BURNT OFFERINGS AND SACRIFICES
Burnt offerings were offered to God in the
Old Testament; these foreshadowed the sacrifice of the New Testament
which consisted in "I come to do Thy will." These burnt
offerings were offered many times in the Old Testament because they really
were not working. The New Testament sacrifice was offered only once
and it worked; as in medicines, to heal, the excellent medicine has to
be applied only once.
In the Old Testament, there was an
arraignment of sins and not a release from sin, an arraignment of weakness,
not an exhibition of strength. So the repetition of sacrifices was
evidence of its non-effectiveness; man's continuous slavery to sin, an
evidence of weakness. So, like a photo-picture of man, the Old
Testament sacrifice had the image of a true sacrifice but not the life and
power of a true sacrifice.
"He had appeared to put away sin by
the sacrifice of Himself." He made sin contemptible for sin lost
its boldness. Because of sin, we should be punished and destroyed; but
now we can destroy sin instead.
The New Testament sacrifice consisted in
"a remembrance of My death." The sacrifice was made once
daily; the rest will consist in just "a remembrance" of that one
sacrifice. We offer the same sacrifice. We do not offer a
sacrifice today and another tomorrow.
Which is more profitable? To partake
of the sacrifice rarely or to partake daily? It is not the number of
times that count but the disposition of the partaker. The partaker
must have a pure conscience, a pure heart and an irreproachable life.
Of course, with such a disposition, you are encouraged to partake more
often. The New Testament sacrifice must not be received carelessly and
by chance. The sick eat different food; strong food is for the
healthy. The sick could get sicker if they ate strong food. The
same goes with those who are spiritually unhealthy.
In the early times of the Catholic Church,
the deacon used to announce before Holy Communication, "The Holy Things
for the Holy." He is accusing no one. Each man must accuse
himself. If anyone is not holy, let him not draw near. . .not merely
free from sin. . . you must go one step further; you must be holy,
i.e. possessed of a wealth of good works.
"To do Thy Will; To give myself
up," this is the sacrifice of the New Testament.
St. John Chrysostom: "On Heb."