Even though they had celebrated Corpus Christi last Thursday, the Holy Father took the opportunity of the Sunday Angelus to give some further instruction and teaching on the mystery and reality of the Eucharist. (This was probably meant for us!)
Vatican City, 23 June 2014 (VIS) – At midday Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the traditional Sunday Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square. The Holy Father commented that today Italy and many other countries celebrate the feast day of the Body and Blood of Christ, “Corpus Domini” or “Corpus Christi”, in which the ecclesial community gathers around the Eucharist to adore the most precious gift that Jesus left to her.
In the Gospel of St. John we find the narrative on the “bread of life”, spoken by Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum, in which He states: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world”. Pope Francis explained, “Jesus says that he has not come into this world to give something, but to give himself, his life, as nourishment for those who have faith in him. Our communion with the Lord commits us, his disciples, to imitate him, making of our lives, with our attitudes, a bread broken for others, just as the Master broke the bread that is truly His flesh”.
“Whenever we participate in Holy Mass and are nourished by the body of Christ, the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit works within us; it shapes our hearts, it communicates inner attitudes that transform within us into modes of behaviour in accordance with the Gospel. Firstly, docility to the Word of God, then fraternity among Christians, the courage of Christian witness, the creativity of charity, the ability to give hope to the disheartened, and to welcome the excluded. In this way the Eucharist helps the Christian lifestyle to mature in us. Christ’s charity, received with an open heart … changes us, transforms us, makes us capable of loving not according to a human measure, which is always limited, but according to God’s measure, and God’s measure is without measure”.
“And then we become able to love even those who do not love us”, continued the Pontiff, “and it is not easy. If we know that a person does not love us we tend not to like that person. But no! We must love those who do not love us! We must oppose evil with good, we must forgive, share, welcome others. Thanks to Jesus and his Spirit, even our life becomes ‘bread broken’ for our brothers. And, living in this way, we discover true joy! The joy of making oneself a gift, to reciprocate the great gift that we have first received, without any merit on our part.
Francis concluded his brief reflection by urging the faithful to recall two things: first, that “the measure of God’s love is to love without measure”, and that our life, “with Jesus’ love, receiving the Eucharist, transforms our life into a gift”.
Thanks be to God for giving us Pope Francis and another day to enjoy our life here on earth and to participate in the joy of bringing more people to a greater relationship with Jesus! (The look of concern on his face communicates his concern for those who have been led astray by hypocrites!)