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The Eucharist, a mystery to be lived

on Tuesday, 01 July 2008. Posted in 2008 Eucharistic congress

Here are excerpts from the homily given by Cardinal Francis Arinze on Saturday, June 21:

Cardinal Francis Arinze"Our beloved Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, gives us His commandment: ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you’ (Jn 15:12). Today in this International Eucharistic Congress we focus on how we are to be witnesses to our Eucharistic Lord in the midst of the world. Mutual love is the commandment of Jesus. The Holy Eucharist calls us to this love. This love is to be exercised in the concrete situation of life in the world. This universal call to holiness is nourished by the Holy Eucharist. (...)

"The Eucharist is not only a mystery to be believed and celebrated, but also a mystery to be lived. At the end of Mass the deacon, or the priest, tells us that we are sent to live the mystery that we have celebrated, meditated and received. The Holy Eucharist sends us to show love and solidarity to our brothers and sisters who are in need. There are first the poor, the hungry, the sick, the prisoners, the handicapped, the old, and the homeless. Works of charity done in their favour are manifestations that we are living the message of our Eucharistic celebration. But we are also sent to console those who are in sorrow, to help to liberate those held in slavery, including the victims of sexual, racial or other forms of oppression, to give hope to street children, and to help underdeveloped peoples rise to an acceptable level of human existence.

"Love for our neighbour must not stop here. It has to include the spiritually hungry and needy. People are hungry for the Word of God, for the liberating Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore missionary work, catechesis in its many forms and leading people to the Church and to the Sacraments are necessary manifestations of love of neighbour. The Prophet Isaiah speaks of these various ways of bringing good news to the poor in the First Reading of this Mass (cf. Is 61:1-3). The Servant of God, Pope John Paul II, told us that mutual love, especially solicitude for people in need, will show that we are true disciples of Christ and prove the authenticity of our Eucharistic celebration (cf. Mane Nobiscum Domine, 28). And Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that ‘A Eucharist which does not pass over into the concrete practice of love is intrinsically fragmented’ (Deus Caritas Est, 14).

Social commitment

"There is a relationship between the Eucharistic Celebration and social commitment. By our celebrating the paschal mysteries of Christ and receiving His Body and Blood, we are put in communion also with our brothers and sisters. We are sent to promote and live out that communion in society. We do this especially by promoting justice, peace and harmony in society.

"The Church preaches mutual love and respect for the rights of others, beginning with the right to life, honesty and solidarity. This helps towards the conversion of hearts and the disposition of people to work out political, social, economic, and other needed solutions. In the Votive Mass of the Holy Eucharist the Church prays that ‘this sacrament of love be for us the sign of unity and the bond of charity,’ and that ‘the Body and Blood of Christ join all Your people in brotherly love’."