Sociological studies note it with overwhelming statistics: Christians in our Western churches are abandoning the Sunday Mass. This celebration, as it has ended up being configured over the centuries, is no longer capable of nourishing their faith or of binding them to Jesus’ community.
What’s surprising is that we are letting the Mass «be lost» without finding this fact the least bit provocative of any reaction on our part. Isn’t the Eucharist the center of the Christian life? How can we stay passive, unable to take any initiative? Why does the hierarchy stay so silent and paralyzed? Why don’t we believers show our concern more forcefully and more grief-stricken?
The disinterest in the Mass is growing, even among those who participate in it as the ones responsible and committed to it. It’s the heroic faithfulness of these minorities that is sustaining our communities, but can the Mass stay alive based only on protective measures that guarantee the fulfillment of the present ritual?
Questions are inevitable: Doesn’t the Church need a more vital and incarnated experience on the Lord’s Supper at her center, other than the one offered by current liturgical practice? Are we so sure that we’re doing what Jesus wanted us to do in his memory?
Is the liturgy that we keep repeating over the centuries the best way to help believers today to live what Jesus lived at that memorable meal where we find concentrated, remembered and manifested the how and the why of his life and death? Is the current liturgy the one that can best attract us to live as his disciples in the service of his project of the Father’s Reign?
Everything today seems to oppose the reform of the Mass. No matter: each day such reform will be more necessary if the Church wants to live in vital contact with Jesus Christ. The journey will be long. The transformation will be possible when the Church feels more forcefully the need to remember Jesus and to live his Spirit. That’s why it’s all the more our responsibility not to abstain from the Mass, but to be a part of a conversion to Jesus Christ.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf