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THE EUCHARIST AND THE ECOLOGICAL CRISIS

 

prisco

Fr. Prisco A. Cajes, OFM, ThD

Board member of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP)

  1. Introduction

All creatures in the natural world or creation are interrelated and mutually interdependent. There is a fundamental ecological unity of all parts of the whole creation. This ecological unity is a communion that sustains and makes the creation as an integral whole more than just the sum total of its parts.

All creatures have integrity and intrinsic values given by the Creator God, who is Trinity. We, Christians, believe that everything – the whole creation and each one of its parts – were created by the Triune God, who by declaring all of God’s creatures good has given to it the intrinsic value that comes from God’s own purpose and will. The significance of this truth is affirmed and made perfect by the Redemption of all creation brought about by Jesus Christ.

I am assigned to write and talk about “The Eucharist and the Ecological Crisis in Asia” – a broad topic that needs enough and concrete data to be satisfactorily explained. At the outset I must confess that the data brought about in this talk may not be complete and some may need updating. However, I believe that these will do for our purpose.

I will argue for the need of a Christology and a theology of the Eucharist that can respond to the urgent ecological crisis in today’s world. My approach is from Ecology to Eucharist. I will also discuss the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, which can be regarded as an initial recapitulation of all creation in Christ. I will put importance on communion not only among humans but also the whole creation’s communion with God in and through Christ – as I propose that the Eucharistic celebration be extended to the day-to-day living of every Christian in order to perpetuate this communion towards recapitulation in Christ. Finally, at the end of this talk I will put forward some recommendations.

  1. Ecological Crisis

The ecological crisis knows no boundaries. It is global.

  1. Worsening Global Warming.

    Global warming is the observed increase in the

average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans in recent decades and its projected continuation. The rise of the average temperature is due to the increase of the greenhouse gases concentrations. The greenhouse gases are released by activities such as the burning of fossil fuels, land clearing, etc.

An increase in global temperatures can in turn cause other changes, including rising sea level due to the melt down of the ice and glaciers in the Polar Regions and changes in the amount and pattern of precipitation – increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, tornados, typhoons, flash floods, heat waves, drought, etc. Another impact of global warming is extreme heat wave. In 2003, extreme heat waves caused more than 20,000 deaths in Europe and more than 1,500 deaths in India.[1]

A study in Southeast Asia, specifically the area that is called the ‘Coral Triangle’ – the home to half of the world coral reefs – showed  the deadly effect of raisin temperature caused by global warming on the water of the ocean and on an area as big as half of the United States of America where corals are now continually dying.[2] Leaders from the different countries concerned – Philippines, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands – are meeting to save this Coral Triangle.

  1. The Present Rate of Deforestation.

    According to the report of the United Nation, published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), “deforestation continues; and it continues at an unacceptable rate.”[3] FAO said that an average of 18 million acres was lost annually in the last five years, down from 22 million acres a year between 1990 and 2000.[4] The FAO report also accounted the growth from new planting and natural expansion of existing forests. The report covered 229 countries. Deforestation was most extensive in South America, where an average of 10.6 million acres were lost annually over the last five years, followed by Africa with 9.8 million acres.

  2. Ongoing Extinctions of Species.

    We do not really know exactly the rate of extinction but it is estimated that 137 species disappear worldwide each day.[5] There are more than 16,000 species of animals and plants threatened with global extinction today including Polar bears and hippopotamus according to the World Conservation Union (WCU).[6] “The biodiversity loss is increasing, not slowing down” summed up the WCU.

