The sacrifice of the Cross is so decisive for the future of man that Christ did not carry it out and did not return to the Father until he had left us the means to take part in it as if we had been present. Christ's offering on the Cross–which is the real Bread of Life broken–is the first value that must be communicated and shared. The Mass and the Cross are but one and the same sacrifice. Nevertheless the eucharistic breaking of bread has an essential function, that of putting at our disposal the original offering of the Cross. It makes it actual today for our generation. By making the Body and Blood of Christ really present under the species of bread and wine, it makes–simultaneously–the Sacrifice of the Cross actual and accessible to our generation, this Sacrifice which remains in its uniqueness, the turning point of the history of salvation, the essential link between time and eternity.

Message to the Eucharistic Congress at Lourdes
Pope John Paul II