Bread of Life vs. Culture of Death
ARCHBISHOP JUAN FRANCSICO SARASTI JARAMILLO C.I.M., OF CALI COLOMBIA. "The Eucharist is the response to the negative signs of modern culture. In the first instance, in the face of a culture or anti-culture of death that traffics in arms, builds systems of wide-scale destruction, legalizes abortion and authorizes research on human embryos, Jesus defines and gives Himself to us as 'Bread of Life.' In the second instance, our culture is marked by hatred and terrorism. ... The Eucharist offers the permanent possibility of reconciliation with God and our brethren, an invitation to find reconciliation among ourselves before worshipping the Lord. This is the reason that so many communities feel so deeply about the 'rite of peace', as renewed by liturgical reform. Another modern trait is that of scientific positivism or relativism, yet the Eucharist reaffirms the reality of the 'mystery' and the value of belief and love as a way to knowledge; with Eucharistic faith, upheld by ecclesial tradition and based on the words of the Lord, we have access to real, though imperfect, certainties. Finally, in the face of the solitude and desperation that undermine mankind today, the Eucharist offers us ... profound companionship and a promise of eternal life that fills us with definitive hope."
Regaining the Sacredness of the Event
BISHOP JAVIER ECHEVARRIA RODRIGUEZ, PRELATE OF THE PERSONAL PRELATURE OF OPUS DEI. "Paragraph 34 of the 'Instrumentum Laboris' highlights the importance of a sense of the sacred in celebrating the Eucharist. We should study practical ways to help the faithful to a clearer understanding of the sacredness of Eucharistic sacrifice. ... It would therefore be useful, on the basis of the Instruction 'Redemptionis sacramentum,' to try to remove abuses that harm the sacred nature of Eucharistic celebrations, and to rethink certain regulations which may be interpreted and applied in an abusive fashion. For example, I suggest reviewing the appropriateness of Eucharistic ceremonies in which there is such an excessive number of concelebrants as to make the dignified celebration of the liturgy impossible; and re-evaluating whether communion should actually be given to all participants in a Mass where great numbers of believers are present, when such general distribution may harm the dignity of worship
BISHOP EDWARD OZOROWSKI, AUXILIARY OF BIALYSTOK, POLAND. "The Eucharist, as the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, brings the sacrifice of the cross into the present day. The sacrifice is the 'primum principium' of the Eucharist and creates a hierarchy of all the truths related thereto. ... Eucharistic teaching underlines many important themes: banquet, communion, listening to the word of God, sacrament, etc., however these themes lack a 'keystone.' One consequence of this is a certain 'protestantization' of the theology of the Eucharist, which such teaching reveals as being a beautiful rite, but one with little meaning for life. Yet it is the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, to which man has access through the Eucharist, that is most important in this mystery. The sacrifice of Christ on the cross brought salvation to humanity. ... Thanks to the Eucharist, sacrifice in human life is transformed into the sacrifice of Christ. Only by walking the path of the cross can we reach the glory of the resurrection."
What Kind of Training is Necessary for Priests?
BISHOP ARNOLD OROWAE, COADJUTOR OF WABAG, PAPUA NEW GUINEA. "Experiences of injustice, violence, corruption, poverty, etc., show that there is a separation between the Eucharist and life. Thus the real saving and transforming presence of Jesus in the Eucharist should not be understood vaguely and taken lightly but Catholics should be serious in their faith, with due respect and adoration. ... How can this be true for communities who live in the remote villages that do not have the opportunity for frequent celebration and reception of the Eucharist? This poses the question, what kind of priest do we need in our situation? Does one need years of intellectual formation in philosophy and theology to give much-needed service to poor people in remote areas who may not equal his intellectual capabilities? The issue here is not having more vocations, but justice and equality for all the children of God, having the right to make the Eucharist the center of their lives by celebrating and receiving it as often as they can. ... Should the Church allow for mature Christian men who are strong in faith, very committed, and have the respect of the people, to be easily trained to preside at the Eucharistic celebration, which will make it easy for the people to participate in the Eucharist, so that the importance and centrality of the Eucharist becomes true for the people?"
Restore the "Breadiness" of the Eucharist
ARCHBISHOP ANTHONY SABLAN APURON O.F.M. Cap., OF AGANA, GUAM. "In the Pacific, the scarcity of priests and the aggressiveness of the evangelistic sects are challenging the very survival of the Catholic faith. In my experience, the only answer to this double predicament is to 'form communities based on faith,' as Pope Benedict told the youth in Cologne. ... Today, the Church needs to make clearly visible the signs of the Eucharist: maybe the Church needs to restore the 'breadness' of the bread which becomes the Body of Christ to be eaten by all, and wine drunk by all which becomes the Blood of Christ. These signs fully and powerfully represent the reality that they signify and not just approximate them. ... I urge leaders of the Church today, to do everything possible to help people come to really know Jesus Christ through the signs of the Eucharist and the reality they signify."