  3. Current Poverty and Hunger.

    Over 800 million people go to bed hungry each night, mostly women and children.[7] Of this figure almost 200 million are children under five years of age. One child dies every seven seconds from hunger and related causes. Sadly, about 25,000 people die from the effects of hunger each day. That is one person every 3.5 seconds.[8]

In Asia and Pacific region alone 525 million people or 17% of the total population of 3 billion suffer from under-nourishment. In Sub-Sahara Africa 180 million people or 33% of the total population of 539 million suffer from under-nourishment. In the Near East and North Africa, 33 million people or 9% of the total population of 360 million suffer from under-nourishment. In the Latin American and Caribbean region, 53 million people or 11% of the total population of 481 million suffer under-nourishment.[9]

  1. Upcoming Food and Water Crisis.

    The above data about hunger will become very astute due to global warming. According to the survey by the world’s top climate scientists, which was released April 6, 2007, the global warming will have intensified impacts on many natural systems.[10] In the equator, even a small increase of temperature will have already a huge negative effect of the harvest of crops. Poverty will intensify too. Thus, the survey says that global warming could cause severe food and water shortages for millions of people by the year 2100.[11]

In Asia there is a need for safe drinking water at this very moment. Asia has 60% of the world’s population (about 700 million) but only has 36% of renewable water supply.[12] This is already a major problem in the cities like Beijing and Bangkok. Mismanaged safe and drinking water supply, rapid urbanization and poor infrastructure, in the cities like Manila and Quezon City in the Philippines, Penang and Johor in Malaysia, Phnom Penh in Cambodia, New Delhi in India, etc., contribute to water problems in Asia.[13]

III. The Integrity of Creation and Jesus Christ

  1. The Meaning of Integrity of Creation.

    The “integrity of creation” is a phrase

and a concept that came to be used since the Vancouver assembly of the World Council of Church (WCC) in 1983. To understand the full meaning of this phrase and concept, let me use Larry Rasmussen’s ideas of the six (6) dimensions of its meaning.[14] The first dimension is that this concept describes of the integral functioning[15] of endless natural transactions and processes, which include cycles and other natural exchanges in and throughout the biosphere and geosphere. All these natural transactions and processes have an integrity that must not be violated, if life and existence are to continue.

The second dimension is that the concept refers to the restless self-organizing dynamism[16] of nature. There is a dynamism, which is essentially related to an endemic creativity, in nature. It is restless and self-organizing. It is the source of changes and novelty, as well as, the source of order. Thus, “integrity of creation” means “the dynamic, internally connected, and organized condition of creation.”[17]

The third dimension is that the concept “integrity of creation” refers to earth’s resources as a one-time endowment.[18] Though the planet is self-renewing and immensely rich, it is also finite, limited and exhaustible. Its richness was there even long before humans came. Once its resources are exhausted humans cannot produce them again. The earth’s resources are a one-time gift; and indeed once this gift is gone, it is forever gone.

The fourth dimension is that the concept means the integral relation of social and environmental justice.[19] Simply stated, justice for humans and for the rest of entities in the nonhuman world is knotted together. Social and environmental justice is integrally one.

The fifth dimension is that the “integrity of creation” as a concept points to a creator or divine source and a certain intrinsic dignity[20] of all the entities in the natural world. This means that using the concept “integrity of creation” one affirms the faith that creation is God’s handiwork, which has its own inherent integrity as a whole as well as each entity in it. Creation possesses goodness and integrity by virtue of its origin in the Triune God’s will and love.

Finally, the sixth dimension is that the concept “integrity of creation” carries with it the specific ethical freight of its religious content.[21] As symbionts all entities depend on each other. For humans who are sentient beings this fact carries moral content – a moral imperative (or a sense of duty and obligation). It resists natural anthropocentricism. It says that humankind is morally responsible to nourish and support the well-being of the otherkind and of the whole of creation.

  1. The Intrinsic Value in Creatures

    . According to Christian Faith, God created everything and has given each of the creatures and the whole of God’s creation intrinsic value by pronouncing them “good”; made in the “image” of God, the human being, as the caretaker of God’s creation, does not only protect, nourish and sustain his/her own well-being but also that of all creatures’; and finally, God, who originated every creature, has manifested God’s being, goodness, beauty, wisdom, and holiness, in God’s creation.[22] God gives the value for each of His creature. In Jesus Christ, this value and the value of the whole creation is being revealed, affirmed and perfected.

  2. Christ is the Completion of Creation: Its Beginning, Center and End.

    In the Franciscan theological tradition, Christ in relation to Creation is seen as: (i) the Blueprint of Creation and (ii) the Beginning, Center and End of Creation. Thus, (iii) Creation is essentially involved, affected and completed by Christ’s Life and Mission.

