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The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth

The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth

4.4 54
by Scott Hahn, Benedict J. Groeschel (Foreword by)

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Bestselling author Scott Hahn sheds new light on the Mass, offering readers a deeper appreciation of the most familiar of Catholic rituals .

Of all things Catholic, there is nothing that is so familiar as the Mass. With its unchanging prayers, the Mass fits Catholics like their favorite clothes. Yet most Catholics sitting in the pews on Sundays fail


Bestselling author Scott Hahn sheds new light on the Mass, offering readers a deeper appreciation of the most familiar of Catholic rituals .

Of all things Catholic, there is nothing that is so familiar as the Mass. With its unchanging prayers, the Mass fits Catholics like their favorite clothes. Yet most Catholics sitting in the pews on Sundays fail to see the powerful supernatural drama that enfolds them. Pope John Paul II described the Mass as "Heaven on Earth," explaining that what "we celebrate on Earth is a mysterious participation in the heavenly liturgy."
The Lamb’s Supper reveals a long-lost secret of the Church: The early Christians' key to understanding the mysteries of the Mass was the New Testament Book of Revelation. With its bizarre imagery, its mystic visions of heaven, and its end-of-time prophecies, Revelation mirrors the sacrifice and celebration of the Eucharist.

Beautifully written, in clear direct language, bestselling Catholic author Scott Hahn's new book will help readers see the Mass with new eyes, pray the liturgy with a renewed heart, and enter into the Mass more fully, enthusiastically, intelligently, and powerfully than ever before.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As with his earlier Rome Sweet Home, Hahn's The Lamb's Supper seeks to bring scriptural exegesis and Roman Catholic ritual tradition into fruitful dialogue. The central thrust of this piece is that Catholic liturgy offers the best interpretive paradigm for studying the Book of Revelation. Hahn divides his subject matter into three main sections, considering in turn Scripture in the canon of the Mass, various interpretive approaches to the Book of Revelation and the mutual illumination of the Catholic Mass and John's Apocalypse. Apart from vapid section titles (e.g., "Guided Missal," "Resisting a Rest" and "The Need to Heed the Creed"), which detract from the serious themes presented, Hahn treats the material quite competently, and he is candid in his enthusiasm for both biblical liturgics and liturgical exegesis. Hahn's work is a fine introduction to eucharistic theology for the Catholic layperson, offering a crash course in the history of sacrificial worship in ancient Israel. The book has an ecumenical appeal, especially for Lutherans and Anglicans desiring to better acquaint themselves with Catholic ritual and the New Testament. The only consideration noticeably absent from Hahn's liturgical review of Revelation is whether the doxological splendors of the Mass are marred or made manifest in the hastily prepared English translations of the Latin Rite issued in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Hahn, a Protestant minister who converted to Roman Catholicism, has written extensively about the Catholic faith in previous books (A Father Who Keeps His Promises, not reviewed, etc.). Here he examines the relationship between the Divine Liturgy and the Book of Revelation. Attending his first Mass, Hahn was struck by the word used to describe Jesus: lamb. Not the majestic, awe-inspiring language we usually reserve for God. But the Book of Revelation calls Jesus lamb, too, 28 times in 22 chapters. This was Hahn's first inkling that the key to understanding the Mass was Revelation, and the key to understanding Revelation was the Mass. His was not a new insight, but if Christians in the know have long understood the connections between Revelation and the Mass, most average church-goers would cock an eyebrow quizzically at the suggestion that the last book of the Bible has anything to do with bread and wine. Hahn's exploration of the connections between them is marred by superficiality, exemplified, but not limited to, a penchant for peppering the text with cute, near-pun subheadings, such as "Well Bread" and "Moriah Carry." Still, if taken in the (light) spirit in which it is offered, this is worthwhile addition to one's eucharistic library.

Product Details

The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
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5.80(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.77(d)

Read an Excerpt

In Heaven Right Now


THERE I STOOD, a man incognito, a Protestant minister in plainclothes, slipping into the back of a Catholic chapel in Milwaukee to witness my first Mass. Curiosity had driven me there, and I still didn't feel sure that it was healthy curiosity. Studying the writings of the earliest Christians, I'd found countless references to "the liturgy," "the Eucharist," "the sacrifice." For those first Christians, the Bible—the book I loved above all—was incomprehensible apart from the event that today's Catholics called "the Mass."

I wanted to understand the early Christians; yet I'd had no experience of liturgy. So I persuaded myself to go and see, as a sort of academic exercise, but vowing all along that I would neither kneel nor take part in idolatry.

I took my seat in the shadows, in a pew at the very back of that basement chapel. Before me were a goodly number of worshipers, men and women of all ages. Their genuflections impressed me, as did their apparent concentration in prayer. Then a bell rang, and they all stood as the priest emerged from a door beside the altar.

Unsure of myself, I remained seated. For years, as an evangelical Calvinist, I'd been trained to believe that the Mass was the ultimate sacrilege a human could commit. The Mass, I had been taught, was a ritual that purported to "resacrifice Jesus Christ." So I would remain an observer. I would stay seated, with my Bible open beside me.


As the Mass moved on, however, something hit me. My Bible wasn't just beside me. It was before me—in the words of the Mass! One line was from Isaiah, another from the Psalms, another from Paul. The experience was overwhelming. I wanted to stop everything and shout, "Hey, can I explain what's happening from Scripture? This is great!" Still, I maintained my observer status. I remained on the sidelines until I heard the priest pronounce the words of consecration: "This is My body . . . This is the cup of My blood."

Then I felt all my doubt drain away. As I saw the priest raise that white host, I felt a prayer surge from my heart in a whisper: "My Lord and my God. That's really you!"

I was what you might call a basket case from that point. I couldn't imagine a greater excitement than what those words had worked upon me. Yet the experience was intensified just a moment later, when I heard the congregation recite: "Lamb of God . . . Lamb of God . . . Lamb of God," and the priest respond, "This is the Lamb of God . . ." as he raised the host.

In less than a minute, the phrase "Lamb of God" had rung out four times. From long years of studying the Bible, I immediately knew where I was. I was in the Book of Revelation, where Jesus is called the Lamb no less than twenty-eight times in twenty-two chapters. I was at the marriage feast that John describes at the end of that very last book of the Bible. I was before the throne of heaven, where Jesus is hailed forever as the Lamb. I wasn't ready for this, though—I was at Mass!


I would return to Mass the next day, and the next day, and the next. Each time I went back, I would "discover" more of the Scriptures fulfilled before my eyes. Yet no book was as visible to me, in that dark chapel, as the Book of Revelation, the Apocalypse, which describes the worship of the angels and saints in heaven. As in that book, so in that chapel, I saw robed priests, an altar, a congregation chanting "holy, holy, holy." I saw the smoke of incense; I heard the invocation of angels and saints; I myself sang the alleluias, for I was drawn ever more into this worship. I continued to sit in the back pew with my Bible, and I hardly knew which way to turn—toward the action in the Apocalypse or the action at the altar. More and more, they seemed to be the very same action.

I plunged with renewed vigor into my study of ancient Christianity and found that the earliest bishops, the Fathers of the Church, had made the same "discovery" I was making every morning. They considered the Book of Revelation the key to the liturgy, and the liturgy the key to the Book of Revelation. Something powerful was happening to me as a scholar and a believer. The book of the Bible that I had found most perplexing—the Book of Revelation—was now illuminating the ideas that were most foundational to my faith: the idea of the covenant as the sacred bond of the family of God. Moreover, the action that I had considered the supreme blasphemy—the Mass—now turned out to be the event that sealed God's covenant. "This is the cup of My blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant."

I was giddy with the newness of it all. For years I had been trying to make sense of the Book of Revelation as some kind of encoded message about the end of the world, about worship in faraway heaven, about something most Christians couldn't experience while still on earth. Now, after two weeks of daily Mass attendance, I found myself wanting to stand up during the liturgy and say, "Hey, everybody. Let me show you where you are in the Apocalypse! Turn to chapter four, verse eight. You're in heaven right now."

Meet the Author

SCOTT HAHN holds the Fr. Michael Scanlan Chair of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he has taught since 1990, and he is the founder and president of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. In 2005, he was appointed as the Pope Benedict XVI Chair of Biblical Theology and Liturgical Proclamation at St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Dr. Hahn is also the bestselling author of numerous books, including Reasons to Believe, and Rome Sweet Home (coauthored with his wife, Kimberly), and is editor of the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible and Letter & Spirit: A Journal of Catholic Biblical Theology. Some of his most recent books are Many Are Called, Consuming the Word, The Catholic Bible Dictionary, and Signs of Life. He lives in Steubenville, Ohio.

