On June 10 we celebrate The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. The Eucharist compels us to imagine a new earth, where the hungry are fed and the lost are found. It does this because Christ calls all people, regardless of their status or national origin. At the Eucharistic table, we both experience and foreshadow the ultimate coming of the Kingdom, which is a communion in peace of all of Christ’s people. As a result, the Eucharist is profoundly social as much as it is profoundly personal.
To be a Eucharistic people, the Church is often a thorn in the shoe of society. Every culture tries to turn a blind eye to those who do not fit in—The unborn; Prisoners; The elderly; The poor; Citizens of enemy nations; Immigrants sneaking across borders. These people are the collateral damage of ‘business as usual’ and there is much pressure to forget them and move on. It is often the Church that is first on the scene to cry out, “Wait a minute!”
The impulse of the media would have us jump from the latest tragedy du jour to the next. In our society plagued with a short attention span, it is deeply moving to see Christians whose faith calls them to remember and stay in solidarity. There are stunning examples right here at this parish.
The BP oil spill happened two years ago and “the headlines are forgotten,” as the promo says, but The Justice Theater Project is bringing it directly to center stage. For three weekends in June, you are invited to see Light on the Horizon, a newly crafted play written by Deb Royals with music compositions by Diogenes Ruiz and Jim Wahl, parishioners and staff. Royals spent months at the Gulf Coast interviewing fishermen, workers and others who have been personally affected by the oil spill, even years later. This play is the product of those conversations.
In the coming weeks, check back to the bulletin for statements on the role of undocumented immigrants in America, prepared by our Committee for Immigration Justice. The undocumented immigrant knocks on our proverbial door and challenges us to reflect more deeply on what it means to be a Eucharistic community. Undocumented immigrants often face the impossible decision between respecting the laws or following their moral obligation to provide for their families. The answers to immigration problems are not easy, but what should be do given what we learn and experience through the Eucharist? It is vitally important as Catholics and as active citizens that have an accurate picture to make informed decisions. The hope is that this ongoing information will help us all understand immigration better–its impact on society, the reasons for it and what it means for us as Church.
The nuclear accident at Chernobyl happened 26 years ago. To say it’s yesterday’s news is an understatement. Yet, the fallout will affect millions of people for generations. The Children of Chernobyl Ministry hosted children from Belarus during the summers for over 10 years, giving the children a rest from their radiation-soaked homeland. Parishioners welcomed these children into their homes and bonds were formed.
An unfortunate dispute with a family in California led to the Belarus government stopping the entire program. Years later, our ministry members are still seeking out ways to support the children they have come to know and love. Currently, funds which had been raised previously are being released for either education or medical hardship. 29 children will qualify for over $510, which goes a long way in Belarus. This is enough for nearly a full year of higher education or other urgent needs.
This ministry is yet another example of what it means to be Eucharist in the world. Even international disputes and thousands of miles in between are not enough to stop their communion.
Our society wants us to forget. Our Church calls us to remember. The insistence of our ministries to leave no stone unturned to remain in solidarity with people our society wants to discard is a living example of the Eucharist. They give witness to the Body of Christ.