Sacrifice or meal: what’s Church teaching?
3. By instituting in the form of a sacrificial meal the memorial of the sacrifice he was about to offer the Father on the altar of the cross, Christ made holy the table where the community would come to celebrate their Passover. Therefore the altar is the table for a sacrifice and for a banquet. At this table the priest, representing Christ the Lord, accomplishes what the Lord himself did and what he handed on to his disciples to do in his memory. The Apostle clearly intimates this: ‘The blessing cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ and the bread that we break is a communion with the body of Christ. The fact that there is only one loaf means that though there are many of us, we form a single Body because we an have a share in this one loaf.’(cf. See 1 Cor 10:16-17)
In a way, the usual practice of multiple individual hosts might reinforce the notion of a common meal a bit more than the symbolism of a single Body, or a sacrifice. I’ve often thought the way the priest prepares the gifts says a lot. Is it a place setting in front of him, or a sacrifice at the center of the altar?