As practicing Catholics we understand the centrality of the Mass as the source and summit of the Christian life. We know the strength that comes from the Eucharist, so we eagerly receive Our Lord every Sunday and perhaps even daily. We also know we are called to “live the Mass,” that our participation in the sacrifice of the Mass should affect everything we do.
In fact, we receive the “bread from heaven” precisely to lead lives worthy of our calling as children of God and heirs of heaven. Mass simply can’t be compartmentalized or separated from the rest of our lives.
Similarly, the Church has repeatedly emphasized in recent years that ecumenism, or the pursuit of Christian unity, is not simply a compartment or appendix of the Christian life–some sort of “extra”–but rather an integral part of her identity and mission.
I think this principle also holds true with social justice issues. It’s great when Catholics dedicate some time to help the poor or visit the sick or minister to the imprisoned. But that’s not enough. Our compassion cannot be compartmentalized either, but rather must inform the way we live even when we’re not at the soup kitchen, the hospital, or the jail.
Fr. Groeschel is right on the mark when he says that something is amiss if our Eucharistic adoration doesn’t commit us to the poor. Just as we must not be “cafeteria Catholics” in picking and choosing which Church teachings we’re going to intellectually accept, we also must not be cafeteria Catholics in picking and choosing which teachings we’re going to allow to transform us.