Bishop Robert C. Morlino gives reflection on the Eucharist Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, May. 04, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

MADISON -- Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison called the Mass and Eucharist a sacrifice, “The same sacrifice that was offered on Calvary.”

He added if people do not understand this, they can get bored with the Mass or even the priest, the music, or the other “consumerist elements.”

The bishop said those words at the recent Evening of Reflection on the Eucharist held March 31 at Holy Name Heights in Madison.

Patrick Gorman, director of the diocesan Office of Worship, began the evening by introducing the bishop and the evening as a “jump-off to Passiontide.”

He led everyone in attendance in a sung Litany of the Blessed Sacrament before Bishop Morlino spoke.

The Eucharist: not a ‘convivial dinner’

In this talk, Bishop Morlino emphasized that the Mass and the Eucharist are more than just a “convivial” or social dinner event.

He said some Mass-goers are more focused on “eating and drinking together with the other guests at the dinner table” and “interested in the musical accompaniment” than a sacrifice.

“People are attracted to very human elements,” he added, saying some people choose their Mass times and location based on elements such as on the music and the priest’s personality.

“People are choosing where to go to Mass the way they would choose where to go for New Year’s Eve,” the bishop said.

“Nobody ever taught that,” he added, “but many people in their behavior clearly believe that” the Mass is a convivial dinner.

He said the “most frightening example” of a post-Vatican II change in mindset on the Eucharist is in the Roman Missal, where a picture of Christ on the cross at Calvary used to be present at the start of the Eucharistic Prayer, while there is now a picture of the Last Supper.

Bishop Morlino said this shows that Mass, to some people, has become “more a meal than a sacrifice, and just the opposite is true.”

“Are you going to Mass so that God gives you something freely, or are you going to Mass to buy something that pleases you?” he asked.

Mass as a sacrifice

While reflecting how we, as a Church, got to this point, the bishop said part of it is because many lost the “mysticism of the Mass”.

He said the mysticism “comes from the fact that it is an eternal sacrifice, and the Eucharist is “a sacrifice outside of time for all time.”

He added the past, present, and future are “mystically tied together.”

The memory of Christ’s Passion is realized, not just remembered.

The soul is filled with grace in the present.

“A pledge of future glory is given” in the heavenly banquet and added, with the Holy Spirit, we “remember” something that will happen in Christ coming again for all eternity.

“The Eucharist is an eternal moment,” Bishop Morlino said. “We know what we’re saying is true” even if we don’t fully know what it means in our own time.

‘Participate’ in the Eucharist

“The best thing we can do for all of creation,” Bishop Morlino said, “is participate explicitly, intentionally, participate in the explosion of the good” of the Eucharist and participate worthily.

He added that the Eucharist has significance on heaven, earth, and in purgatory and “saturates all creation.”

He asked everyone to reflect if they are thinking about the explosion of the good as they are coming up to receive Communion at Mass.

“We’ve got beauty, we’ve got explosion of the good, and we’ve got eternity. Isn’t that enough?” the bishop asked.

“Things will not be right in the Church,” Bishop Morlino added, “until the liturgy is celebrated rightly.”

In our Catholic identity, we are our worship,” he said.

“We are the Mass . . . if those things do not go well, things in the world will not go well.”

“Human beings becoming increasingly demeaned when they miss out on the eternal and when they miss out on the explosion of goodness . . . human beings become less and less human.”

“We have to pray hard for our brothers and sisters who have lost their way with regard to the liturgy and we have to rebuild our own efforts truly to actively, actually, participate in the liturgy,” which the bishop said means “active receptivity” of all that God gives us.

Following his talk, the bishop took a few moments to answer questions some people in the audience had on how they can better embrace the Eucharist as a sacrifice.

For more from the Diocese of Madison Office of Worship, go to

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