By Fr. Joselito Jopson, CBCP ECSC

photo courtesy of cbcp news

photo courtesy of cbcp news

CEBU CITY, Jan. 24, 2016  – “The Eucharist calls for a Third World War against poverty” is the resounding call of the Papal Legate to the opening mass of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress at Plaza Independencia, Cebu City.

In the Eucharistic Celebration, Cebu Archbishop and President of the 51st IEC Jose Palma formally welcomed the Papal Legate, Yangon Archbishop, Charles Cardinal Maung Bo, SDB, DD.  He explained to the Cardinal his concern regarding dichotomy between faith and life.

“We want to bridge the dichotomy so that hope might be manifest in Jesus.  Those who partake may become one body in dialogue with cultures, with the marginalized and the youth,” Archbishop Palma reported.

Pope Francis presented a gift to the Filipino people on the occasion of the 51st IEC: The Gospel Book bearing the logo of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Cardinal Bo, on behalf of the Holy Father Pope Francis expressed his gratefulness and humility as the Pope’s representative. He also expressed his affections for the Filipino people.

“You’re the biggest Catholic country in Asia… your light has shown in every part of the world, on air, in land, and on sea,” quipped the Papal legate.

Presence and mission, the poor and unity are the themes presented by the Cardinal in his homily.

“In a world that continues to have millions of poor, Eucharist is a major challenge to the whole humanity. Can we feel the presence of God in our brothers and sisters?” asked Cardinal Bo.

He explained the revolutionary aspect of the Eucharist.  He said that the Eucharist and the poor are inseparable.

“We break bread in an unjust world where children die of malnutrition.  This is silent genocide, a child dying of starvation.  The Eucharist and the poor are inseparable.  To eat the body of Christ means not to ignore when he is naked.  The love of the Eucharist means to love the poor.”

The papal legate invites the faithful to enter into a Third World War: a war against poverty and injustice.

“Eucharist calls for a third world war, a third world war against poverty. A third world war against the cruelty of dogs fed with sumptuous organic food while poor children scramble for crumbs from the table, a third world war against a world that produces more weapons whilst more than half a billion do not get enough food every day,” challenged Cardinal Bo.

This country’s urgent task is to fulfil the prophecy.

“This biggest Catholic country in Asia needs to declare a war that fights for thousands who are still in poverty and forces them to unsafe migration. The economic injustice and the environmental injustice penetrated with impunity in this country and elsewhere make our Eucharistic celebrations vulnerable to prophetic attacks.”

Finally, papal legate calls on all people to shift from Eucharistic celebration to Eucharistic commitment.

“This Eucharistic Congress, held in this great city and a great country, make us move from Eucharistic celebration to Eucharistic commitment in promoting the Eucharist as a mission, the Eucharist as the bread of justice to the poor, the Eucharist as the bread of peace in conflict areas.  God bless you.  Maraming salamat!”

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