Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Mass is not a Supper

By José María Castillo (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Teología Sin Censura Blog
August 5, 2015

Jesus instituted the Eucharist in a supper, not in a Mass. That is to say, Jesus instituted the Eucharist in a shared meal, not in a religious ritual. And we know that Jesus added, "Do this in memory of me" (1 Cor 11:24,25; Lk 22:19b). That is, the memory of Jesus is inseparably linked to the fact of doing what Jesus did. And anyone who reads the gospels knows that, in the gospels and in 1 Cor 11:23-26 to be exact, the Eucharist is associated with the shared meal. In the six stories of the multiplication of the loaves, especially in the Gospel of John (ch. 6), and at the Last Supper of Jesus with his apostles, Eucharist and commensality are realities that are linked to one another. That is, the Eucharist is linked to sharing with others what you have to eat. The Eucharist is not linked -- not solely or even primarily -- with a sacred ritual that is observed exactly according to what is established in the rules.

But what happened with the passage of time is that the Eucharist became a sacred ritual and stopped being a shared supper. It is not possible to know exactly when that happened. It appears that it occurred in the 3rd century. The fact is that thus, once again and in a matter as important as this, Religion was given preference over the Gospel. An unfortunate change, which has happened too often in the Church. And that is the cause of a very common phenomenon that we often are not aware of. Because we are certainly more faithful to Religion than to the Gospel. And the fact that -- as we are seeing -- Religion is in crisis. Which is true. We have discarded Religion. But we have discarded the Gospel even more. After all, we still have Masses, weddings, baptisms, confraternities, priests and bishops. But what about Jesus' teachings on honesty, justice, sincerity, about money and wealth, about sensitivity to human suffering, on freedom from the powers that oppress and dominate the weakest and most helpless people?

If I'm saying these things here, it's not because I'm naively proposing that we replace Mass with supper. Not even that is possible. Not even that would fix things. The most serious problem we have right now, is that we are seeing that the economy is improving, but we don't have politicians who know how to manage things so that this improvement works for everyone, especially for those most in need. And things have become corrupted to the point of preferring -- or consenting -- that our seas be a vast graveyard of the desperate, provided those desperate ones don't come to bother us. Here I'm talking not just about Spain or Europe. I'm talking about the whole world.

Of course, there are good people. Many more than we imagine. In face of the failure of the economy, of politics, of the most advanced technologies, including also the inability of religion to remedy so much pain, the number of people who see no other solution to this than the search for our deepest humanity, is growing and growing. What will save us is integrity, honesty, transparency, justice, goodness. Deep spirituality, that respects the Mass of course, but that finds life and future in the supper. As John of the Cross said, "the supper that refreshes and deepens love."

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