In his address to the congress in Cebu on its fifth day, the Archbishop of Manila calls on politicians to stop throwing “away people’s taxes for your parties and shopping” and start using them “as gifts for social services”. The International Congress, which ends this Sunday, represents a new challenge, that of the Eucharist as a “third world war" against poverty.
Cebu (AsiaNews/CBCP) – The 51st International Eucharistic Congress currently underway in Cebu, the Philippines, began last Sunday, 24 January, and will end next Sunday, 31 January. Many prelates have already addressed the gathering.
In his speech today, Card Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila focused on ‘The Eucharist and the dialogue of cultures’. With a touch of bravado, he addressed political leaders, asking them, “will you throw away people’s taxes for your parties and shopping or guard them as gifts for social services?”
He also criticised the prevailing ‘throwaway culture’. “In our time, we see a culture of achievement, of success,” he said. However, reality is such “that human achievement is often fuelled by materialism, the accumulation, [and] the consumption of goods, even when they are not needed”.
"Who has something to throw away? Those who have accumulated. And they have accumulated what they do not need;” instead, what is needed a culture of giving and receiving.
During the inaugural mass, the papal legate Card Charles Bo, archbishop of Yangon (Myanmar), said that the Eucharist is the "third world war" against poverty. For him, growing malnutrition and hunger in the world constitute "mass genocide".
“This calls for a commitment to a world of justice. The Eucharist calls for a third world war, a third world war against poverty . . . a third world war against a world that produces more weapons while more than half a billion don’t have enough food,” Card Bo lamented.
The Eucharist and poverty are inseparable, he added. “The Eucharist is a beacon of human dignity for the poor. No other religion elevates the poor to this level.”
On the second day, 25 January, the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong Card Zen spoke about “the mission to proclaim and witness the suffering.” In particular, he call for prayers for the persecuted Christians in China, who “are still in deep waters, in burning fire, a terrible reality.” In fact, his presence at the congress, he said, is meant to show “how our martyrs in China in recent history give splendid witness to Jesus.”
Delivering the homily during the Mass on the third day of the Congress, Card Gaudencio Borbon Rosales, archbishop emeritus of Manila, reminded IEC participants that the Eucharist is “not just a task, but a mission.”
For the prelate, “‘Do this in memory of me’ means that as often as one eats the Body of Christ, he or she announces to others the power of the faith of our Lord Jesus”.
“Do the Eucharist, live the Eucharist, release the Eucharist from sheer celebration!” he added, “and allow the Body and Blood of Jesus in you to roam the streets and byways, in jeepneys, tricycles and buses, stores and cafés, offices and schools, in every dining table, in homes where families engage in dialogue.”