Up Front and Personal

A Radical Saturday Night With the Eucharist

by Joseph Amodeo

On a recent Saturday, I joined nearly 25 other young adults in Astoria for what many may consider to be an “out of the ordinary” night.  Gathered at a local parish, we came together for Eucharistic adoration and benediction.  It was sitting in the pew that evening that I realized the radical nature of the gathering.  As the world outside of the church moved at a pace we could hardly comprehend, our hearts sat silent as we witnessed the presence of Christ.

Over the past 2000 years, the Eucharist has been at the center of countless struggles for human rights, has united young people in movements of solidarity, and has brought together human beings on an ordinary evening for an incredible purpose.  Kneeling before the Eucharist we prayed in silence, chanted O Salutaris and Tantum Ergo, but more importantly we became aware of the world around us.  In this way, we united ourselves not only with Christ, but also with all humanity.

At this very moment, millions are hungry, living with HIV/AIDS and without access to life-saving treatments, lack access to basic education, and are homeless: this can be the human experience.  In a world that suffers from greed and consumerism, it is an experience like Eucharistic adoration that allows Catholics not only to more deeply encounter our faith, but also stand in solidarity with Christ and, therefore, with the entire world.  When we adore Christ, we adore the very essence of creation.

Living in a flawed world, for Catholics the Eucharist is the presence of Christ and a constant reminder of the hope that we have for a better world.

Being with other young adults that evening, I witnessed a sense of hope that reminded me not to live in fear, but rather to respond to fear with faith. Merely sitting in a pew and adoring Christ is not enough even for Christ himself.  Instead, as Catholics it is what we do when we walk forth from that Church that will define our true adoration of Christ. The most radical element of this past Saturday was not merely the two dozen young adults who had given up a Saturday night, but rather the energy and hope with which they left to share with the world.  They left the Church that evening equipped with a mindset to be change makers in a world desperately crying out for help.

Standing before the Eucharist, we stood as young people in a time of distress and thanked God for counting humanity among his beloved. Each of us stood there as a human being created in the imago dei and acknowledged our call to be bearers of a message rooted in hope, love, and peace to a world in need.

Perhaps this radical Saturday wasn’t that radical after all; instead, the radix (Latin origin of “radical” meaning “root”) is faith itself.  It is in recognizing the roots of hope, peace, love and change as faith that we come to see that a better world is within reach, because God himself is “a helper close at hand.”

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2 thoughts on “A Radical Saturday Night With the Eucharist

  1. Dear Joseph, I read your beautiful words in the Tablet Article. By writing about your experience on Saturday Night and your profession of Faith to Christ, I as the reader received your beautiful message about the mindset to be a change maker and with my Faith to Christ I shall set out to give hope, love and peace to our world in need. Thank You for the beautiful message.


    Brenda Ireland