Sunday, June 02, 2013

Eucharist: Recognizing and Embodying God's Presence in the World

Today is the feast of Corpus Christi, the 'body of Christ.' In its invitation to prayerfully reflect upon the meaning of Eucharist, Corpus Christi challenges us to renew our commitment to not only recognize God's transforming presence in this central communal celebration of our faith, but to also embody this presence in our world. Since the earliest days of the church, such recognition and embodiment have been inescapably connected with service to the poor.

In marking Corpus Christi this year at The Wild Reed, I share the following excerpt from Michael Morwood's book Tomorrow's Catholic: Understanding God and Jesus in a New Millennium.

A challenging question for Catholics today is whether our parish communities, as communities, are distinguishable from the general attitudes of society towards the poor in our midst. Bernard Cooke in a public address asked whether Catholicism has "lost its soul." His point was that as Catholics have moved up the ladder of economic success they have, in general, accepted uncritically today's social attitudes towards the disadvantaged. Yes, Catholics give generously to appeals, but the effective power and compassion of God has to be seen working against the political, social, economic, and even religious powers that disadvantage people in systemic ways.

Much of our moral focus as Catholics has been on individual morality. While that focus will remain, we are being challenged today to focus also on social systems and economic strategies which manipulate, exploit, and dehumanize. The effective power and compassion of God has to be embodied, and Eucharist proclaims that we will be this presence. If Eucharist does not lead us to this awareness and action, then our Eucharists are a sham.

– Michael Morwood
Tomorrow's Catholic
p. 109

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Corpus Christi
Celebrating and Embodying Divine Hospitality
Take This Bread
The Challenge of Eucharist
"Receive What You Are, the Body of Christ"
Trusting God's Generous Invitation
"Take, All of You, and Eat": Communion and the Rainbow Sash
My Rainbow Sash Experience
Remembering the "Radical Ethic" of the Catholic Worker Movement
Authentic Catholicism: The Antidote to Clericalism
Francis of Assisi: The Antithesis of Clericalism and Monarchism
In the Garden of Spirituality – Michael Morwood

Related Off-site Links:
Understand What You Do – Patricia Datchuck Sánchez (National Catholic Reporter, June 1, 2013).
What We Receive in the Eucharist – Susan Stabile (Creo en Dios!, June 2, 2013).
Give Them Some Food Yourselves – Sherry (Walking in the Shadows, June 2, 2013).
In Persona Christi: The Rise of the Phallogocentric Eucharist – Bryce Rich (Fides Quaerens Intellectum, April 8, 2011).
"From Sand to Solid Ground": An Interview with Michael MorwoodCatholica (2008).

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