Men have not only prayed in thanksgiving, but have offered in thanksgiving: something that was a sign of themselves, to show they were thankful for life, were sorry for their sins against the Giver of life, would give their lives in return, if they might, to the One they owe so much. They made offerings in thanks for the things that sustain life, for the preservation of life. "Abel also offered of the firstlings of his flock, and of their fat." . . . "So Noe went out, he and his sons, his wife and the wives of his sons . . . all living things went out of the ark. And Noe built an altar unto the Lord: and taking of all cattle and fowl that were dean, offered holocausts upon the altar. . . ." They made bloody offerings, because the offering is a symbol of the offerer, and blood is the essence of life. Blood is life. There were other offerings. . . . "Melchidesech, the king of Salem, bringing forth bread and wine, for he was the priest of the most high God, blessed him and said: Blessed be Abram by the most high God, who created heaven and earth." . . . Because bread maintains life, and wine enhances life. God told them what to sacrifice, and how to sacrifice; but especially He told them to make the sacrifice of the Pasch, because it was a memorial to their freedom and their protection, a memorial of thanksgiving to the God who loved them. ". . . and it shall be a lamb without blemish, a male, one year . . . and the whole multitude of the children of Israel shall sacrifice it in the evening." . . . "And this day shall be a memorial unto you: and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord . . . for with a strong hand the Lord hath brought you out of this place." He brought them through water, led them by fire, fed them with manna, and when they sinned against Him, He chastised them and accepted their sacrifices of expiation. He made it part of their Law, their Covenant, that they were to offer sacrifice: of reparation, of petition, of praise, of thanksgiving.
Then Christ came.
When it was time for the thing to happen for which He came, He said to the Apostles: "This is My body, which is being given for you; do this, in remembrance of Me." And He said: "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which shall be shed for you." This was the new covenant, the new Pasch . . . "in My blood," He said. From that moment on they were to make sacrifice "in My blood." The offering is a symbol of the offerer. Blood is the essence of life. This is our gift to offer: His Body and Blood, every day. Think of all the things the Redemption accomplished, and do not forget this last: to put into our hands the perfect Gift, the pure Victim — "holy and spotless, the holy bread of everlasting life and the chalice of everlasting salvation." With the sacrifice of Holy Mass, Catholics make their thanksgiving.