(i) Christ, the Son of God, is the Blueprint of Creation. This means that Christ is the first in God’s intention to love. This further means the primacy of Christ. St. John proclaimed; “In the beginning was the Word; the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things came into being, not one thing came into being except through him” (John 1:1-3). Moreover St. Paul wrote; “For in Christ where created all things in heaven and on earth: everything visible and everything invisible…all things were created through him and for him” (Col. 1:15-16). In the plan of God before creation there was already this divine desire to be incarnated. For this incarnation to come about there has to be a creation and beings that are capable of understanding and freely responding to divine initiative. Therefore, creation was only a prelude to a much fuller manifestation of divine goodness and love, namely, the Incarnation. As a Blueprint or a Motif of creation, Christ is the perfect divine-creature communion. Christ exemplifies the meaning and purpose of creation, which is the glory of God in a communion of love.

(ii) Christ is the Beginning, Center and End of Creation. Christ the reason and goal of creation is indeed its beginning and end. The Johannine and Pauline traditions as quoted above can attest to this Faith. Since everything is created through, in and for Him, Christians should see the meaning and purpose of creation in Jesus Christ. We should see that the creatio ex nihilo at the beginning is through, in and for Christ; and because the Christian view of Creation is that it is not yet complete, the recapitulation of all things or the completion of creation at the ultimate end is through, in and for Christ. How about Christ during the process of creatio continua or at the center of the process of continuing creation? One should be able to see that this Jesus Christ that we are talking about in relation to creation is the same Jesus of Nazareth. It is in his incarnation, passion, death and resurrection that Christ saved us. Creation is united with the Creator in the incarnation, passion, death and resurrection of Christ. His presence in the Eucharist is located also here. Jesus Christ is indeed the center of creation. Creation and Redemption are made into one – through, in, for – or centered in Christ.

(iii) Christ’s mission or Redemption includes the whole of creation, even the non-human creatures, as its objects. Creation or the natural world, with all creatures in it, is essentially involved in, affected and completed by the incarnation and redemption of Jesus Christ. Pope John Paul II wrote:

Christians believe that the Death and Resurrection of Christ accomplished the work of reconciling humanity to the Father, “who was pleased…through Christ to reconcile to himself all things whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:19-20). Creation was thus made new (Rev. 21:5). Once subjected to the bondage of sin and decay (Rom. 8:21), it has now received new life while “we wait for the new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pt. 3:13). Thus, the Father “has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery…which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, all things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1:9-10).[23]

Jesus Christ entered into human history, participating in natural processes and redeeming not only the humankind but also all the otherkind and the whole of creation. Every part and the whole of creation is a recipient of the redemption that Christ has given. Hence, Christ is indeed the Savior of all! This shows and gives evidence to the value of all creatures!

The belief of cosmic Redemption brought about by Christ, which includes the deliverance from death, is rooted in the Scripture (Col. 1:14-20; 1 Cor. 15:28; Eph. 1:10; Rom. 8:19-22) and the patristic tradition. This belief greatly affirms the value of creatures to God.[24]

 

  1. The Eucharist – Body and Blood of Christ

Building from such a kind of creation-mindful Christology as discussed above, we can talk about the Eucharist. We can now relate Christ’s words, actions, and person with the Eucharist and deepen this by relating it with the Ecological crisis.

At the Last Supper the Eucharist was instituted by Jesus when he took the bread, blest it and said, “Take this, all of you and eat it. This is my body which will be given up for you” (cf. Mk. 14:22; Mt. 26:26; Lk. 22: 19; 1 Cor. 11; 24).  Then Jesus took the cup of wine, blest and said; “Take this all of you and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all, so that sins may be forgiven” (cf. Mk. 14:24; Mt.26: 27-28; Lk. 22:20; 1 Cor. 11; 25). Finally he said; “Do this in memory of me” (Lk. 22:19). It is a fact that since the time of the Apostles until today the Church celebrates the Eucharist in memory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

St. Paul has interpreted this memorial meal as communion. He wrote; “The cup of blessing which we bless is it not a communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break is it not a communion of the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf” (1 Cor. 10: 16-17).

