“I ask you, instead, to be revolutionaries, to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes that you are incapable of responsibility, that you are incapable of true love.” Pope Francis at WYD 2013

Culture is the most dominant force in the world. You can spend your life teaching people what is right and wrong, and at the end of the day they will just follow the dominant culture. The culture of the western world is marked primarily by consumerism. This is much more than just a desire to go shopping for new things (“I shop therefore I am”). This culture actually makes a claim for what it is to be human. The ideal of humanity is to be beautiful, powerful, with a big house and fast car. The closer you get to this ideal, the more human you become. In this culture, selfishness become a virtue if it helps you attain the ideal and be seen as being ‘more-human’ than everyone else. Consumerism has become the story that directs our lives, drowning out any other knowledge of what we believe to be ‘right and wrong’. If Christianity is presented purely as ‘knowledge’, it has no way of competing with such a powerful narrative.

This is why Jesus gave us a story which was meant to be at the heart of the Christian culture. He washed the disciples feet; he ate with the poor and disabled; he allowed himself to be disfigured on the cross so that we could live. All of this was summarised in the ‘story’ of the Eucharist. Every day we are called to see the Eucharist as the story that creates the Christian culture: humility, self-gift, communion. It proclaims the complete opposite of everything that consumerism stands for. As Pope Paul VI once¬† said,¬†“what matters is to evangelise man’s culture and cultures (not in a purely decorative way, as it were, by applying a thin veneer, but in a vital way, in depth and right to their very roots)”. We will only bring about this cultural change if we do not simply consume the Eucharist, but rather seek to become the Eucharist, allowing this story to be at the heart of our life.