"In the early Christian community, the primary focus was the presence of Christ in the community not in the bread and wine alone. "In early Christianity, emphasis was not placed on Christ's presence in the sacred elements but on the purpose of the transforming presence of Christ building up the community." Schillebeeckx 2005) In the Middle Ages the focus moved away from Christ's presence in the community to perceiving Christ's presence in the consecrated elements." Schillebeeckx also pointed out that the Church has disconnected the right to celebrate the Eucharist from the community of Christians by connecting it to a magical power of a Bishop to ordain. "(Schillebeecks, 1981, in "Discussions in the New Cosmology: Christmas" by Richard Scaine in CORPUS Reports, p. 17.)
Today in our inclusive Catholic communities, our Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement are reclaiming the role of the community as the primary celebrant of Eucharist. At Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida, we have ordained and non-ordained co-presiders and the entire community prays the Eucharistic Prayer as well as shares in a dialogue homily. So the Body of Christ is around the table and on the table and we have come full circle back to early church's emphasis of the Christ presence liberating, healing and empowering the community as we offer the gifts of our lives and service as sisters and brothers gathered around the Banquet Table of Boundless Love where all are fed and nourished at the family meal of Christ's extravagant love. www.marymotherofjesus.org
Liturgy on Sat. 4 PM at St. Andrew UCC at 6908 Beneva Rd. Sarasota, Florida.
|left to rightTeresa MacEachern and Bridget Mary Meehan co-preside at community celebration of Eucharist at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida|