May 12, 2022
Every Sunday we gather and give thanks and praise for something we have already received. We are responding to a gift, one which we do not control or earn. It is a gift that is meant to change us. It is the gift of the Eucharist and its celebration is a risky endeavour that causes us to question our self-sufficiency and identity. For in our liturgies we fully, consciously and actively seek to be transformed by God. We risk loss and change. Yet how many of us feel that liturgy is a life-threatening event? And yet the Eucharist calls us into this very experience of conversion and profound change that leads to mission, to caring for the poor, to feeding the hungry and welcoming the stranger.
The gift of the Eucharist is the gift of the self-emptying (kenosis) of Christ. It is given through the abiding love of the Father, so that we may find ourselves returned to God who is at the heart of our being. As Paul reminds us, Christ “though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2:6) In how Christ lived, and served, in how he suffered and died Christ exemplified how all are called to live in love and service. Our Eucharistic liturgies are our response to the self-emptying of Christ. By our baptism we all take on the call to live in a new way, as relational beings, as community. In our Eucharistic celebrations we are reminded of this new way of being. and Eucharist is first of all an action as well as an object and one that expresses this kenotic gift of Christ that calls us to continue our transformation outward in a continuation of self-emptying in the world. As followers of Jesus we are called to reach out in openness to the world around us for we will experience the transformational power of God where our ritual actions are strongest, where our silences speak loudest, where we embody the self-emptying of Christ, when we empty ourselves to each other and give ourselves away to the serve the world.
Adapted from: Rodica Stoiciou, Ph.D. Eucharist and Social Justice in The Heart of Catholic Social Teaching, David McCarthy (Ed)