Rekindle the Eucharistic amazement PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 04 March 2016 14:23

That’s an expression St. John Paul II used in his 2003 encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia (The Church draws her life from the Eucharist, 6). It was the purpose of that document to rekindle the Eucharistic amazement that seems to have dissipated in the midst of the many intoxicating worldly concerns, issues and other developments today.

A cursory look at how the Eucharist is celebrated in many places today can readily reveal that it has practically become banal and stale. In the first place, only old pious women seem to be regular at attending it. Other than them, many of those who are there look as if they are merely complying with some religious duties or social expectations. In other words, the Eucharist has lost its universal, immediate appeal proper to it.

There are indications that its celebration seems to be propped up only by some sentimental hymns or by the oratorical skills or theatre gimmickry of the priest-presider. When asked about the reason for going to Mass, many people, especially the youth, give out those rationales.

It cannot be denied that many people today do not anymore know the meaning, importance and necessity of the liturgy of which the Eucharist is the most sublime expression. For them, liturgy is just some reglementary ceremonials that simply have to be complied with.

That it is Christ extending his offering himself to his father together with us is practically lost.

We need to revive the proper understanding of the liturgy, and especially of the Holy Mass, and to reach that ideal of feeling that Eucharistic amazement that St. John Paul II talked about.

In that encyclical, the saintly Pope practically described the very essence of liturgy in these words: “In this gift Jesus entrusted to his Church the perennial making present of the paschal mystery. With it he brought about a mysterious ‘oneness in time’

between that (Paschal) Triduum and the passage of the centuries.” (5)

In other words, in the liturgy, especially in the Holy Mass, we are made contemporaries with Christ in his supreme sacrifice of love for us on the cross and in his resurrection. Not only that, we are also made sharers of that supreme sacrifice!

If we just bother a little to consider this wonderful truth of our faith more thoughtfully, we could not help but be amazed at what we have in the Holy Eucharist! It is an amazement that is a result of a faith and love of God, and not of merely worldly marvels and instances of human exhilaration.

It is an amazement that first of all is spiritual and supernatural before it becomes human, emotional, psychological or physical. We need to fathom the spiritual and supernatural foundations of this marvel that is the Holy Eucharist in order to be truly amazed.

If there is real amazement and awe, we would long for the

Eucharist, we would always think of it, we would regard it as the be-all and end-all of everything in our life. After all, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of all our faith, the source and summit of Christian life.

In it, we have the assurance that Christ is the Lord of human history, from our creation, to our fall, to our redemption, and to our future glorification. We need not worry so much about how our life would end, irrespective of its twists and turns, as long as we unite ourselves with Christ in the Eucharist.

Even our human defeats and miseries can become eternal victories if borne with Christ. And all our earthly successes, joys, pleasures, etc., can be and should be subordinated to this Eucharistic amazement. They should lead us to it, not take us away from it.

If we would just realize this truth of our faith more deeply, I wonder if there anything else that can give us more amazement. So, the challenge now is how to incarnate this truth of our faith in ourselves, which will demand of us a lot of faith.

To be sure, that faith is already given to us. It’s just a question of how we are taking that faith. Someone told me once that it should be easy because what is needed is the faith of children. But I told him that that is precisely what makes it difficult. Adults find it hard to have the faith of children.

But there’s always hope. God never gives up, and he continues to give us all the help and support we need to reach the goal he wants us to reach, and that includes being amazed at his constant presence and offering in the Eucharist.