Subject Area



Overcoming the Division: The Relationship between the Eucharist and Social Justice explores the intimate connection between worship of God and service of neighbor. Arguing for the primacy of the Eucharist, I first outline the present problem of the separation between the Eucharist and social justice in the life of the Church and offer possible reasons for this situation. I then proceed to describe the relationship between worship and justice as understood in Scripture and the early Church, giving special attention to the Old Testament prophets, the Gospels, Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, and John Chrysostom. This leads me to identify five key Eucharist-justice connections: the inclusivity and unity of the Body of Christ, Christ as food consumed, eschatology and justice, reconciliation and peace, and sacrifice. I argue that the Eucharist is a transformative encounter that results in assimilation to Christ, conversion, and mission. As a means of conclusion, I analyze parts of the Mass, including Eucharistic prayer texts themselves, in light of social justice themes and offer practical suggestions for reestablishing the unity of the Eucharist and social justice at the parish level. Participation in Eucharist must always lead to and be accompanied by the concrete love of neighbor, especially the poor and suffering. A Eucharist devoid of a connection to social justice is unworthy of the name and incomplete. For the sake of the poor throughout the world who depend on the charity of Catholic Christians, the supposed division between the Eucharist and social justice must be overcome.


Providence College