Thursday, May 23, 2024

Eucharistic Revival Series: Sunday’s Liturgy and Monday’s Work

One of the parish elementary schools where I taught a number of years ago was quite large. The school had over 800 students, and most of them weren’t members of the parish. Because of this, there was a disconnect between the parish and the students’ families, in which the families couldn’t see how the school was an extension of the parish. When new pastor met with the Liturgy Committee from the school, he wondered if the school children could be involved in the weekly Sunday liturgy during Lent. This question spawned quite a lively discussion!

We came up with the following idea. During Lent, both the school children and the parishioners would focus on specific acts of charity. On a weekly basis, everyone would receive strips of purple paper and write down an act of charity they accomplished during that week. It was my responsibility to take those strips and create a paper chain that hung around the circumference of the church. It was always impressive to see the chain grow weekly.

When the students arrived for our monthly Mass, they gasped at the length of the paper chain. The same reaction could be seen by the parishioners when they entered the body of the church. In short, it was a great visual to remind both students and parishioners that we are all called to serve one another.

I am reminded of this story as we continue reflecting on the Eucharist in our lives. In the book Eucharist: Celebrating its Rhythms in Our Lives by Father Bernier, we read, “The Eucharist is meant to link the liturgy of life to the liturgy of the Church, and vice versa. There is a connection between what we celebrate on Sundays and what we do on Mondays. The Sunday celebration is intended to make us true members of Christ’s body. That means recognizing that we have been missioned by the Lord to go forth and bear fruit. … The people are given a task, a mission. Unless this takes place, the entire liturgy is fruitless.”1

Please read the above paragraph again. I truly don’t believe that the average Catholic Christian sees this connection between Sunday Liturgy and Monday work. Father Bernier takes this notion and puts it in clear perspective. He continues, “We place on the paten [of our Eucharistic celebration] our struggles, attempts to live the faith which is ours, our efforts to be more and more faithful. Unless we have something to offer each week, we bring precious little to be transformed. Our eucharist then, instead of being a celebration of fidelity and active commitment, becomes a ritualistic exercise without personal content. This is not the eucharist of the Lord whom we claim as our savior and brother.”2

Our Mondays are truly linked to our Sunday worship. They are joined in a profound way as they help make our Liturgical celebration relevant to our time and our culture.  How often this is overlooked by all of us! It links not only OUR liturgical life with OUR weekly life but also, they link with the lives and the liturgies of every Catholic on the entire globe. After all, we DO create the mystical body of Christ! Taking this into consideration, my words and actions take on a global dimension.

Realizing this makes us gasp, “Whoa!” That was the same exclamation I had when I realized all the acts of charity the parishioners and the school children made during that one season of Lent.

I belong to a great army missioned by God to build His Kingdom on earth! WOAH!

1 Bernier, P. Eucharist: Celebrating its rhythms in our lives. Ave Maria Press. 1993. P. 128.

2Ibid. pg. 133.

By Sister Geralyn Schmidt, SCC, The Catholic Witness

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