by Fr. Lito Jopson, CBCP ECSC
PAVILION, CEBU CITY, JAN. 26, 2016 – Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles and a sought after Catholic Media Practitioner Bishop Robert Barron called on the Catholic faithful to align their lives on the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, more precisely known as “the paschal mystery.”
In his talk titled “The Eucharist: Celebration of the Paschal Mystery” in the third day of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress held in Cebu City, Philippines, Bishop Robert expounded on the topic with the discussion of meal, sacrifice, and real presence.
In the Eucharist as meal, Bishop Barron referred to the story of the apostles on their way to Emmaus and how they recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread.
“The Mass commences with an acknowledgement that we are lost and in need of a savior; it continues with the liturgy of the word, Christ’s own explication of the Scriptures. Vatican II reminds us that when the Bible is proclaimed and the homily is delivered, it is indeed Christ who is speaking to us and disclosing the great pattern,” explained Bishop Barron.
He added: “How do you recognize Jesus? Precisely in the breaking of the bread, the self-giving of the Son of God.”
He mentioned that when 70 percent of the faithful stay away from the Eucharist, it becomes a spiritual disaster. He invites all Christians on how it is to be sent on a mission.
“The most sacred words, ‘Go, the mass in ended” means glorify the Lord by your life, words and actions.”
“The purpose of the sacred meal is to send us forth to be missionaries to the nations,” reminded the Bishop.
Second, in the Eucharist as sacrifice, Bishop Robert justified sacrifice as a way to correct the sin of Adam and Eve, and eventually, the rest of humanity.
“From the sin of Adam He calls forth a sacred people who were taught to think as God thinks and to worship God aright so their lives will be aligned correctly. Israel is a priestly people who know how to adore God correctly,” explained the bishop.
He then explained the bloody aspect of sacrifice. Quoting Matther Levering, the bishop said, “in a world gone wrong, there is no communion without sacrifice.” In a perfect world, in the Garden of Eden before the Fall, there would be no need of bloody or painful sacrifice, since adoration would be effortless. But once we have been bent out of shape through bad praise, orthodoxy will cost. Cultural anthropologists tell us that the attitude of the ancient Israelite presenting a blood sacrifice would be along these lines: “what is happening to this animal by rights should be happening to me.”
At the Last Supper, when Jesus uttered what eventually became the words of consecration, “Jesus is referring to his own blood and commissions his disciples as priests of this new ritual. And we must not overlook the explicit reference that Jesus makes to Jeremiah 31:31, speaking of the new covenant for the forgiveness of sins. All of the covenants and their accompanying sacrifices will be drawn together and recapitulated in the final covenantal sacrifice of Jesus.”
And third, in the Eucharist as real presence, Bishop Barron referred to John 6 regarding the multiplication of the bread which symbolizes the power of the Eucharist to gather all the tribes of the Lord.
“There is a theological principle in play here that is of crucial significance, namely, that God has no need vis-à-vis the world that he has made. The Creator of the universe is rightly described as selfsufficient, utterly perfect and happy in himself. Precisely because he stands to gain nothing from the world, whatever is given to him breaks against the rock of the divine self-sufficiency and redounds to the benefit of the giver. From this principle follows as a corollary what St. John Paul II called the law of the gift, namely, that one’s being increases in the measure that one gives oneself away.”
“Precisely because God has no need of these gifts, they come back infinitely multiplied for the benefit of those who made the offering. Through the power of Christ’s word, those gifts become his very body and blood, the only food capable of feeding the deepest hunger of the human heart,” concluded the bishop.