God created a time machine. God uprooted the bloody wounds from their foundation in time and space, made them portable and created a vehicle to carry them to us in the present. The vehicle that carries the bloody wounds of the Son of God to us is the Mass. At Mass, the physics of time and space are suspended so that God's love for us can pass through the hands of a priest and into the body and the blood of the most Holy Eucharist during Mass. Thence, God's love passes to us. (See, How Do We Recognize a Christian?