Blog di FORMAZIONE PERMANENTE MISSIONARIA – Uno sguardo missionario sulla Vita, il Mondo e la Chiesa MISSIONARY ONGOING FORMATION – A missionary look on the life of the world and the church
When the famous historian Christopher Dawson decided to become a Roman Catholic, his aristocratic mother was distressed, not because she had any aversion to Catholic dogma, but because now her son would, in her words, have to “worship with the help”.
Dawson’s mother was painfully aware that, in church at least, his aristocratic background would no longer set him apart from others or above anyone. At church he would be just an equal among equals because the Eucharist would strip him of his higher social status.
She intuited correctly. The Eucharist, among other things, calls us to justice, to disregard the distinction between rich and poor, noble and peasant, aristocrat and servant, both around the Eucharist table itself and afterwards outside of the church. The Eucharist fulfills what Mary prophesized when she was pregnant with Jesus, namely, that, in Jesus, the mighty would be brought down and that lowly would be raised up. It was this very thing that first drew Dorothy Day to Christianity. She noticed that, at the Eucharist, the rich and the poor knelt side by side, all equal at that moment.
Sadly, we often don’t take this dimension of the Eucharist seriously. There is a common tendency to think that the practice of justice, especially social justice, is an optional part of being a Christian, something mandated by political correctness rather than by the gospels. Generally, we don’t see the call to actively reach out to the poor as something from which we cannot exempt ourselves.
But we are wrong in this. In the gospels and in the Christian scriptures in general, the call to reach out to the poor and to help create justice in the world is as non-negotiable as keeping the commandments and going to church. Indeed, striving for justice must be part of all authentic worship.
To say that Eucharist calls us to justice and to social justice is not a statement that takes its origin in political correctness. It takes its origin in Jesus who, drawing upon the great prophets of old, assures us that the validity of all worship will ultimately be judged by how it affects “widows, orphans, and strangers.”
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