First Century Christian communities had a great little handbook for conducting baptisms and for offering the Mass.Its English name would have been The Teaching of the Apostles; but since no one spoke English back then it was known by the Greek word for teaching, which was “Didache.” (pronounced did-a-kay)
For the Mass the Didache said something like this, “When you come together on the Lord’s Day, begin by confessing your sins, so that your sacrifice will be pure. And. if anyone has a difference with another, let them be reconciled, so that it does not ruin your sacrifice; for the Lord has said that we must have an unblemished sacrifice in all places.”
Two things that stand out there, are first of all, is that our Mass is three times referred to as our sacrifice; and secondly, with no mention of a special role for a priest, it is everyone’s sacrifice.
Christians for three centuries had debates over the question as to just what made this ritual a sacrifice. Many people thought that a sacrificial act was represented by the body and blood being separated as in death.
But, after three hundred years, St. Augustan settled the matter. He told us that the sacrifice consists in Christ and us people submitting our wills to God as a pleasing gift. . We call our sacrifice “the Eucharist” which is Greek for a “Pleasing Gift.”
Each of us takes a full part in the sacrifice of the Mass by joining Jesus in completely submitting our wills to the will of God in one “Pleasing Gift.”
The reason we receive communion in this sacrifice is that at the same time we are mentally one with Jesus in the Pleasing Gift, we might also be physically one with him in our Eucharist.