Our Divine Saviour offered the first Mass, at the Last Supper, the night before He died.
1. At the Last Supper, Jesus Christ offered Himself up as a sacrifice to the Eternal Father, under the appearances of bread and wine.
“And while they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessing it, he broke and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ And taking a cup and giving thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank of it; and he said to them, ‘This is my blood of the new covenant, which is being shed for many’ ” (Mark 14:22-25).
2. The following day, Jesus Christ freely submitted Himself to His Passion and death by crucifixion at the hands of his enemies.
After the first consecration, having offered Himself under the appearances of bread and wine, Christ turned to His Apostles and said, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). By those words, He told them to do as He had done, offer in sacrifice to God His body and blood under the appearances of bread and wine; he commanded them in those words to offer Mass, as the perfect sacrifice to God.
3. The Mass is a real sacrifice, for in it a Victim is offered up for the purpose of reconciling man with God. It is, however, a unique kind of sacrifice–the sacrifice of the Cross, communicated to the Church.
At the Last Supper Our Lord evidently meant to institute a visible sacrifice. He chose for the act the very time when the old sacrifice of the Paschal lamb was celebrated. The very words used by Christ in instituting the sacrifice of the Mass, the “new covenant” or “new testament,” were almost identical with those used in the institution of the sacrifice of the Old Law.