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Lamb's Supper 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 54 reviews.
ArthurND More than 1 year ago
This book was both enlightening and educational. Scott Hahn has a way of reaching you and opening up scripture for everyone to understand.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've gone to Mass since I was a baby but in 22 years I never truely knew what I had! Dr. Hahn has helped this devote Catholic open his eyes. I knew that the Mass was a gift and truely special but not in the way that I know now. Also how the Lord's Prayer and Revelation and the Mass are one in the same. I prayed the Our Father all my life and it never crossed my mind that in that prayer I was describing the Mass. Everyone needs to read this book!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
IF your caught up in the freenzy of the 'Left Behind' series of books I encourage you to read this very different and most wonderful interpertation of the book of Revelations!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mr. Hahn's references to Revelation was heavy reading at times. I wouldn't recommend this to a new convert. It was however very informative for people who are exploring their faith. His awe for the Mass is admirable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Written by Scott Hahn, it is an awesome perspective and education on religious practice, for both Catholics and others as well. I would also recommend taking a look at the author's (Scott Hahn) bio. Very well written book by this contemporary theologian.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book touched me, and caught me into the loving faith of Catholicism. Scott Hahn really explains everything plain out terms with a very vital back round. He Breaks down every part of the mass into theology that even a thirteen year old could understand. This is the best book to start off of if you wanna read about the faith.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading this book, you'll be sure to have a greater appreciation and understanding of the Catholic Mass. Give copies to your friends and priest! We ALL need to read the 'Lamb's Supper'.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Scott Hahn's impeccable explanation of the Catholic Mass is a must read for every Catholic, and especially for every Christian. By combining his personal experience with both biblical and extra biblical proofs, Dr. Hahn has made the explanation of the Catholic understanding of the Mass both educational and enjoyable. This book should not offend non-Catholic Christians as it provides real insights into the Catholic faith in a very non-confrontational way. I know that everyone who reads the bible and this book will come away with a profound "Revelation."
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this book, Scott Hahn offers a refreshing view of Revelation that is consistant with Scripture, Catholic Tradition, and the early beliefs of the Church. If -like me- you're sick of all this end-times frenzy, this book is a breath of fresh air. Like all of Mr. Hahn's books, none of his material is original, but it is presented in a way that is understandable to a modern reader. The early Church believed that Revelation was not so much a prophacy of the end of the world, but a model for the Mass. Hahn, however, does not discredit other interpretations of Revelation, but asserts that the primary focus of the book is on the heavenly liturgy of the Mass. The only problem I have with Hahn is that -even though he converted to Catholicism- he still writes like a Protestant minister. By that I mean his books mainly consist of personal anecdotes, numerous pop-culture allusions and analogies, a super abundence of quotes (secular and religious)and scripture citations, a tendency to gloss over or oversimplify an issue and to embelish romanticize his own view. His books are written for the masses and not for the serious conisseur of theology. He also recycles a lot of material from his other books. His section on Mary is almost verbatim from 'Hail, Holy Queen' and the chapter 'Parish the Thought' is the Reader's Digest's version of 'Swear to God'. Overall it is a good introduction to the Catholic Church's interpretation of Revelation, but if you want meat, instead of water-down milk, read the Church Fathers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
No longer am I intimidated by the Book of Revelation. Dr. Hahn simplifies the images of Revelation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an answer to prayer for any person who has asked God to grant him/her a deeper understanding and appreciation of the mystery of the Catholic Mass. Any cradle Catholic who has fallen away from the Church because 'I'm not being fed at my local parish,' read this book and open your eyes to the utter glory of the privilege that you have abdicated--to receive the actual body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, our Marriage Supper with the Lamb. Dr. Hahn's passion, intelligence, and faithfulness shine through in his delineation of the relevance of the Apostle John's vision in the Book of Revelation to the Mass. It's not new information, but his style and approach are perhaps a bit more compelling to the lay person than the style of the Catholic Catechism.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was truly an 'experience' in reading. While many well-intentioned Christians have misconstrued the events of the book of Revalation, Dr. Hahn has returned to the Church's earliest sources and brought into light what has always been taught by the Magisterium about the subject. Every Christian NEEDS to read this book to fully awaken their life in Jesus Christ.
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siena57 More than 1 year ago
Good info on Catholic procedures etc.
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Belle67 More than 1 year ago
I am a cradle Catholic. This book gave me a new view of the events of the mass, as seen through Scott Hahn's interpretation of the book of Revelation. I have a deeper understanding of some parts of the mass, and that has helped me deepen my faith. This was a great book that I am sure I will reread!
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