Altar

The Travertine Marble Altar stands in the center of the Sanctuary and is eight-feet square, corresponding to the ancient Altar of Sacrifice.  It is here that the two Hebrew-Christian concepts of meal and sacrifice merge.  At the Altar we celebrate the Sacrificial Death and Resurrection of Christ. In the Old Testament, animals were sacrificed in a bloody ritual in which the innocent victim absorbed the sins of the people and the spilling of its blood was a forgiving ritual for the Old Testament Hebrew people.

Jesus at the Last Supper following a Seder format, spoke of His body and blood as food for eternal life. Jesus saw His Cross as the New Act of Sacrifice by which we are freed from sin. The altar is a symbol of the Person of Christ, as well as the table from which we are fed His life giving Body and Blood. The Mass has elements of a joyful meal and life-giving sacrifice.

In this ancient Christian Ritual we call Mass, we journey from the slavery of sin to the freedom of forgiveness, we celebrate the Lord’s death and resurrection until he comes again in glory. The Mass or Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper is rooted in the oldest known religious ritual, the Seder. The Seder predates Judaism for centuries as the final meal before the Nomadic Tribes would move onto new grazing grounds. It was a ceremony of leaving, of transition.

When the Hebrew people focused on one God, Yahweh, they celebrated the Passover Seder as a passage form slavery to freedom. The Mass, or Liturgy of the Lord, follows the ancient format of Berekah by retelling the great works of God, of giving of the body and blood of Jesus Christ at the Last Supper and His sacrificial death on the Cross on good Friday to the glorious resurrection on Easter.

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