With chapter IV, we take a good look at the rite of dedication of an altar. The introduction covers thirty numbered sections, but with a fair amount of unique material. This will take us almost to the end of the RDCA, which I anticipate we’ll complete by the end of July.
Today, some catechetical material. Most clergy and many liturgists skip over these introductory portions of the rite, but there is considerable material here for homilies and faith formation to prepare a community. Think of it as the GIRM of these rites.
The Scriptural and Patristic basis for using an altar for worship:
1. From meditating on God’s word, the ancient Fathers of the Church did not hesitate to assert that Christ was the victim, priest, and altar of his own sacrifice. (cf. Epiphanius, Panarium 2, 1, Haeresis 55: PG 41, 979. Cyril of Alexandia, De adoratione in spiritu et veritate 9: PG 68, 647) For in the Letter to the Hebrews Christ is presented as the High Priest who is also the living altar of the heavenly temple; (cf. Heb 4:14; 13:10) and in the Book of Revelation our Redeemer appears as the Lamb who has been sacrificed (cf. Rev 5:6) and whose offering is taken by the holy angel to the altar in heaven. (cf. Eucharistic Prayer I)