Fr. Louis Guardiola, C.P.M.
The Mass cannot be understood apart from Calvary, of which it is a re-presentation, continuation, memorial and effective application of the merits gained by Christ.
The re-presentation means that because Christ is really present in His humanity, in heaven and on the altar, He is capable now as on Good Friday, of freely offering Himself on the altar. He can no longer die because He has a glorified body, but the essence remains the same.
The Mass is also a memorial. Christ’s death is commemorated not only as an psychological remembrance but as an mystical reality. He voluntarily offers Himself, the eternal High Priest, as He really did on Calvary.
The Mass is furthermore a sacred banquet or paschal meal. The banquet aspect of the Mass is the reception of Holy Communion by the Priest and the lay faithful, when the same Christ who offers Himself to the Father as a sacrifice then gives Himself to the faithful as their heavenly food. It was this fact that inspired the Holy See, after The Second Vatican Council, to restore the practice of receiving communion under both kinds for all the faithful. “The entire tradition of the Church teaches that the faithful participate more perfectly in the Eucharistic celebration through sacramental Communion. By communion, in fact, the faithful share more fully in the Eucharistic sacrifice. In this way they are not limited to sharing in the sacrifice by faith and prayer, nor to merely spiritual communion with Christ offered on the altar, but to receive Christ Himself sacramentally, so as the receive more fruitfully the fruits of this most holy sacrifice. In order that that the fullness of the sign may be seen more fully by the faithful, The Second Vatican Council prescribed that in certain cases, to be decided by the Holy See, the faithful should receive Holy Communion under both species.” Sacramental Communion, June 29, 1970).