EUCHARIST AND THE ECONOMIC CRISIS
All of us Christian know it. The Sunday Eucharist can easily end up a «religious refuge» that protects us from a conflicted life in which we move about all week. It’s tempting to go to Mass in order to share in a religious experience that lets us get away from the problems, tensions and bad news that press on us from all sides.
Sometimes we are aware of what affects the dignity of the celebration, but we worry less about forgetting the demands that entail celebrating the supper of the Lord. We’re bothered when a priest doesn’t strictly hold to the ritual norms, but we can keep celebrating the Mass routinely without listening to the calls of the Gospel.
The danger is always the same: commune with Christ in the intimacy of the heart without thinking of communing with the brothers and sisters who suffer. To share the bread of the Eucharist and ignore the hunger of millions of brothers and sisters deprived of bread, justice, and future.
In the coming years the effects of the crisis will go about getting much worse than what we have at present. The cascade of measures dictated to us with no appeal or let-up will go on making an unjust inequality grow up between us. We will go on seeing how people more or less of our own status will end up impoverished until they are left at the mercy of an uncertain and unforeseeable future.
We’ll know up front and personal the immigrants deprived of healthy aid, people sick without knowing how to resolve their health problems or without medicine, people unattended, youth without a clear future… We won’t be able to avoid it. Either we harden our selfish habits of forever or we make ourselves live more in solidarity.
The celebration of the Eucharist in the midst of a society in crisis can be a place of conscientization. We need to free ourselves from an individualistic culture that has accustomed us to go about thinking only in our own interests and learn how to simply be more human. The whole Eucharist is oriented to creating fraternity.
It’s not normal to listen every Sunday of the year to the Gospel of Jesus without reacting to his call. We can’t ask the Father for «our daily bread» without thinking about those who have problems obtaining it. We can’t commune with Jesus without making ourselves more generous and in solidarity. We can’t give peace to one another without being ready to extend our hand to those who are most alone and defenseless in this crisis.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf