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Archbishop Arshad: The Eucharist ‘source and summit’ of the life and mission of the Church


Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – “We must study, pray, and reflect on the Eucharist from the perspective that it is the source and summit of the life and mission of the Church, as well as to increase our commitment and devotion to the sacrament of the Eucharist”, said Msgr. Joseph Arshad, bishop of Faisalabad, during the homily for the Corpus Christi feast (Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ).

In this regard, he remembers that the Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan has decided that 2018 will be the Year dedicated to the Eucharist. “As a Church in Pakistan – he said – we want to focus on the great treasure that Jesus left to his Church, that is, his eternal presence in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.”

In the wake of Pope Francis, who celebrated the Feast Day at the Vatican yesterday, the Pakistani bishop recalled that the mystery of the Eucharist was one of the “most important” themes of Vatican II. “The Holy Spirit – he said – constantly drives our efforts to celebrate the mystery of our Lord’s presence as he draws everything to himself (Jn 12:34).” Then quoting Origen, who wrote that “We see something and we understand another. We see a man (Jesus), but we make an act of faith in God. “

According to Msgr. Arshad, “the best expression of the Sacrament of the Eucharist” is the way it is described in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of Vatican Council II, which speaks of “source and summit.” “From a personal perspective it is a progressive deepening of our Baptismal call and consecration to be even more closely united in Christ. From a community perspective it is a source of union in Christ as we recognise our oneness in the person of Jesus Christ. It is the expression of our call to share the divine life as individuals and as community into the full purpose of our being – living forever within the divine majesty – a purpose that emanates from the Divine Love. “

The bishop also warned of a danger: the fact that ” community dimension of the celebration of the Eucharist was so emphasised that often it was at the expense of an increased deepening of our awareness of the personal dimension of the celebration. Both are vital to a holistic appreciation of the depth of the mystery. ” St. John Chrysostom in fact “we become totally one with Jesus when we receive Holy Communion. He points out that, in the Eucharist, Jesus is not simply present among us, but that He embraces us. We are caught up in a real union with Jesus that is so profoundly personal and total that it is a perfect union. He also reminds us that persons united together maintain their individuality but become one with and in Jesus “. “In this special way – he concludes our duties require us to keep ourselves separate from each other, from our family and friends, we can still experience that solidarity and union with one another through the presence of Jesus in Communion”.

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