Yesterday we discussed the example of Pope John Paul in reflecting on personal experience, the Scriptures, and the Eucharist. Today, a wider view:
60. At the dawn of this third millennium, we, the children of the Church, are called to undertake with renewed enthusiasm the journey of Christian living. As I wrote in my Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, “it is not a matter of inventing a ‘new program’. The program already exists: it is the plan found in the Gospel and in the living Tradition; it is the same as ever. Ultimately, it has its center in Christ himself, who is to be known, loved and imitated, so that in him we may live the life of the Trinity, and with him transform history until its fulfillment in the heavenly Jerusalem”. (No. 29) The implementation of this program of a renewed impetus in Christian living passes through the Eucharist.
I was struck by the authors of Rebuilt commenting on a workshop presenter insisting that it was okay for a minister or parish to develop a mission statement. But that’s not quite true. We already have a mission, a program. It’s the greatest commandment, love God and neighbor. And it’s the Great Commission.
The Holy Father is right: the calling is already a given. No need for novelty on that part.
Every commitment to holiness, every activity aimed at carrying out the Church’s mission, every work of pastoral planning, must draw the strength it needs from the Eucharistic mystery and in turn be directed to that mystery as its culmination. In the Eucharist we have Jesus, we have his redemptive sacrifice, we have his resurrection, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit, we have adoration, obedience and love of the Father. Were we to disregard the Eucharist, how could we overcome our own deficiency?
Good question. I don’t have an answer for that. But it does reinforce the need for us to examine pastoral and administrative practice in the Church to ensure the availability of the Eucharist for more communities.