Monday, October 25, 2004

Eucharist and Mission

Today is World Mission Sunday. Let us reflect on the importance of living out our baptismal call as Christians to bring the Good News to ALL peoples. Here are some inspiring words from our Holy Father, a man who has answered this call like no other:

"The bread and wine, fruit of human hands, transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit into the Body and Blood of Christ, become a pledge of the 'new heaven and new earth' (Rev 21,1), announced by the Church in her daily mission. In Christ, whom we adore present in the mystery of the Eucharist, the Father uttered his final word with regard to humanity and human history.

How could the Church fulfil her vocation without cultivating a constant relationship with the Eucharist, without nourishing herself with this food which sanctifies, without founding her missionary activity on this indispensable support? To evangelise the world there is need of apostles who are 'experts' in the celebration, adoration and contemplation of the Eucharist.

Journeying through the centuries, reliving every day the Sacrifice of the altar, the Church, the People of God, awaits Christ’s coming in glory. This is proclaimed after the consecration by the Eucharistic assembly gathered around the altar. Time after time with renewed faith the Church repeats her desire for the final encounter with the One who comes to bring his plan of universal salvation to completion.

The Holy Spirit with invisible but powerful working, guides the Christian people on this daily spiritual itinerary on which they inevitably encounter difficulties and experience the mystery of the Cross. The Eucharist is the comfort and the pledge of final triumph for those who fight evil and sin; it is the "bread of life" which sustains those who, in turn, become "bread broken" for others, paying at times even with martyrdom their fidelity to the Gospel."

Consider what is meant by the text in bold. We must remind ourselves that the Day of Satisfaction is not yet come. Our lives are to be spent in pursuit of that which the eyes cannot see. We must have faith that the Eucharist is indeed Christ and our labors are indeed bearing fruit in the lives of others. We are not allowed the privelege of knowing all things or knowing what will happen next or knowing why; that is God's task. Our mission is to serve the Lord, to accept the Cross, to live with FAITH, HOPE & LOVE!

When we share our faith with others, when we trust in hope, and when we truly love another, we ARE spreading the Good News! That is what is meant by Good News: we can have faith that no difficulty happens without a reason, we can hope that a better world is our destiny, and we can love unconditionally because that's how the Lord loves us.

It is our mission and destiny to be FREE. When we free ourselves from demands/expectations, trivial pursuits, fruitless desires, we are better able to serve. When we turn our eyes towards the needs of others, the pursuit of the common good, and the will of God, we will find true liberation. We need to relinquish control and trust that God has it all covered. I find the following prayer tremendously helpful in this effort to let go and let God. It is often mistakenly attributed to Oscar Romero, in spite of the fact that Cardinal Dearden spoke the words in a homily for deceased priests. But the words were actually drafted for Dearden by the late Bishop Kenneth Untener of Saginaw:

It helps, now and then, to step back and take
the long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
Amen.

No comments: