Sunday Reflection – 4 February – 5th Sunday of Year B
The Action of God on Calvary is a continuous action throughout Creation
Fr Gerard W Hughes S.J. – “God of Surprises”
The same God who manifested Godself in the historical Jesus, once-for-all, is still giving Godself to us in love through the signs and symbols of bread and wine. God is not time-and-space-conditioned. The once-for-all action of God on Calvary is a continuous action throughout creation. In celebrating the Eucharist, we are celebrating our awareness of this tremendous truth.
As our sinfulness can infect and deform our image of God and our understanding of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection, so too, it can distort our understanding of the Eucharist. Instead of a celebration which fills us with joy and wonder, broadening our vision and uniting us with ourselves and with all creation, the Eucharist can become a code and formal ritual, performed mechanically with more attention to rubrics and money-raising, than to God or to one another and, attended by many because they are afraid that their absence might cause their eternal damnation.
Christian communities can be divided into hostile factions over the choice of hymns, the place of tabernacle in the Church, the manner of distributing and receiving Holy Communion, who should and should not be allowed to receive it, what one wears or should wear or not wear, whether women cover their heads, the language used for the liturgy, or whether the Peace of Christ should be given to one another by the congregation!
I am not saying that these questions do not have their importance somewhere, nor am I advocating abolition of all rubrics, rules and regulations but I am saying that many of the questions which absorb our attention, are very secondary. They preoccupy and divide us within the Catholic Church because our vision and understanding of the Eucharist is too limited – we turn this reality of God’s love for all His creation into a sacred object, a thing and we do not allow God to be God to us, even this most wonderful and mysterious event!
The Eucharist is given to us so that Christ’s presence may be real in the lives of His people, a living presence.