Pope: Why We Need the Eucharist
Benedict XVI presided at the conclusion of the 25th Italian National Eucharistic Congress on Sept. 11. His Sunday Mass homily reflected on the congress’ theme: 'The Eucharist for Everyday Life.' He also recalled 9/11, entrusting the victims and their families to 'the Lord of life.' He also encouraged families, priests and engaged couples.
ROME — At the midday recitation of the Angelus Sept. 11, Pope Benedict marked the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks with a call for a rejection of violence and for a “Eucharistic spirituality” that rejects indifference towards others.
“I invite the leaders of nations and men of good will to always refuse violence as the solution to problems, to resist the temptation toward hatred, and to work in society, inspired by the principles of solidarity, justice and peace,” he said.
He entrusted the attacks’ victims and their families to “the Lord of life.”
The Pope also wrote a Sept. 11 letter to the U.S. bishops’ conference president Archbishop Timothy Dolan, saying that terrorism cannot be justified under any circumstances.
“Every human life is precious in God’s sight, and no effort should be spared in the attempt to promote throughout the world a genuine respect for the inalienable rights and dignity of individuals and peoples everywhere,” he said.
Pope Benedict delivered his Angelus message at a shipyard in the Adriatic port of Ancona, where he presided at the conclusion of the 25th Italian National Eucharistic Congress. An estimated 100,000 people attended Sunday Mass with the Pope, Vatican Radio reported.
The Pope’s homily at Sunday Mass reflected on the congress’ theme: “The Eucharist for Everyday Life.”
In giving himself daily in the Eucharist, he explained, God offers “the path to avoid indifference to the fate of our brothers and sisters, to enter the same logic of love and (the) gift of sacrifice of the cross.
“Those who know how to kneel before the Eucharist, those who receive the body of Christ, cannot fail to be attentive, in the unfolding of the day, to situations unworthy of man and (to) know firsthand how to bend over the needy, how to break bread with the hungry, how to share water with the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned.”
He praised a “Eucharistic spirituality” as an antidote to “individualism and selfishness.” This spirituality leads to the rediscovery of gratuity and the centrality of relationships, especially our relationship with God.
“Man is incapable of giving life by himself. He can only be understood starting from God,” the Pope said. “It is our relationship with him that gives consistency to our humanity and makes ou
Pope Benedict XVI also told the participants that the world needs, more thananything else, to recover a sense of God’s loving sovereignty over creation.
“It is the primacy of God which we must, first and foremost, restore in our world and our lives,” he said at the closing Mass for the gathering held in Ancona,“because it is this primacy which allows us to rediscover the truth of who we are; and it is in knowing and following the will of God that we discover our own good.”
History, the Pope noted, “has dramatically shown us” the failures that result from a “conviction that we can do everything alone, without God.” He said this “illusion” soon gives way to “disappointment, creating disquiet and fear.”
Pope Benedict traveled to Ancona from his summer residence Castel Gandolfo on the morning of Sept. 11.
In his Mass homily, the Pope described how the Eucharist restores the link between God and the world, through the “total gift Christ makes of himself” to those who receive him.
Through the sacrament, “daily life” can “become a place for spiritual development,” where the faithful can “experience the primacy of God in all circumstances.”
The Family and the Priesthood
Later in the day, the Pope met with priests and families of the Archdiocese of Ancona in the San Ciriaco Cathedral. He observed that both marriage and the priesthood “havetheir roots in the love of Christ,” giving both states in life the“shared mission” of “bearing witness to his love and making it present in service to the community.”
He urged priests and married couples to reject a limited view of the family as “a mere recipient of pastoral care” from the clergy. In fact, he said, the family is “the primary place for human and Christian education and, therefore, the greatest ally of priestly ministry.”
Likewise, “the priest’s closeness tothe family helps him to [have] a fuller awareness of the profound truth about himself and his own mission.”
“What is important, then, is to integrate and harmonize priestly ministry with the true Gospel of marriage and the family, in order to achieve effective fraternal communion.”
And the Eucharist, which “drives the Church’s activities,” must be the “center and source of this unity” between different vocations, the Pope said.
From the cathedral, Pope Benedict traveled to the city’s Piazzadel Plebiscito to address a group of young couples preparing for marriage. He described the challenges of their generation in terms drawn from the New Testament.
“In some ways, ours is not an easy time, especially for you young people,” the Pope observed. “The table is full of delicacies but, like the Gospel narrative of the wedding feast of Cana, the wine seems to have run out. In particular, the difficulty in finding stable work extends a veil of uncertainty over the future.”
“The wine is also lacking at the feast for a culture which tends to ignore clear moral criteria,” he said. “In their disorientation, people tend to move individually and autonomously. ... Thus, even fundamental decisions become uncertain and remain perennially revocable.”
In this difficult atmosphere, the Pope said that young people should “never lose hope.”
“Keep your courage, even in moments of difficulty; remain firm in the faith,” he told them. “Do not lose heart before the shortcomings that seem to rob the feast of life of its joy.”