Sunday, January 3, 2016

Eucharist: Prayer of the People of God by Irish Priest Diarmuid O'Murchu

..."In recent decades, the latter understanding is deemed to be the more foundational to the original meaning of Eucharist, and in all probability this understanding is closer to the practice initiated by Jesus in the Gospels. In this approach, it is the people of God, rather than the priest, who become the primary focus. Eucharist comes to be seen as a people’s sacred ritual around the celebration of the gift of food, with the priest acting as a facilitator in a three-dimensional ritual (sacramental) process of gathering the people, to tell their story, in the breaking of bread. Parallels to this approach are found in virtually every great religion and in the faith-practices of indigenous peoples all over the world. 

Theologically, the second model is much more congruent with the Gospel vision of the Kingdom of God, what is now regarded as the foundational vision which inspired the historical Jesus in his life and ministry. Striving to honour the Jewish background of Jesus, and his use of Aramaic as his native language, the Kingdom of God is sometimes translated today as the Companionship of Empowerment. This illuminates further the significance of the meals Jesus shared with his followers, particularly, with the powerless and outcasts, who were empowered through their participation in the open, inclusive table of N.T commensality. 

A Meal of Mutual Empowerment 

The attached Eucharistic Prayers (hence EPs)seek to honour the second interpretation of Eucharist as a ritual of the open, egalitarian table, to which all are welcome regardless of class or status, and from which nobody should ever be excluded. The priest is a ritual facilitator, very much in keeping with the role of the mother in Jewish Shabat meal, the original model used by Christians in developing Eucharistic celebrations, but also honouring the oldest definition of Priesthood known to all Christian Churches, namely the vision of the priest as the servus servorum Dei (the servant of the servants of God). In this Eucharistic context, the Priest has no power other than that of being a facilitator for empowerment in the ritual context. "

See link for Eucharist Prayers by Diamuid O'Murchu


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