Against Legalism in the Eucharist
- H.E. Most. Rev. José de la Trinidad VALERA ANGULO, Bishop of La Guaira (VENEZUELA)
Celebrate with joy and celebrate the joy of the Lord’s Easter.
The world has to know and to live the joy in the Holy Spirit, is hungry for God and it is Christ who reveals man to man. Revelation, more than pure reasoning, is LIFE, it is the joy of communication of the Trinity of the One God. We celebrate this joy in sanctity in the Liturgy. In the Eucharistic celebration one lives the novelty of the Paschal Christ, happiness of the faithful and promise for those who do not know him yet. How many martyrs won because of the chanted joy of the Eucharist! The whole Eucharist is a chant, it is to surpass all limits of space- temporality in order to enter into the mystery of the living and real God.
Our service, as shepherds of the flock, is to achieve the ways which permit our people to live the joy of the Risen One. The liturgical orientations have to be far away from all legalisms and to search for the way in which they can be in line with the joy in the Holy Spirit in order for the world to believe and to have life.
Study the Shortage of Priests
- H.E. Most. Rev. Luis Antonio G. TAGLE, Bishop of Imus (PHILIPPINES)
We thank God because the Catholics in the Philippines, especially the children and the youth, still value the Eucharist and adoration. We have priests but not enough for the big Catholic population. Some communities do not have a stable access to the Eucharist.
To respond to the hunger for the Eucharist, priests say many masses, accept multiple intentions and send lay ministers for the service of the Word with communion. Priests exercise their responsibility to the best that they can. The faithful know the difference between a bible service and Eucharist, a priest and a lay minister. Many communities wait for the gift of the priesthood and the Eucharist with humility.
For the sake of these communities I propose the following. 1) The Synod can initiate a serene study of the shortage of priests. As we look at the world for threats to the gift of vocation, we should also ask whether the Church is a good steward of the gift. 2) To address the confusion of roles in the Church and the Eucharist it is not enough to recall LG 10 on the essential difference between the ministerial priesthood and the common priesthood of the baptized. LG 10 also says that they are ordered to each other. In mutuality and communion we will rediscover the gift of the priesthood and Eucharist.
Christians Being Willing to Be Broken Like the Bread
- H.E. Most. Rev. Lucius Iwejuru UGORJI, Bishop of Umuahia (NIGERIA)
It is of great significance that at the Last Supper Christ identified himself with broken bread. The breaking of the bread was to become the action through which his disciples recognised him at Emmaus (Lk 24: 13-35). In the celebration of the Eucharist in the apostolic times, the breaking of bread was so prominent that the first Christians employed the term, "breaking of bread" to designate the Eucharistic assemblies (Acts 2: 42-46; 20:7).
We cannot ignore the importance of the rich symbol of receiving Christ in the Eucharist in the sign and symbol of broken bread. Communion with Christ, the broken bread, cannot but be communion with those who are members of Christ. The fraternal unity arising from Eucharistic communion is concretely expressed by the early Christian community in a model Eucharistic community. They lived together, sharing spiritual and material goods with one another (Acts 2: 42-44).
If the Eucharist brings about fraternal unity in the Body of Christ, then the ever widening gap between the affluent and the millions of poor people living in hunger and undeserved misery in today's society is a great scandal (cf. 1 Cor 11: 17-22). If Christians partake of the Broken Bread at the Lord's altar, they must be ready to work for a better and more just world for all. They must be prepared to be broken bread and to share bread with broken humanity.
Such sharing has to involve a certain breaking of the political and economic patterns, which assures security to the affluent while reducing millions to abject poverty and wanton suffering. If Christians profess to break bread, it means that they are willing to be broken in terms of their comfort and security and to be agents of justice and solidarity. The social, political and economic implications of this can be immense. Among other things, this involves living simply, so that others might simply live.