Browsing Pastor's Notes

Ascension of the Lord

Christ has Risen, as He said He would, Alleluia!!!

In advance of the National Eucharistic Congress this July, I’m continuing to look at some of the Scriptural accounts of the Eucharist. There are so many which show God’s Plan from the beginning included the Eucharist.

This is the ritual for the communion sacrifice that is offered to the Lord. If someone offers it for thanksgiving, that person shall offer it with unleavened cakes mixed with oil, unleavened wafers spread with oil, and cakes made of bran flour mixed with oil and well kneaded. One shall present this offering together with loaves of leavened bread along with the thanksgiving communion sacrifice. From this the individual shall offer one bread of each type of offering as a contribution to the Lord; this shall belong to the priest who splashes the blood of the communion offering. The meat of the thanksgiving communion sacrifice shall be eaten on the day it is offered; none of it may be kept till the next morning. (Leviticus 7:12-15)

Honestly, even as a Catholic priest, I rarely spend much time reading, studying, or praying the Book of Leviticus. I have read it, of course; but it is rather dry and sometimes a difficult. It is mostly full of laws of ritual purity and the manners & means of Temple sacrifices, which are largely superseded within the New Covenant dispensation. Leviticus is quite specific and covers quite the range of situations, circumstances, and conditions. Yet, maybe that truth is precisely why the contents of Leviticus prefigure the Eucharist. There are rules, expectations, circumstances & conditions. If God felt it necessary to be so very specific in His dealings with the Chosen People, particular in what was demanded of human relationships – all for the good of the humans, then one might wonder why people so often today think anything goes in the New Testament Church. It doesn’t. God presents right from wrong, good from evil so we may live right, good, and holy lives.

One particular type of sacrifice prescribed in the Book of Leviticus is called the Todah. In Scott Hahn’s book The Lamb’s Supper, he does a wonderful job of explaining that the Todah sacrifice is a prefigurement of the Eucharist. I borrow mildly from him here. Todah is Hebrew for “praise” or “confession.” It was a Sacrifice of Praise. The Mass perfect re-presents the one perfect Sacrifice of Calvary so we may be present to its saving effect. But we can forget that Christ’s Sacrifice on Calvary was a perfect act of praise of the Father in the Spirit. It united Christ’ human will perfectly, obediently, substantially, incarnationally with the Divine Will of the Father. There is no higher praise. No better way on earth to honor, adore, love the Father than to unite your will with His. And the Son did that par excellence upon the Cross. Jesus Christ gave the praise of all humanity – past, present, & future – in His Sacrifice on the Cross. His sacrifice of Praise was foreshadowed by the sacrifice of praise of the Todah in Old Testament terms and of the Eucharist in New Testament terms.

The Todah is also a sacrifice of Confession. As good Catholics, when we hear “Confession”, we think of the Sacrament of admitting our sins for which we have repented to Christ’s mediator – a priest – so as to receive formal forgiveness and absolution. Confession is one of many titles for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. But Confession in its older sense – in fact shared by the Sacrament of the same name – is a statement of Faith. I believe – Credo – and so I acknowledge & speak – Confiteor. To make use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is to believe and to acknowledge through speech the ability to have one’s sins forgiven through Christ. The Todah sacrifice of Confession is to acknowledge one’s due to God. The Eucharist is the Sacrifice that acknowledges God is due everything. It is the Sacrifice where we give the Son as He gave Himself. As such, it prefigures what we accomplish by God’s Grace in our participation with the Mass in the Eucharist.

Finally, Scripture sometimes speaks of offerings of todah, and modern Bibles generally translate this as “thank offering,” “sacrifice of thanksgiving,” or some similar phrase. Thanksgiving is precisely what Eucharist means in Greek. The OT sacrifices of thanksgiving foreshadow the perfect NT sacrifice of Eucharist in Christ Jesus.


Celebrating 70 years in our church together as the Holy Family of God


Nothing Less than saints for the Holy Family of God.

Holy Family, Offering Praise & Thanksgiving, Pray for us.


~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries


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