by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
June 2, 2013
The economic crisis is going to be long and hard. We shouldn't kid ourselves. We won't be able to look the other way. In our more or less immediate environment, we will be meeting families who are forced to live on charity, people threatened with eviction, neighbors hit by unemployment, sick people who don't know how to solve their health care or medicine problems. No one knows very well how society will react. Undoubtedly, the powerlessness, rage, and demoralization of many will grow. That the conflict and crime will increase is predictable. It will be easy for selfishness and obsession with one's own security to grow.
But it's also possible that solidarity will grow. The crisis could make us more humane. It could teach us to share what we have and don't need. It could strengthen ties and mutual support within families. Our sensitivity to the neediest could grow. We will be poorer, but we could be more humane.
In the midst of the crisis, our Christian communities could also grow in brotherly love. It's the time to find out that it isn't possible to follow Jesus and collaborate in the humanizing plan of the Father without working for a more just and less corrupt society, one that is more supportive and less selfish, more responsible and less frivolous and consumerist.
It's also time to regain the humanizing strength that lies in the Eucharist when it's experienced as love confessed and shared. The meeting of Christians, gathered each Sunday around Jesus, must become a place of consciousness raising and impulse towards practical solidarity.
The crisis could shake up our routine and mediocrity. We can't commune with Christ in the privacy of our hearts without communing with our brothers and sisters who are suffering. We can't share the bread of the Eucharist while ignoring the hunger of millions of human beings who are deprived of bread and justice. Passing the peace among ourselves while forgetting those who are socially excluded, is a joke.
The celebration of the Eucharist must help us open our eyes to discover who we have to defend, support, and help in these times. It must awaken us from the "illusion of innocence" that lets us live in peace, bestirring ourselves and fighting only when we see that our interests are in jeopardy. Experienced faithfully every Sunday, it can make us more humane and better followers of Jesus. It can help us live through the crisis with Christian insight, without losing dignity or hope.