The third and final part of the reflection by Fr Sylvester CFR
Bread of Life…Culture of Death :
We arrive at our present time with its own unique set of problems rooted, as we said, in secularism. Our starting point was the question of whether or not Eucharistic piety, especially in its most solemn form, the Feast of Corpus Christi, is relevant for us here and now. The answer is a resounding YES! This “yes” is echoed in Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, Mystici Corporis, canon 944 of the 1983 Cod of Canon law; John Paul the Great’s final encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia and its follow-up document, Redemptionis Sacramentum, which was written in collaboration with the future Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger). All of these strongly promote expressions of Eucharistic piety, especially the solemn celebration of Corpus Christi, as an extension of the graces of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Perhaps even more persuasive is the number of conversions and vocations emerging out of Eucharistic movements such as Youth 2000 (essentially a “Forty Hours” devotion adapted for teens and young adults) and the transformation and renewal experienced in those parishes that have started perpetual adoration. Eucharistic Congresses have also been a source of renewal in the Church. The proof is in the pudding. These grassroots Eucharistic movements reverberate a clear and convincing “yes” that Eucharistic piety is not only relevant, but more necessary and, therefore, more powerful than ever.
History teaches us why Eucharistic piety remains an essential and vital force in the clash between Christ and contemporary culture. Jesus says, “I Am the Bread of Life.” Jesus was crucified 2000 years ago, and for 2000 years His Mystical Body, the Church, has been sharing in His passion and death. Yet, the Bread of Life is our sharing in the Resurrection of Jesus, “the Living Bread come down from heaven.” There can be no better weapon to destroy the culture of death than the Bread of Life where He Who trampled down death by death is alive, truly present and all-powerful. Indeed, Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords, and at the same time, He no longer calls us servants but friends. Like the Christians of old, we can find peace and strength with our Friend, Jesus, in quiet, prayerful adoration. Like the Christians of old, we cannot wait to be “tolerated” before we declare the universal kingship of Jesus publicly, for instance, through Eucharistic processions of the Feast of Corpus Christi.
Jesus was never tolerated, neither will His Church be, nor us as His members. Besides, if we are aiming for mere tolerance, then we are shooting at the wrong target. Our goal is much loftier and more sublime, the conversion of sinners, the salvation of souls. This can only be accomplished through prayer and Christian witness, both privately and in public. There is no other way, and the Way is a person, Jesus Christ, forever present and powerful in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, the Bread of Life. God is alive. The godless culture of death is already destroyed. Let us not be afraid to stand victorious with Jesus in a Eucharistic culture, a culture of life-giving, sacrificial and ultimately Christian love.