Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, 3 June 2018
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
Today in many countries, including Italy, we are celebrating the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, or, according to the better known Latin expression, the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. The Gospel recounts Jesus’ words pronounced at the Last Supper with his disciples: “Take; this is my body”. And then: “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” (Mk 14:22, 24).
Precisely by virtue of this testament of love, the Christian community gathers every Sunday, and each day, around the Eucharist, the sacrament of Christ’s redeeming Sacrifice. And, attracted by his real presence, Christians adore him and contemplate him through the humble sign of the Bread which has become his Body.
Each time we celebrate the Eucharist, through this most sober and also so solemn Sacrament, we experience the New Covenant which fulfils the communion between God and us. And as participants in this Covenant we, although small and poor, cooperate in building history as God wills. For this reason, while constituting an act of public worship of God, every Eucharistic celebration refers to life and the tangible events of our existence. As we are nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ, we are assimilated with him; we receive his love within us, not to hold it back selfishly, but rather to share it with others. This logic is inscribed in the Eucharist: we receive his love within us and we share it with others. This is the Eucharistic logic.
Indeed in it we contemplate Jesus, Bread broken and offered, Blood poured out for our salvation. It is a presence which like fire sears the selfish attitudes within us, purifies us of the tendency to give only when we have received, and ignites the desire to make ourselves too, in union with Christ, bread broken and blood poured out for our brothers and sisters.
Thus, the celebration of Corpus Christi is a mystery of attraction to Christ and of transformation in him. And it is the school of concrete love, patient and sacrificed, as Jesus on the Cross. It teaches us to become more welcoming and available to those who are in search of understanding, of help, of encouragement, and are marginalized and alone. Jesus’ living presence in the Eucharist is like a door, an open door between the temple and the road, between faith and history, between the city of God and the city of man.
The processions with the Most Holy Sacrament that are taking place in many countries on today’s Solemnity are an expression of popular Eucharistic devotion. In Ostia [Rome] this evening, as Blessed Paul VI did 50 years ago, I too will celebrate Mass, to be followed by the procession with the Most Holy Sacrament. I invite everyone to participate, even spiritually, by radio and television. May Our Lady accompany us on this day.
After the Angelus, the Holy Father continued:
Dear brothers and sisters, good day! Yesterday, in Naples, Sr Maria Crocifissa del Divino Amore, in the world Maria Gargani, was beatified. She was the Foundress of the Sisters Apostles of the Sacred Heart, a spiritual daughter of Padre Pio, and a true apostle in the educational and parochial fields. May her example and her intercession support her spiritual daughters and all educators. A round of applause for the new Blessed, everyone: let us salute her!
I join my brother Bishops of Nicaragua in expressing sorrow for the grave violence, with deaths and injuries, carried out by armed groups to repress social protests. I pray for the victims and for their families. The Church is always in favour of dialogue, but this requires a concrete commitment to respect liberty and above all life. I pray that all violence may cease and that conditions be secured so that dialogue may be resumed as soon as possible.
I greet you all, pilgrims from Italy and from other countries. In particular those from Helsinki; Huelva, Spain; Peuerbach, Austria; and Croatia. I greet the faithful from Caturano and Palermo, as well as the Siderinox company of Abbiategrasso and the confirmands from Corridonia.
I address a special greeting to the faithful gathered today in Sotto il Monte with the Bishop of Bergamo, on the anniversary of Saint John XXIII’s death. May the peregrinatio in the Bergamascan land of the remains of this Pontiff, so beloved by the people, inspire in everyone generous resolutions of goodness.
And I wish a happy Sunday to all of you. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch. Arrivederci!
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