by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
June 6, 2012
All we Christians know it. The Sunday Eucharist can easily become a "religious refuge" that protects us from the troublesome life in which we move throughout the week. It's tempting to go to Mass to share a religious experience that allows us to rest from the problems, tension, and bad news that press in on us from all sides.
Sometimes we are sensitive to what affects the dignity of the celebration, but we are less concerned about neglecting the demands that celebrating the Lord's Supper brings with it. It bothers us when a priest doesn't strictly adhere to the ritual norm, but we can continue to celebrate Mass in a routine way, without listening to the call of the Gospel.
The risk is always the same: Communing with Christ in the privacy of the heart without worrying about communing with brothers and sisters who are suffering. Sharing the bread of the Eucharist and ignoring the hunger of millions of brothers and sisters who are deprived of bread, justice, and a future.
Over the next few years, the effects of the crisis will worsen much more than we feared. The cascade of measures that are being dictated to us relentlessly and without appeal will go on making an unjust inequality grow among us. We will go on seeing the people around us becoming more impoverished until they remain at the mercy of an uncertain and unpredictable future.
We will know close up immigrants deprived of health care assistance, sick without knowing how to solve their health and medication problems, families obliged to live on charity, people threatened with eviction, unattended people, youth without a clear future...We will not be able to avoid it. Either we will harden our usual selfish habits, or we will become more caring.
The celebration of the Eucharist amid this society in crisis can be a place of consciousness raising. We need to free ourselves from an individualistic culture that has accustomed us to live thinking only of our own self interest, to simply learn to be more human. The whole Eucharist is oriented towards creating fraternity.
It isn't normal to listen every Sunday of the year to Jesus' Gospel without reacting to His call. We can't ask the Father for "our daily bread" without thinking of those who have problems getting it. We can't commune with Jesus without becoming more generous and caring. We can't give each other a sign of peace without being prepared to lend a hand to those who are most alone and defenseless before the crisis.