Humans with all of God’s creatures await the new heaven and the new earth (cf. 2 Pt. 3: 13) when all every creaturely being will be united with Christ (cf. Eph. 1:10). Since the Eucharist is the summit towards which all creation is moving forward – communion with God, the Eucharist is the response to the urgent concern of today’s world, the global ecological crisis.[25]

Vatican II goes further and elaborates the understanding of Eucharist as communion which is being brought about every time the sacrifice of Christ on the cross is celebrated on the Eucharistic altar in the Church (LG, No.3).

  1. The Bread and Wine.

    The significant meaning of the bread and wine as natural

elements and actual representations should be retained and clearly shown when we present a theology of the Eucharist, which is ecologically-informed. I would like very much to follow up the point made by David N. Power when in his article “Eucharist” he wrote:

The significance of the bread and wine and of the common table in themselves is important to an understanding of the presence of Christ in these elements. They represent fundamental human needs and desires. They represent the work that is done to bring them to the table. They represent humanity’s communion with the whole of creation and with its cycles of production and reproduction. The breaking of the bread and sharing of a common cup are ritual actions brought into many a human situation to express both a necessary mutual dependency and a common hope. When the bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ, they lose none of this significance but carry it with them into the reality of communion in Christ, renewed in the life-giving and eschatological power of the Spirit… The reconciliation and the justice of God’s rule are embodied in the symbols that represent Christ and with and in Him a transformed humanity and a transformed creation[26] (underline is mine).

        The elements of Bread and Wine chosen by Jesus Christ in every celebration of the Eucharist bind the Eucharistic celebration to all creatures or all of Creation entrusted to the care of human beings (cf. Gen. 1:28). The Bread that will become the Body of Christ is the fruit of a productive and unpolluted land. The Wine to be changed into the Blood of Christ also signifies the transformation of Creation to meet the needs of the present and future generations. The Water united with the Wine symbolizing the union in Christ our human nature and Christ’s divine nature signifies as well the satisfaction of our thirst for God and the “living water” (cf. Jn. 4: 14).[27]

As the accidents – the colors, sizes or volumes, weights, being organic matters, natural appearances, and others – of the Bread and Wine are not lost so also their natural significance, even when we believe that they have been already transubstantiated through the power of the Holy Spirit and are the actual Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. This means that the Bread and Wine still represent in a clear manner the fundamental human need for food and the desire to be nourished and fed. The Eucharistic Bread and Wine still represent or are food for the hungry and drink for the thirsty. Can one community continue to use the Bread and Wine and celebrates the Eucharistic meal when thousands (even millions) of its members are dying of hunger? The Eucharist should be our communion with the hungry and needy. It should make us share not only our food but also our lives to those who need. And this is yet at the level of the natural significance of the elements of Bread and Wine. Then, put on the significance of the presence of Christ as the Bread and Wine – with Christ’s dying to give the fullness of life, his commandment of love, or feeding the hungry, or giving one’s life for one’s friend; the more that the Bread and Wine signify food especially for the hungry!

This understanding of human communion with the other beings is deepened in its reality and significance with the fact that the Bread and Wine is the Body and Blood of Christ; they are Christ Himself. It becomes the cosmic communion with the divine.

The process of transubstantiation that is effected by the Holy Spirit in the anaphora or more precisely at the epiclesis, brings the creaturely elements of the bread and wine to become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. This would be like the idea of Christification of Tielhard de Chardin.

  1. Transubstantiation.

    Transubstantiation as a philosophical term derived from the root concept of substance. Substance, most usually, is often used only in relation to humans and spiritual beings not so much on the artificial things like bread and wine in the Eucharist. So, there are those who object transubstantiation as a concept to explain the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. This objection really does not invalidate or nullify the idea that Christ’s presence is real in the Eucharistic Bread and Wine. The late Karl Rahner argued that transubstantiation was used only to logically present an explanation of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. We are saying that the use of the concept of transubstantiation has problems philosophically, though these problems do not really deny the faith of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

        St. Thomas of Aquinas in his Summa Theologiae, questions nos. 75-76, insisted that Christ’s real body is present in the Eucharist; most precisely the substance of the transformed bread and wine is the substance of the Body and Blood of Christ. What did St. Thomas mean by substance? Substance means identity of a thing in the simplest way of explaining it. Every individual thing is itself, it has an identity. What St. Thomas would call substance, we would call identity.

We have to strengthen the faith of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and we should point out that in Vatican II, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (no. 9), that Christ is really present (a) “in a body of the faithful gathered”, (b) “in his Word”, (c) “in the person of the minister”, and above all (d) “under the species of the Eucharist.”

What is the meaning and effect of this real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist? For some, they follow Tielhard de Chardin who thought that the effect is Christification, which means that is not only the mere sanctification of humanity and the whole creation; it is most importantly a Christification or the recapitulation, as St. Ireneaus would term it, of all creation in Christ. In the Eucharist the actualization of a perfect communion between creatures and their Creator through, in and with Christ initiates this recapitulation.

This meaning and these effects of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist to humanity and creation should be clearly understood and realized. The implications of this in relation to looking for an effective response against the ecological crisis should be recognized and explored.

  1. . Asian Religious Perspective.

    In the Asian or Eastern perspective of interreligious

dialogue, we should be sensitive to other religions – the way of life and the hope for the earth that they have. In Buddhism, for example, the teaching and experience of nirvana is profound and is very important. Nirvana is the end of all dukkha: of all that is suffering, unsatisfactory, limited, and imperfect. Thus, nirvana is not so much to be talked about rather than experienced. There are ways of how to attain it. Moreover, there is a teaching Buddha that each of us is a relationship. Therefore, we are a big network of interrelationship and we do not just exist but exist with. To be is to inter-be. The whole of creation is therefore is Inter-Being. This is a grand communion of beings. In Hinduism, we should be sensitive of the understanding or faith in the gods Brahma the creator and lord of all creation; Visnu the preserver and sustainer of the world; and, Siva who holds together the opposites and is portrayed as destroyer of evil, union of femininity and masculinity, preserver of the good, and has dual nature of serenity and dynamism. It is in Hinduism that the presence of the divine can be seen in all beings. When one unites oneself with Atman (the universal Self) and in this way unites oneself with the whole universe. Again the idea and experience of communion is essential. In Islam submission to the will of Allah, the creator God who is the Merciful One is the main teaching. Creation belongs to God alone. This God is found in creation. Thus, everyone who believes and is obedient to Allah is responsible for the shape of things in creation including the care of one’s brothers and sisters. In Confucianism the Chinese stresses the sacredness of life and harmony in nature and this is strongly taught. The life force called Ch’i is in everything that exists. This force harmonizes even the opposites, which are seen as complementary forces called yin and yang. Again here communion or harmony is being stressed. All these are brought out here in order to make the point that in the Asian or Eastern perspective the idea of working for the communion between creation including human beings and God is easy to understand and is readily acceptable. It is present in all of the major religions. This means, also, that the teaching of what we believe in the Eucharist, the communion between creation and Creator, most specifically in the transubstantiation of the Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, can as well be understood and accepted in the Asian perspective.

  1. Eucharist: The Sanctification and Protection of Creation.

    As understood by

the Church’s theologians the effects of the Eucharist are an intrinsic union of the recipient with Christ and the preservation and increase of the supernatural life of the recipient’s soul. Thus the Council of Trent stated that the Eucharist is a pledge of heavenly bliss and of the future resurrection of the body. This theological teaching focuses more on the human participant-recipients of the Eucharist. It is silent with regards to the effect that pertains to the non-human creatures or to the whole of creation.

      A break of this silence is found in the recent Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist of Pope Benedict XVI entitled Sacramentum Caritatis, the Pope wrote:

Finally, to develop a profound Eucharistic spirituality that is also capable of significantly affecting the fabric of society, the Christian people, in giving thanks to God through the Eucharist, should be conscious that they do so in the name of all creation, aspiring to the sanctification of the world and working intensely to that end. The Eucharist itself powerfully illuminates human history and the whole cosmos [no. 92].

The Pope clearly saw the essential connection and relevance of the Eucharist to human history and the natural world. So, the Holy Father encouraged the faithful to develop a Eucharistic spirituality that is sensitive to and that works for the sanctification of human history and the cosmos. Further, the Pope saw the fundamental connection between the Eucharist and the protection of the environment. He wrote:

The world is not something indifferent, raw material to be utilized simply as we see fit. Rather, it is part of God’s plan, in which all of us are called to be sons and daughters in the one Son of God, Jesus Christ (cf. Eph 1:4-12). The justified concern about threats to the environment present in so many parts of the world is reinforced by Christian hope, which commits us to working responsibly for the protection of creation. The relationship between the Eucharist and the cosmos helps us to see the unity of God’s plan and to grasp the profound relationship between creation and the “new creation” inaugurated in the resurrection of Christ, the new Adam. Even now we take in that new creation by virtue of our Baptism (cf. Col 2:12ff). Our Christian life, nourished by the Eucharist, gives us a glimpse of the new world – new heavens and a new earth – where the new Jerusalem comes down from heaven, from God, “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev 21:2) [no. 92].

The Holy Father seeing the Eucharist in connection to the protection of environment argued that there should be a commitment from us, Christians, to the protection of the environment if we have this deep Eucharistic spirituality.

There is the opening to a possible rereading and broadening of the understanding of the effects of the Eucharist.

  1. Proposed Understanding: Eucharist as Initial Recapitulation of Creation.

    At this juncture, understanding the Eucharist as the continuing Incarnation, especially at the moment when the Bread and Wine is transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Christ, I propose to see and regard the Eucharist as an initial recapitulation of creation in Jesus Christ. If the Eucharist is so, therefore, it has a very important and essential role in the prevention and solution of today’s ecological crisis. It is more than just sanctification of the natural world; it heals and makes the cosmos an integral whole, or initially it makes creation complete and recapitulates it in Christ.

       

  1. Conclusion and Recommendations: Eucharist and Ecological Crisis

       In conclusion, let me summarize everything that I said and give some recommendations. In this talk I brought out the global ecological crisis by discussing the components of this crisis.

I stressed that humans have responsibilities in responding to this urgent crisis by putting forward the important understanding of the concept integrity of creation, stressing our moral imperative in protecting and sustaining this. I argued on the importance of the communion or Fraternitas aspect of this integrity of creation and the distinction-otherness or Haecceitas aspect.

Finally, I proposed to see a more ecologically-informed Christology and theology of the Eucharist focusing more on the transubstantiation and on the communion between creation and Creator in the Eucharistic Bread and Wine.

In the Asian context, I argued that communion of creatures and Creator is not an alien concept. In fact, harmony and communion are present as hope in the major religions in our continent. Therefore, the concept of transubstantiation seen within the bigger concept of communion can easily be understood by Asians.

Proposing these and believing that in the Eucharist, more specifically during the epiclesis when the Bread and Wine is transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Christ, is the initial beginning of the recapitulation and completion of creation in Christ, I put forward the following recommendations:

  1. The Celebration of the Eucharist.

    The Eucharist should be celebrated more profoundly by showing clearly not only the effect of sanctification of humanity but most importantly the recapitulation of creation, in Christ. As a liturgy the symbolisms, signs, actions, etc. and the Word of God should be clearly explained.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist is a central part of the celebration. The Offertory and Eucharistic Prayers, and what happens during Epiclesis when the transubstantiation occurs, should be clearly explained and elaborated to the faithful. The importance of gifts and the offerings should be made clear, too. Most importantly, the effects of the Eucharist – sanctification, communion and recapitulation – should be clearly explained.

Since it is a celebration of the most important sacrament of all, the participants should know that they should bring this Eucharistic celebration to their homes and workplaces or carry the effects of the Eucharist in their day-to-day life.

  1. Human Beings as Priests for Creation.

    Priests are offerers of creation to God. They do not only offer gifts and sacrifices to God but also see to it that these offerings are pure, good and wholesome – worthy for God. In other words, humans as priests are caretakers of the materials for sacrifice – creatures of God. This is the aspect of the common priesthood of all the baptized.

