Solidarity through Incarnation

Solidarity through the ongoing Incarnation of the Risen Christ is not just our personal union with the living Christ. It is a solidarity with all the members of the Body of Christ. It is a solidarity that exists in God’s plan for us from all eternity and that can be witnessed in the supreme spiritual exercise of the Mass. For the Mass should be seen as a work in progress of the Risen Christ bringing about solidarity among all the members of His Body. Indeed, Mass is a ritual of love, remembering Jesus’ great love for us and intended to transform us into lovers of one another.

Eucharistic Solidarity. In Making the Eucharist Matter, Fr. Frank Andersen, M.S.C. states that the words that the priest speaks over the bread and wine are spoken for us: “In the Eucharist it is our body that is given, our blood that will be poured out. Jesus made his offering once and for all. In his memory we offer ourselves as we become part of what he did and who he is…..Our privilege is to now make our own offering, made in the same spirit, the same generosity, using the very same words over the very same symbols of bread and wine.” Not only are we making an act of faith in the Divine Presence, we are also making an act of love to others.

Along with Christ and the celebrating priest (in a special way), we offer ourselves at the consecration to God. Also, we are offering all the members of the Risen Christ in a grand solidarity with others. For we cannot isolate the members of Christ’s Body. Further, in receiving the Risen Christ, we are receiving others and they are receiving us because we and others are members of the Body of Christ. That is truly communion, truly solidarity with our sisters and brothers.

Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M., preacher in the papal household, reveals his awakening to the meaning of the Mass: “Up to a certain time I used to live the moment of consecration at Mass by closing my eyes, bowing my head and trying to estrange myself from everything around me, and to identify myself with Jesus who uttered these words at the cenacle. Then, one day, it struck me that the Jesus of the cenacle no longer exists! The risen Jesus exists now….And this Jesus is the ‘total Christ,’ head and body inseparately united. So, if it is this total Christ who says the words of consecration, I, too, say them with him.” No longer does he close his eyes, he says, but looks at the sisters and brothers whom he will serve.

We all are addressing our brothers and sisters with the words, “Take, eat, this is my body; take, drink.” At the consecration we all are sacrificing our body and blood, offering our time, energy, ability, resources, our very life to others. Our solidarity with others has taken us into deeper waters. We all are offering ourselves at the Eucharist to others. That is why the Mass is a ritual of love.

Spiritual Solidarity. While we are gifting ourselves to others in the sacrifice of the Mass, the Risen Christ is gifting us with His Spirit to complete the work of our transfor-mation. The Spirit takes the Liturgy of the Word presented at the Mass’ beginning and pervading the entire Mass, and continues the call to conversion after we have left Mass. If the words of scripture and the sermon are not echoing in our heads and hearts, we are only attending a ritual, and certainly not a ritual of love.

We are all divine creations. That is why there is so much diversity among us. Diversity is God’s creativity. However, we find it difficult to tolerate diversity because each of us thwarts God’s plan for us. Only when we allow the Spirit to transform the canvas of our divine creation into the masterpiece that God desires for us will there be solidarity among the members of the Body of Christ. Let us cooperate with the creative Spirit!