Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Remember to Keep the "Mass" in "Christmas"

At this time of year, the debate begins to rage regarding which major retail chain, or media outlet is going to choose to not use the term Christmas in their advertising and holiday greetings. What is the actual derivation of the word?

From Wikipedia (source of all that is true) "The word Christmas is derived from Middle English Christemasse and from Old English Cristes mæsse. It is a contraction meaning "Christ's Mass."The name of the holiday is sometimes shortened to Xmas because Roman letter "X" resembles the Greek letter X (chi), an abbreviation for Christ (Χριστός). (This usage first recorded in 1123.)"

The Church, around 220 AD, chose December 25th to celebrate Christ's birth. In the fourth century, the nature of who Christ was, both God and Man or just infused with God's nature at the time of His birth was starting to separate and cause division in the Church. The Church used December 25th to promote the doctrine of the Incarnation among the faithful. The celebration of this feast became known as Christ's Mass in the 12th Century as stated above.

So doesn't that prove right there that the Mass is a medieval invention of the Catholic Church? A look back in history may help with an answer. The early Christians called Church Fathers wrote quite a bit regarding what the church looked like and how it worshipped. As I blogged about previously, some of these Church Fathers were instrumental in being led by the Holy Spirit in measuring (canonizing) which books should be part of Inspired Scripture. Even before this time (390's), the writings of the Church Fathers provide a "snapshop" of the Mass which focused on the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Renowned Protestant historian of the early Church J. N. D. Kelly, writes: "Eucharistic teaching, it should be understood at the outset, was in general unquestioningly realist, i.e., the consecrated bread and wine were taken to be, and were treated and designated as, the Savior’s body and blood" (Early Christian Doctrines, 440).

Justin Martyr wrote:
"We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [i.e., has received baptism] and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus" (First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]).

So Christmas reminds me that the Word of God became flesh and died for my sins. His sacrifice on the cross is re-presented (not re-crucified) on all the altars of the world and I am reminded of that at this special time of year. Now just remember "Keep the Mass in Christmas! "


Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

Amen! Keep the Mass in Christmas and write New Line Cinema and Veritas productions and THANK THEM FOR PUTTING JESUS, INCARNATE on the silver screen for all of us during this Advent and Christ's MASS season! Go see it, and go more than once! Let the Magnificat of Mary ring in your ears on the way home and settle in your heart.


December 02, 2006 7:40 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Well said! Gotta love the Early Church Fathers - and no denying on which side of the Tiber they stood!

December 03, 2006 12:17 AM  
Blogger Samuel J Bell III said...

How bought we Focas on the Christ and keep Christ in Christmas. Oh by the way Chris You are right about one thing the early church fathers were on the Other side of the tiber WAAAYYYY on the other side like Athanasius He was in Egypt. Oh also chris who was the Pope during that time Oh I forgot the Was not one. The Church was ruled by Bishops or Elders of each major area of Chrisndom. Jerulsam, Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, And i think Ephasies.(hope I spelled that right) One More for both Tiber Jumper and Chris, Has the Church Always been Centeraly Located in Rome. Also were all early Christians Roman Catholic, Under the Rule Of one Pope. Also Why Is thier no mention of Pope in the Bible. Also Think That If you wanted to name someone as the First Pope It would be James.

December 07, 2006 10:06 PM  

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