  2. Moral Living.

    This should be the living out part of our celebration of the Eucharist. Personal as well as communal acts of ecological degradation are incompatible for those who join the celebration of the Eucharist and receive the Body and Blood of Christ. For example, priests who preside the Eucharist should not smoke or should stop smoking. The integrity of creation should be protected and the intrinsic value of creature should be respected. Persons who committed an act of a grievous ecological destruction should be excommunicated and therefore not allowed to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist until they are absolved by their local ordinaries.

  3. Ecology Desk.

    Parishes and Dioceses should establish a working Ecology Desk for Environmental Advocacy and implementations of other ecological programs. This allows the participants to concretely actualize their continued celebration of the Eucharist even after the liturgical celebration in the church.

  4. Other Ecological Activities.

    Ongoing awareness drive should be made before and after the celebration of the Eucharist. Ecological catechesis, environmental protection and communing with nature activities should be regularly scheduled in every parish and diocese.

       There are still many ways of responding to the urgent ecological crisis of our time. The Eucharist emphasizes the point that our ultimate goal is creation’s recapitulation with, through and in Christ when we and all creation will be in communion with Triune God. Today, in every Eucharist Christ begins with us this recapitulation and communion. Today as we live out the Eucharist in our moral lives we participate in this beginning

[1] National Resources Defense Council, “Global Warming Basics” (file://G\NRDC Global Warming Basics.htm) accessed 3/16/2007, p. 2.

[2] Philippine Daily Inquirer (Saturday, May 16, 2009), pp. 1,17; The Philippine Star (Saturday, May 16, 2009) pp.1, 7.

[3] Philippine Daily Inquirer (Thursday, March 15, 2007), p. 26.

[4] USA TODAY, “U.N. Agency: Rate of Deforestation Slowing” (file://G:\USATODAY_com-U_N_agency Rate of deforestation slowing.htm) accessed 3/302007, p. 1.

[5] Earth Observatory, “Tropical Deforestation” (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Library/Deforestation/printall.php) accessed 3/27/2007, p. 4.

[6] USA TODAY, “Group: 16,000 Species Said to Face Extinction” (file://G:\USATODAY_com – Group 16,000 species said to face extinction.htm) accessed 3/30/2007, p. 1.

[7] Solcomhouse, “Hunger” (file://G:\World Hunger.htm) accessed 3/30/2007, p. 4.

[8] Ibid, p. 1.

[9] Ibid, pp. 4-5.

[10] Philippine Daily Inquirer (Thursday, March 15, 2007), p. 26.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Glenn Van Zutphen, “The New Green” in Reader’s Digest (Nov. 2008), p. 66.

[13] Ibid, p. 67.

[14] Larry L. Rasmussen, Earth Community Earth Ethics…pp. 99-107.

[15] Ibid, p. 99.

[16] Ibid, p. 100.

[17] Ibid, p. 101.

[18] Ibid, p. 102.

[19] Ibid, p. 103.

[20] Ibid, p. 105.

[21] Ibid, p. 106.

[22] Karl H. Peschke, SVD, Christian Ethics: Moral Theology in the Light Vatican II, Vol. (Manila: Logos Publications, Inc., 2001), p. 755.

[23] Quoted from the 1990 Peace Message of Pope John Paul II and cited in Prisco A. Cajes, OFM, Anitism & Perichoresis: Towards A Filipino Christian Eco-Theology Of Nature (Quezon City: Our Lady Of The Angels Seminary, 2002), pp. 139-140.

[24] James A. Nash, “Toward the Ecological Reformation of Christianity” in Interpretation, Vol. 50, No. 1 (January 1996), p. 9.

[25] “Intrumentum Laboris” (no. 3) of the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church. 2005.

[26] David N. Power. “Eucharist” in Francis Schussler Fiorenza and John P. Calvin, eds. Sytematic Theology: Roman Catholic Perspectives (Minneapolis: Ausburg Fortress. 1991), pp. 282-283.

[27] Ibid, “Instrumentum Laboris” (no. 3) …

 

<EUCHARIST AND COMMUNITY BEYOND ALL BORDERS>, Seoul:WTI 2009