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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning the Mass – part 51

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Luke 22:17–20

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

These errors have produced endless others, such as the Masses being valid when applied for many just as much as when applied individually. The scholastics have particular degrees of merit, just as money-changers have weights for gold or silver. Then they sell the Mass as a price for obtaining what each one wants: to merchants for prosperous business, to hunters for successful hunting, and countless other things. Finally, they apply it to the dead, liberating souls from the pains of purgatory by the application of the Sacrament, though the Mass is of no use even to the living if they do not have faith. Our opponents are unable to produce even one syllable from the Scriptures in defense of their fables which they teach with great authority in the Church; nor do they have the testimonies of the ancient Church and the Fathers.

Pulling It Together

Besides the odious practice of marketing Christ’s body and blood, this commerce is based upon selfish desires, largely the freeing of departed loved ones from a place that does not exist. We do not come to the altar to receive worldly affluence. We come to receive the riches of God’s grace. Nor do we come to the altar for the sins of others; we come with faith, confessing our own sins, and receiving the assurance of forgiveness for those sins. Nowhere in our Lord’s institution or in apostolic instruction is there anything about this being done for others.

Though the Church Fathers are certainly not inspired and faultless, they carry great weight since they represent the thought and practices of the early Church, so we will next look into what they had to say on this matter. 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for all you have given me—even giving your very self. Amen.

The Power of Lent is a series of lenten dramas pairing two characters each week from the story of Jesus' Passion; bearing witness to what they saw, heard, and felt. Each pair of biblical characters reflects upon a similar theme for the week, showing how the same events brought about very different reactions to Jesus and his identity.

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