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THEOLOGICAL-PASTORAL SYMPOSIUM
OF THE 48th INTERNATIONAL EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS

The Situation Of Faith In The Eucharist.

Light and Shadows, in Asia

Guadalajara, Mexico
Wednesday 6 October 2004

The 48ª International Eucharist Congress draw us once more to contemplate Jesus abiding presence in the Eucharist as the light and life in the new millennium. Specifically, we shall focus on how this sacrament fills up the lacuna in the Asian situation and cast light in the midst of the seemingly formidable shadows.

The Asian continent is the largest, both in terms of territory and population. It is the origin of the five (5) great world religion, including Christianity, Christians form a very small minority of about 2-3% of Asia’s burgeoning masses. We share whit roughly 85% of all world’s non-Christians (FABC V:1,7)

A minority Faith

Of more than six billion (6,091,351,000)population of the world at the turn of the millennium, only 33.2% are Christians, whit a billion Catholics (1,085,622,000), comprising a measly 17.8% of the world population. Of Asian population, representing 57.5% of the world’s inhabitants, only 101,210,000 are Catholics(2.89%). Overwhelmed by people other faiths, the local churches of Asia are called to proclaim Jesus Christ in a dialogical manner (DP 70e).Our Dialogical stance faces the new challenge of the rise of fundamentalism and non-tolerance of faith in some regions of Asia. Dialogue demands a deep spirituality, through which we imitate Christ’s self-emptying so that led by the Spirits, we may be more effective instrument in building up God’s Kingdom” (FABC 84, 3.3d)

For most of Asia, the face of Christ can only be contemplated in the life-witness of the Christian communities, and the growth of spiritual movements and lay movements.

A Globalized World

Asia is the fastest growing economy in the world. In terms of technology and exports, we have consistently been a challenge to the traditional economic giants. This process of development is marked by elitism of experts insensitive to the needs of the poor, wary and suspect people’s movement and their right, to participate in the process of development. At the same time, due to a ·fierce economic system that do not take into the same time we supply them with unlimited source of cheap products from sweat shops and child labor Economic-Forced migration separates families, drains human resources from the Third World and “modern slavery” . The imbalance in the distribution of the wealth of the earth and opportunities for self-development have created wave upon wave of migration. This has become a source of numberless problems, both the people of the receiving countries and those who are left at home. At the same time, migration has brought the fait in places which have either lost them or have never heard the Gospel. Wherever Christians migrants have come, the faith accompanied them. In many parts of the world, our migrants have become evangelizers. For this reason, the Asian Church took upon herself seriously the apostolate for migrant workers. “this Journeying of the church together with the migrant workers is a sign of solidarity within the universal church… and a new sign of unity (FABC 84,2.10-2.11). In places where the church has lost vigor, migrant communities brought hope in terms of membership and apostolic work.

A Secularized society

Our world today is not so much in danger of losing God but substituting him. Urbanization (more than 45% of Asians are city-dwellers) and the loss of tradition had les to secularized society. Asian societies are moving from tradition to option.

A church of the poor

The initial and dominant Asian ecclesiological model is the church of the poor. the Asian church sees herself as poor in many ways. First, she is poor in terms of numbers. She has remained a very small minority, many of whom are marginalized and poor. Secondly, we must admit as a church that we have many failures, both historical and at the present moment. In many instances, Christianity was implanted by colonial force. Third, in many parts of Asia, Christianity is identified as foreign.

The Asian church in her poverty is able to identify with Jesus, poor and lowly. In contemplating the face of Christ, in Eucharistic adoration, the Asian Christians is able to identify with his master, who by suffering and dying conquered the powers of death itself. Finally, in her poverty, the Asian church is able to experience what John Paul II calls “the Eucharistic Tension” (Ecc de Euch 19;25).

Our lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego

In the Guadalupe event God chose to give the miraculous image of his mother to a humble and lowly widower. The churches of Asia wish to identify with Juan Diego in his poverty, and in the simplicity of his faith. To Mary, star of evangelization, Lay of Guadalupe, we pray for the grave of fecundity of the apostolate of the Asian Churches.

In our plight and difficulty, we will turn to her and pray, calling her as did Juan Diego xocoyata our littlest daughter, our lady, our child so that we to may hear the Virgin of Guadalupe’s tender whisper, xocoyte, my favorite son, the least of her sons.

 

Archbispshop CARMELO MORELOS, D.D.
Archbishop of Zamboanga

     

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