All of us Christians know it. Our Sunday Eucharist can easily become a «religious refuge» that protects us from the conflictive life we move in throughout the week. It’s tempting to go to Mass in order to share a religious experience that allows us to escape from the problems, stress and bad news that press on us from all sides.
Sometimes we are aware of what affects the dignity of the celebration, but we’re worried less about forgetting the demands involved with celebrating the Lord’s supper. We’re bothered by a priest who doesn’t strictly comply with the ritual guidelines, but we can keep routinely celebrating the Mass without listening to the Gospel’s call.
The danger is always the same: receive Communion in the intimacy of the heart, without worrying about receiving Communion with our brothers and sisters who are suffering. Share the bread of the Eucharist, and ignore the hunger of millions of brothers and sisters deprived of bread, justice and a future.
In the coming years we can go on aggravating the effects of this crisis much worse than we might fear. The cascade of the measures that are dictated keep widening an unjust inequality in our midst. We go about seeing people all around us left to the mercy of an uncertain and unforeseeable future.
We rub shoulders with immigrants deprived of adequate health care, sick people who don’t know how to resolve their problems of health and medication, families obliged to live off of charity, people threatened by eviction, people left behind, youth without a clear future… We can’t avoid it. Either we harden our selfish habits like always, or we choose to live more in solidarity.
The celebration of the Eucharist in the midst of this society in crisis can be a place for raising our consciences. We need to free ourselves from the culture of individualism that we’ve become accustomed to, thinking only of our own interests, and thus learn to simply be more human. The whole Eucharist is designed to create fraternity.
It can’t be that we hear Jesus’ Gospel Sunday after Sunday and not react to his call. We can’t ask of the Father «our daily bread» without thinking of those who find it difficult to get it. We can’t receive Communion in Jesus without becoming people of more generosity and more solidarity. We can’t exchange the sign of peace without being ready to extend our hands to those who are most alone and defenseless in the face of our world’s crisis.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf