On Friday September 23rd Cardinal Arinze gave a talk on the importance of Sunday Holy Obligation and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in Charlotte, North Carolina during the Eucharistic Congress. Cardinal Arinze was the world’s youngest bishop and is currently the only African cardinal in the Vatican. Cardinal Arinze is also the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disciple of the Sacraments. As you can see he is very qualified to speak on both Sunday Holy Obligation and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Here are some highlights from the talk:
Cardinal Arinze mentioned numerous times throughout the talk that Sunday is the “source, summit, and center” of the catholic’s life. On Sunday the Catholic community comes together in a large communal setting and breaks the bread of life together. According to Cardinal Arinze, we should keep in mind that we are not saved individually but through the mystical body of Christ. On Sunday the Church is most visible in the community at large through their acts of solidarity and the Mass celebration.
The talk also focused on the why behind Sunday. Cardinal Arinze pointed out that Sunday is made the Lord’s Day by God as he hallowed it during the creation story and the giving of the Ten Commandments. Furthermore, every Sunday we celebrate the Paschal mystery in remembrance of Easter and the resurrection of Our Lord. Sunday is a Holy Day of rest given by the Lord so that we can focus more on our family and our Faith.
Cardinal Arinze hit one important point that surprised me which was that if the Holy Eucharist isn’t bringing us to acts of solidarity then something is seriously perturbed or wrong. What he meant by this is that we should be caring for the needy, visiting the imprisoned, and comforting the afflicted with the graces we receive from the Eucharist. I have never heard this point discussed in relation to the affects of the graces of the Eucharist but I like the idea very much. Cardinal Arinze supported this point and most of his other’s through texts from Vatican II, Blessed Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI which can be found in Catholic books.
Cardinal Arinze also brushed on some points that I wish he would have elaborated more on. For example, he mentioned that dance and certain music types are not appropriate for the mass because they aim at entertainment and not reverence. I wish he would have expanded that point as well as his point that the homily should be focused on applying the scripture readings to the congregation and not politics or “theological acrobatics.” If his talk was allowed to be hours upon hours long then I am sure that he would have elaborated on these topics far more.
These are just some of the highlights from the talk which especially stuck out to me. I think the talk was fantastic overall and I only wish he could have had a Q&A session afterwards or spoken longer. He spoke on a topic which I think everyone could relate to and could greatly appreciate. I know that I got a great amount out of it and I believe that many others did as well. I only heard compliments from all sorts of people from laity to clergy on how fantastic the talk was.