The Eucharist and the Evangelization of Cultures
We pick up this week with our continuing look inside Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 Apostolic Exhortation called Sacramentum Caritatis (The Eucharist as the Source and Summit of our Christian Faith) and focus our attention on the Eucharist and the evangelization of cultures.
It is because the Church, and with it the Holy Eucharist, is One – as we proclaim in the Nicean Creed at Mass – that sets the platform for entering into all cultures. It is a starting point because the Catholicism within every culture has this in common. Pope Emeritus Benedict tells us that this brings about two things: an open invitation for dialogue and it challenges us.
Since cultures and cultural norms very greatly throughout the world, it can sometimes be difficult for us to relate to others from a culture that may be vastly different from our own. However, it doesn’t matter how different a specific culture may be, as long as there are Catholics living in it we have an open door to talk to them. The Holy Eucharist breaks the ice and we can begin to break down any barriers that might separate us.
This, in turn, is our challenge. Our Lord commanded us to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:19) and this is precisely how we can do that, and do it effectively. The Eucharist paves the way towards the Church being spread throughout the entire world. Not only because it’s what’s held in common among all Catholics worldwide, but it is the very presence of Jesus Christ with us. When our Lord said, “I am with you always, to the close of the age (Matthew 28:20)” that is what He meant. He is with us veiled in the Blessed Sacrament just as much as He was when He spoke these words.
We go to a very diverse parish with people from many cultures, and that’s a great blessing. Perhaps we have a slight advantage over other parishes. With technology the way it is today and social communication at a point that was unthinkable even 20 years ago, we have a fantastic opportunity to get to know other Catholics from around the world. I encourage people to get to know someone who may live on the other side of the world. You will be fascinated to learn how their faith is lived out where they live and see their surprise at how our faith is lived out here!