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(from Lat. missa, perhaps in its use in “Ite, missa est,” a formula of dismissal at end of missa* catechumenorum and missa* fidelium; Ger. Messe). 1. Old name for Lord's Supper (see Grace, Means of, IV). In the Middle Ages it became the most common name for the service.

2. RC doctrine made the mass more sacrificial than sacramental in people's minds.

3. At the time of the Reformation many Prot. leaders (e.g., H. Zwingli*) abolished the RC form of the mass and substituted a memorial Communion service. Luths. retained the mass but purged it of all misinterpretations.

4. The Luth. symbols object to certain medieval features of the mass, e.g., Communion under one kind; celebration by a solitary priest as a private devotion; understanding the mass as a propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the living and the dead (see also Liturgics); buying and selling masses. Cf. SA, Part II, Art. II; AC XXII.

5. “We are unjustly accused of having abolished the Mass. Without boasting, it is manifest that the Mass is observed among us with greater devotion and more earnestness than among our opponents. Moreover, the people are instructed often and with great diligence concerning the holy sacrament, why it was instituted, and how it is to be used (namely, as a comfort for terrified consciences) in order that the people may be drawn to the Communion and Mass. … Since, therefore, no novelty has been introduced which did not exist in the church from ancient times, and since no conspicuous change has been made in the public ceremonies of the Mass except that other unnecessary Masses which were held in addition to the parochial Mass, probably through abuse, have been discontinued, this manner of holding Mass ought not in fairness be condemned as heretical or unchristian.” (AC XXIV 1, 40)

6. “To begin with, we must repeat the prefatory statement that we do not abolish the Mass but religiously keep and defend it. In our churches Mass is celebrated every Sunday and on other festivals, when the sacrament is offered to those who wish for it after they have been examined and absolved. We keep traditional liturgical forms, such as the order of the lessons, prayers, vestments, etc.” (Ap XXIV 1)

7. The Luth. symbols call the mass a sacrifice, but eucharistic rather than propitiatory (Ap XXIV 20 ff.). Even so, they place the most important emphasis on the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, not the eucharistic sacrifice.

8. M. Luther* said that the New Testament is the mass, for Christ said, “This is the cup of a new, everlasting testament in my blood.” (WA 6, 358)

9. At the time of the Reformation there was great need for vernacular masses. Therefore in many Luth. parishes, esp. in rural areas, the mass was sung in the vernacular, often based on Luther's Deudsche Messe (see Luther, Liturgies of). In larger cities, esp. at univs., the Lat. mass was used by some Luths. as late as the 18th c.

10. In the 16th c. the ceremonies of the mass remained almost unchanged. In most Luth. chs. the canon of the mass was omitted, but the other parts of the service remained intact. Luther wrote to G. Brück* April 4, 1541: “In our churches, thank God, the neutral things [common to both Luths. and RCs] are such that when a layman, Walloon, or Spaniard who could not understand our sermon, would see our mass, choir, organ, bells, chasubles, etc., he would have to say, 'This is indeed a Roman Catholic church.' There is no difference, or at least no more than they have among themselves.” (WA-Br 9, 357)

11. Many Luths. in the US do not use the term “mass,” but in some other countries (e.g., Norw.; Swed.) it is the common word for the Communion service.

See also Missa cantata; Missa lecta; Missa solemnis; Pontifical Mass.

Y. Brilioth, Eucharistic Faith and Practice, tr. A. G. Hebert (New York, 1930); G. Aulén, Eucharist and Sacrifice, tr. E. H. Wahlstrom (Philadelphia, 1958); G. Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 2d ed. (London, 1945); F. Lindemann, The Sermon and the Propers, 4 vols. (St. Louis, 1958–59); L. D. Reed, The Lutheran Liturgy, rev. ed. (Philadelphia, 1959); H. Sasse, This Is My Body (Minneapolis, 1959); F. Lochner, Der Hauptgottesdienst der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirche (St. Louis, 1895); J. A. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, tr. F. A. Brunner, 2 vols. (New York, 1951–55); Leiturgia (Kassel, 1954–70); G. Rietschel, Lehrbuch der Liturgik, 2d ed., ed. P. Graff (Göttingen, 1951); M. Luther, “The Blessed Sacrament of the Holy and True Body of Christ, and the Brotherhoods,” tr. J. J. Schindel, rev. E. T. Bachmann, in Luther's Works, Am. ed., XXXV (Philadelphia, 1960), 45–73, “A Treatise on the New Testament, That Is, The Holy Mass,” tr. J. J. Schindel, rev. E. T. Bachmann, in Luther's Works, Am. ed., XXXV (Philadelphia, 1960), 75–111, “The Adoration of the Sacrament,” tr. A. R. Wentz, in Luther's Works, Am. ed., XXXVI (Philadelphia, 1959), 269–305, “Formula of Mass and Communion,” tr. P. Z. Strodach, in Works of Martin Luther, Holman ed., VI (Philadelphia, 1932), 65–117, and “The German Mass and Order of Service,” tr. and introd. A. Steimle, with special introd. by L. D. Reed, in Works of Martin Luther, Holman ed., VI (Philadelphia, 1932), 151–189. EFP

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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