HOMILY SERIES: The Eucharist as Foundation of Justice and Instrument of Peace

March 4, 2024 at 1:25 p.m.

Father Stanley DeBoe, O.SS.T.

The following homily was prepared by Trinitarian Father Stanley DeBoe for the Third Sunday of Lent. Father DeBoe is pastor of Incarnation-St. James Parish, Ewing. This homily is seventh in a series of homilies with Eucharistic themes to be used in churches across the Diocese.


It was the last day of my first visit to Haiti. Years of political corruption, government coups, and international neglect had resulted in a humanitarian crisis of great proportions. I was part of a small delegation of religious from the U.S. visiting Haiti, meeting with our counterparts, seeing the many efforts to bring relief to the most suffering of the people.

We had finished Mass with the religious community that had hosted us and, as we prepared to leave, one of our hosts gave me a package and asked that when I returned to the U.S. I would share this gift with others and remember the people I had met. It was a simple gift, a package of unconsecrated hosts. As I stuffed them in my luggage, I thought about all the hosts that were already stored in the sacristy at home. We order them by the hundreds and there were probably more consecrated hosts in the tabernacle at home than in this package that I was carrying. What difference would these hosts make?

The package was put on a shelf in the sacristy with the other hosts. One Sunday as the sacristan was preparing for Mass she took the package from the shelf and poured them into the bowl to be brought up during the Offertory. As the family came forward with the bread, the wine, and the gifts of the people I was overwhelmed with the power of that moment.

Our people were carrying the bread that we would soon come to know as the Body and Blood of Christ. And this offering was a true gift, a gift of food from people who had little food to share. From a nation of extreme poverty, we, who had an abundance of everything, were to be fed with their bread.

This Eucharist was to be like none other I had ever experienced. In the words of Pope St. John Paul II, it was “a project of solidarity … at the service of the least.” The words of my Haitian host came back to me: “remember the people.” As the music ended, I took a moment to tell our congregation about the bread. Our Eucharist that day was a deeper sharing in the Body and Blood of Christ because it also had a human face.

The words of the Offertory are often said silently by the priest as the congregation sings the Offertory Song. Rarely does the congregation hear us speak of the bread which “human hands have made” or the wine which is the “work of human hands.” But each host, each cup of wine, has a human face.

Each year I take the time to show our First Holy Communion candidates a YouTube video filmed by the Passionist Nuns of Erlanger, KY. The video shows the nuns engaged in their ministry of making communion wafers. The joy and dedication of the Nuns is infectious. Watching them make the wafers – from mixing bread and water to packaging them for shipping, puts a human face on one part of the process that actually started with the planting of seed, the harvesting, the processing of wheat into flour, the transporting throughout the process to finally be given to someone who is hungry – if not necessarily for food, but for eternal life.

The Church has long identified the Eucharist with the evangelical mission of Christ. St. John Chrysostom, preaching and writing in the fourth century teaches us that “If you cannot find Christ in the beggar at the church door, you will not find him in the chalice.” And within our own time, St. Mother Teresa of Kolkata taught us, "These desires to satiate the longings of Our Lord for souls of the poor goes on increasing with every Mass and Holy Communion.” Eucharist has a Divine and human face.

A Eucharistic revival would also be a revival of our solidarity with our sisters and brothers throughout the world who hunger for their daily bread, who long for peace and security, who cry out for justice. Pope Francis says, “Eucharist calls us to a conversion from indifference to compassion, from waste to sharing, from selfishness to love, from individualism to fraternity.” He invites us to “return to the taste of the bread to be a Eucharistic Church which puts Jesus at the center and become bread of tenderness and mercy for all.”

Sister Margaret Scott, writing in her book “The Eucharist and Social Justice,” says the Eucharist “is a privileged moment that puts Catholics in touch with the essence of what the Eucharist is and can be.”

Eucharist is a prophetic action and a call for justice. In its richness and simplicity, it provides us the ability to encounter God. It also provides with the ability to encounter our sisters and brothers whom we will never meet. As we do this in memory of him, we must also remember his entire Body.




