We don’t have to look further than scripture to know that daily sacrifice was a big deal in the tradition of Temple Judaism. With the rising and the setting of the sun, sacrifice was offered, not once, but twice a day by a priest in the temple as we read here in Exodus 29:38-42:
The Daily Offerings
Now this is what you shall offer upon the altar: two lambs a year old day by day continually. One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer in the evening; and with the first lamb a tenth measure of fine flour mingled with a fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and a fourth of a hin of wine for a libation. And the other lamb you shall offer in the evening, and shall offer with it a cereal offering and its libation, as in the morning, for a pleasing odor, an offering by fire to the Lord. It shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tent of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet with you, to speak there to you.
Again, in Numbers 28:1-8 Moses reinforces the Daily offering of the people.
The Lord said to Moses, “Command the people of Israel, and say to them, ‘My offering, my food for my offerings by fire, my pleasing odor, you shall take heed to offer to me in its due season.’ And you shall say to them, This is the offering by fire which you shall offer to the Lord: two male lambs a year old without blemish, day by day, as a continual offering. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer in the evening; also a tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a cereal offering, mixed with a fourth of a hin of beaten oil. It is a continual burnt offering, which was ordained at Mount Sinai for a pleasing odor, an offering by fire to the Lord. Its drink offering shall be a fourth of a hin for each lamb; in the holy place you shall pour out a drink offering of strong drink to the Lord. The other lamb you shall offer in the evening; like the cereal offering of the morning, and like its drink offering, you shall offer it as an offering by fire, a pleasing odor to the Lord.
There is even a striking resemblance between the evening offering and it’s intended purpose to cleans the people and the examination of conscience during our Evening Prayer. Individuals could interiorly unite themselves with the offering in order to be purified. As with all temple sacrificial offerings, the typical ceremonials of song, incense and colorful garments were essentials in all temple practices.
Just a thought: One could say the multiple daily offerings of the the Jewish faith influenced the Liturgy of the Hours.
Daily sacrifice in Catholicism. As Catholics we have the opportunity to participate in the Mass daily. The Mass, where we can partake in the “Lamb who was slain” – Jesus, fully present in the Eucharist. This language of the “Lamb who was slain” is found in Revelation 5:11-14 (below), and refers to Jesus’ sacrifice. This, of course is no coincidence as Jesus is the fulfillment of Judaism.
11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, “To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!” 14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped. Rev 5:11-14
Prior to 1983, Catholics were only permitted to receive the Eucharist one time per day according to the Code of Canon Law. After this time, due to increased inquiry on the topic, Pope JohnPaul II (JPII) authorized the faithful increase their daily reception of the Eucharist to two times per day in Can. 917.
Another thought: I find it an apt coincidence that now Catholics are able to partake in the sacrifice of the Lamb twice a day just as our spiritual ancestors. No reason is documented for the increase to twice a day as apposed to a differnt or infinite times per day. However, I wonder if JPII took ancient Hebrew Temple practices into account. Either way it’s a nice nod to our Jewish roots.