Powerful message from the Holy Father


Here is Zenit's English translation of Pope Benedict's XVI's homily yesterday to close the Eucharistic Congress taking place in Italy. It's amazing, read it now.

My favorite part:

The Lord does not leave us alone on this journey. He is with us; what is more, he wishes to share our destiny by absorbing us. In the conversation that the Gospel just recounted, he says: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him" (John 6:56). How can we not rejoice over such a promise? However, we heard that, in the face of that first proclamation, instead of rejoicing, the people began to argue and protest: "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" (John 6:52).

To tell the truth, that attitude has been repeated many times in the course of history. It would seem that, deep down, people do not want to have God so close, so available, so present in their affairs. People want him to be great and, in a word, rather distant. Then they ask themselves questions to demonstrate that in fact such closeness is impossible.

However, the words Christ pronounced specifically in that circumstance retain all their graphic clarity: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you" (John 6:53). Facing the murmur of protest, Jesus could have backed down with tranquilizing words. "Friends, he could have said, don't worry! I spoke of flesh, but it is only a symbol. What I wish to say is only a profound communion of sentiments."

But Jesus did not take recourse to such sweeteners. He maintained his affirmation with firmness, even in face of the defection of his own apostles, and did not change at all the concrete character of his discourse: "Will you also go away?" (John 6:67), he asked. Thank God, Peter gave an answer that we also assume today with full awareness: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68).

In the Eucharist, Christ is really present among us. His presence is not static. It is a dynamic presence, which makes us his, he assimilates us to himself. Augustine understood this very well. Coming from a Platonic formation, it was difficult for him to accept the "incarnate" dimension of Christianity. In particular, he reacted before the prospect of the "Eucharistic meal," which seemed to him unworthy of God. In ordinary meals man becomes stronger, as it is he who assimilates the food, making it an element of his own corporal reality. Only later did Augustine understand that in the Eucharist the exact opposite occurs: the center is Christ who attracts us to himself; he makes us come out of ourselves to make us one with him (cf. Confessions, VII, 10, 16). In this way, he introduces us into the community of brothers.
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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on May 30, 2005 6:05 PM.

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