We Are Not Communists: Homily for Holy Thursday 2006
By Fr. Robert J. Carr
Homily for Holy Thursday 2006
Today is the day we often commemorate the institution of the Eucharist and clearly that is indicated by the second reading. However, the gospel is about Jesus washing his disciplesí feet. This would indicate a call to serve. Together, they may also indicate the vocation of the Catholic.
I believe we have lost a sense of what it means to be Catholic in our Church today. I mean throughout the Church. We need to understand our call in light of the two readings I just mentioned. The reason is that if we look at it, the readings and the celebration of the day reflect the two most important commandments in our faith. Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. (Eucharist) Love your neighbor as yourself. (Service)
Together they bring a level of existence and being that is key to the Catholic, one who serves with the mindset of Christ.
We have had an interesting Lent both in the Church and in the world. We have also seen our faith clash with elements of our government, nothing new for Catholics. Yet, unlike what we have seen over the last four years, people seeking to work to bring down the whole Church, we have been attacked by some elements, both within and without of our faith for our stand on issues dealing with immigration. These issues involve serving others in a political sphere. However, we need to be careful. If we do that without focusing on the Eucharist we make a grave mistake. This is what Communists do.
We are not Communists. This is an important distinction. Seeking to serve those around us, without being in touch with Eucharist will lead us to serve without the mind of Christ. We will serve with the mind of humanity. That system failed and Jesusí death and resurrection brought an end to it through Christianity. Would that we took our love for the Eucharist and shared it with the same zeal as the Communist shares his party line, however.
I say that in light of the fact that at the immigration rally in Boston there were several tables features books of communist literature. Virtually nothing at the rally as featuring anything Catholic, not even fliers. Further, there were seven thousand people there, including a host of active Catholics who are also American citizens. Even Catholic Charities was there.
However, one of the most important blogs in the political sphere, Powerline, featured a collection of citizen video taken by people within the rallies throughout the country who for the most part were against the immigrants. All the visuals of the Boston rally despite the fact there were 7000 people present, despite the fact that there were many American flags or the fact that there were people of many races including the Irish Immigrants and the Black Preachers or even counter demonstrators walking peacefully with anti-immigrant signs in the midst of the rally or flying overhead with an anti-immigrant message towed behind a plane, the only footage that appeared on that well read site was of the tables of Communist literature and a Che Guevara T-Shirt.
This bring up two issues. First as I said, one can ask, why was there no one distributing Catholic literature with the equal zeal as the Communists. I say that to myself as well. Second what message are we preaching?
The most important message we can preach to the world can be found in our relationship to the Eucharist. Jesus is the Lamb of God who sacrificed himself that we can be saved. As we say during the Eucharist, Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again. Our message is that those who embrace Christ will be saved. Our message is that Christ is present in the Eucharist. Our message is that God is alive and in our midst. This powerful message is not being preached any near as well as the Communists are preaching their message that is void of any relationship with the Divine. Communism is officially an atheistic doctrine.
Right now the very message we are celebrating is the reason why Catholics throughout the world especially in China and Vietnam, North Korea and other nations are suffering for their faith. They embrace the Eucharist. They embrace Christ. They preach Christ and for this they are imprisoned and tortured. Indeed, it is this message that makes us the subject of forms of bashing found on television programs and in political speeches right in our own country.
Father Laurence Jenco, one of the men taken hostage in the Lebanon in the 1980ís used to talk about being chained to a pipe in a dark room for two years. His captors would feed him sandwiches. Fr. Jenco as a priest would consecrate the bread so that he knew God was present with him in his captivity. This gave him great strength. This also strengthened AP reporter Terry Anderson with whom Fr. Jenco was held ...
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