Living the Eucharist - Reflections for this time of Coronavirus 3
Updated: Sep 25
We have had a very unusual Easter this year. Not only have we been unable to celebrate the Easter liturgies but also we have not been able to gather as families and larger groups to share food and enjoy Easter chocolate together. Like Christmas, Easter traditionally is a time where families and friends gather and share. It is such a deeply rooted tradition that I wonder how many people managed to make a plan to get Easter eggs and bunnies to family members even if they couldn’t all gather together.
Central to Eucharist is sharing. The consecrated bread and wine are shared. Jesus shares himself and his mission with us and calls us to be like him and to go out into the wider world sharing our Eucharist experience.
For a Jewish person at the time of Jesus, God’s good news of sharing had a long history. Psalm 24 tells us that everything that has been created belongs to God and therefore exists for God’s purposes. So often the prophets had to remind the Jewish people they needed to care for those who are poor, especially the widows and the orphans. They needed to share what they had so that there was no one in need.
Our long history of Catholic Social Teaching builds on this. Pope St John Paul II understood that all property and possessions were never owned outright by people. We can never say ‘what’s mine is mine’ as all has been entrusted by God for the wellbeing of all. God asks us to share what we have with those in need. This sharing is not about traditional understandings of charity. It is giving to people what God rightfully wants for them.
St Basil, a fourth century bishop, says this most pointedly. He explains that:
“The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes; the money which you hoard up belongs to the poor.”
Our living the Eucharist is about this sort of sharing. We are formed and energised by the sharing of Jesus in the Eucharist and we are called to do as he does. The fact that we share the consecrated fruit of the earth witnesses to God’s intention that all fruit of the earth is to be shared so that no one is in need. For us who are comfortable, living the Eucharist calls us to live simply and share what God has entrusted to us so that others might simply live.
Dr David Tutty
Toowoomba Social Justice Commission