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The following homily was prepared by Trinitarian Father Stanley DeBoe for the Third Sunday of Lent. Father DeBoe is pastor of Incarnation-St. James Parish, Ewing. This homily is seventh in a series of homilies with Eucharistic themes to be used in churches across the Diocese.


It was the last day of my first visit to Haiti. Years of political corruption, government coups, and international neglect had resulted in a humanitarian crisis of great proportions. I was part of a small delegation of religious from the U.S. visiting Haiti, meeting with our counterparts, seeing the many efforts to bring relief to the most suffering of the people.

We had finished Mass with the religious community that had hosted us and, as we prepared to leave, one of our hosts gave me a package and asked that when I returned to the U.S. I would share this gift with others and remember the people I had met. It was a simple gift, a package of unconsecrated hosts. As I stuffed them in my luggage, I thought about all the hosts that were already stored in the sacristy at home. We order them by the hundreds and there were probably more consecrated hosts in the tabernacle at home than in this package that I was carrying. What difference would these hosts make?

The package was put on a shelf in the sacristy with the other hosts. One Sunday as the sacristan was preparing for Mass she took the package from the shelf and poured them into the bowl to be brought up during the Offertory. As the family came forward with the bread, the wine, and the gifts of the people I was overwhelmed with the power of that moment.

Our people were carrying the bread that we would soon come to know as the Body and Blood of Christ. And this offering was a true gift, a gift of food from people who had little food to share. From a nation of extreme poverty, we, who had an abundance of everything, were to be fed with their bread.

This Eucharist was to be like none other I had ever experienced. In the words of Pope St. John Paul II, it was “a project of solidarity … at the service of the least.” The words of my Haitian host came back to me: “remember the people.” As the music ended, I took a moment to tell our congregation about the bread. Our Eucharist that day was a deeper sharing in the Body and Blood of Christ because it also had a human face.

The words of the Offertory are often said silently by the priest as the congregation sings the Offertory Song. Rarely does the congregation hear us speak of the bread which “human hands have made” or the wine which is the “work of human hands.” But each host, each cup of wine, has a human face.

Each year I take the time to show our First Holy Communion candidates a YouTube video filmed by the Passionist Nuns of Erlanger, KY. The video shows the nuns engaged in their ministry of making communion wafers. The joy and dedication of the Nuns is infectious. Watching them make the wafers – from mixing bread and water to packaging them for shipping, puts a human face on one part of the process that actually started with the planting of seed, the harvesting, the processing of wheat into flour, the transporting throughout the process to finally be given to someone who is hungry – if not necessarily for food, but for eternal life.

The Church has long identified the Eucharist with the evangelical mission of Christ. St. John Chrysostom, preaching and writing in the fourth century teaches us that “If you cannot find Christ in the beggar at the church door, you will not find him in the chalice.” And within our own time, St. Mother Teresa of Kolkata taught us, "These desires to satiate the longings of Our Lord for souls of the poor goes on increasing with every Mass and Holy Communion.” Eucharist has a Divine and human face.

A Eucharistic revival would also be a revival of our solidarity with our sisters and brothers throughout the world who hunger for their daily bread, who long for peace and security, who cry out for justice. Pope Francis says, “Eucharist calls us to a conversion from indifference to compassion, from waste to sharing, from selfishness to love, from individualism to fraternity.” He invites us to “return to the taste of the bread to be a Eucharistic Church which puts Jesus at the center and become bread of tenderness and mercy for all.”

Sister Margaret Scott, writing in her book “The Eucharist and Social Justice,” says the Eucharist “is a privileged moment that puts Catholics in touch with the essence of what the Eucharist is and can be.”

Eucharist is a prophetic action and a call for justice. In its richness and simplicity, it provides us the ability to encounter God. It also provides with the ability to encounter our sisters and brothers whom we will never meet. As we do this in memory of him, we must also remember his entire Body.



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