Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Eucharist: Source of "Powerfully Flowing" Life in Christ

Being a former soldier, from time to I like to make the comparison that the Mass is akin to "Basic Training." By this I mean that the Mass should ideally equip and empower us with the spiritual "skill set" to go out into the world and be instruments of peace, grace, and transformation. I use this analogy to emphasize the Church teaching that the Eucharist is not only the "summit" of Christian and Catholic life but is also the "source." Very often I wonder if we place too much emphasis on Eucharist as "summit" and not enough weight on Eucharist as a "source" of new-life-in-Christ. If we place too much emphasis on Eucharist as "summit", this can lead to the attitude that the Mass and celebration of the Eucharist is an "end in itself." Far from being an end, the liturgy and Eucharist are meant to be a "new beginning" for ourselves and the entire world. But this is only the case if we allow the "transformative energy" of the liturgy and Eucharist to flow out of the spaces and places in which we worship into every nook and cranny of our lives and world.

In today's first reading from Mass, we encounter a powerful image from the book of the prophet Ezekiel that can lend scriptural weight to the notion that Eucharist is meant to be the source of new, abundant, and even powerfully "flowing" life in Christ. Ezekiel has a vision of water flowing out of the temple (Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12). This is no ordinary stream, mind you! Where ever this water flows, fruit trees bring forth luscious fruit that nourishes and leaves that heal, salty waters are made fresh, and fish and wildlife abound! This dramatic and prophetic vision throws into relief the fact that the purpose of God's covenant promises to Israel, the temple in Jerusalem, and temple worship are not meant to be "self-contained" but are to become a mighty stream that brings its healing waters to the entire world.

I recently remarked to a friend that when I preside at Mass, I sometime feel like a "conductor." What I meant by this is that there are times when I feel very much "caught up" in the "flow" of a cosmic symphony of grace that fires the worship assembly with a charge that is palpable. This "energy", "charge", or "flow", I believe, represents not merely what God wishes to accomplish in the liturgy of Eucharist but is meant to powerfully rush out into the world in order to transform it into what God hopes for it to more fully become: a liturgy of the world where life, healing, and transformation abound! Pat, TOR


Kim said...

I look forward to reading your blog posts! They are great! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!