Last year in August, the Pew Research Center released an alarming statistic: 69% of Catholics in the United States don’t believe Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. In my opinion, two important factors have contributed to this faith crisis: the insufficient formation of both catechumens and catechists, and liturgical abuses that harm the holy Mass.
The relativization of the sacred liturgy surely must affect the perception of the sacredness of the celebration of the eucharistic sacrifice of Jesus. Who can take seriously that the Son of God is really present when the sacred yields to the mundane, reverence is taken over by entertainment, the focus on God is diverted toward the community, and silence is quenched by applause for the choir?
We urgently need to focus our attention on the eucharistic Jesus, to feel his divine presence in the holy Mass, to listen to his word not only in the readings but also in the homily. Perhaps this is why our Father has allowed this trying period of seclusion in our homes during the pandemic, where our souls have hungered and thirsted for God.
It is a great blessing for us Catholics in the Archdiocese of Seattle to be living a Year of the Eucharist as proclaimed by Archbishop Paul D. Etienne. This year, through next Corpus Christi, is an opportunity to focus our faith, our mind and our heart on the eucharistic Jesus in whom so many millions have lost their faith.
In his pastoral letter The Work of Redemption, our archbishop invites us to rediscover the Real Presence through our prayer in Mass, being awed by the cosmic mystery we celebrate and taking up the challenge to celebrate the sacred liturgy in a unified way, following the liturgical norms prescribed in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
This Year of the Eucharist is to be a time for catechesis and teaching for everyone, in which the pastors of souls must promote the liturgical instruction of the faithful so we can participate more fully in the holy Mass.
Our search for and encounter with the eucharistic Jesus must translate into love and service to our neighbor. For the Eucharist commits us to the poor and requires us to avoid falling into the temptation of an individualistic spirituality between God and me, in order to become a channel of the divine blessing to everyone else.
Live this Year of the Eucharist with passion. Ask your pastor about his concrete plans for your parish to live this archdiocesan jubilee and join this apostolic effort. Without a doubt, our Father has abundant blessings reserved for anyone who ardently seeks an intimate encounter with his Son, who offers himself at the altar for our salvation.
Be passionate about our faith!
Northwest Catholic - September 2020