This letter was sent by Ryan McDaniel, an instructor in the School of Communication & Journalism and a Catholic priest serving at the Newman Catholic Center.
On Feb. 28, The DEN expressed regret for misidentifying what it called “crackers” being distributed at a Catholic Mass for Ash Wednesday. What The DEN’s correction did not adequately clarify is the nature of this case of mistaken identity.
As a Catholic priest on faculty at Eastern, I want to identify what we consume at Mass: the Body and Blood, soul and divinity, of Jesus Christ. Appearing as bread and wine, what is observed veils what is truly Real, the Divine Mystery wherein the Uncreated God enters time and space to become for humanity the Medicine of Immortality.
To borrow language from Zoë Donovan’s DEN column about Lent, we are all “recovering” from wounds we have received at the hands of broken sinners amidst a too often cruel and violent world, but as a Catholic I look to the Church for healing from those wounds — ultimately to Christ alone who heals the final wound that levels and unites all humanity: death itself. This is what Easter is all about — healing the wounds of sin and death — and Lent is about preparing for Easter. I do not have faith in a god who prevents evil; such a god manifestly does not exist. I have faith in the God who became human, who identifies with our suffering and death, who is resurrection from the grave.
At Mass, Catholics receive not crackers, but this God, this Jesus Christ, risen from the grave, and given to us as the Fountain of Immortality. Come and see.
Ryan McDaniel can be reached at [email protected]