To celebrate the Eucharist, we must first recognize our own thirst for God. The tragedy today is that we have exhausted our thirst for the absolute, our thirst for God.
Vatican City (07/06/2021, 21:52, Gaudium Press) On Sunday afternoon (06/06) Pope Francis presided at the Eucharist on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ in St Peter’s Basilica.
In his homily the Pope recalled a passage from the Gospel:
“Jesus tells his disciples to go and prepare the place to celebrate the Passover meal. It was they who asked, ‘Master, ‘where do you want us to make preparations to eat the Passover? ‘”
The Pope then said that as we contemplate and adore Jesus, the Eucharistic Bread, we are also called to ask ourselves:
In what “place” do we want to prepare for the Lord’s Passover? What are the ‘places’ in our lives where God asks us to host him?”.
Pope Francis himself answered these questions, using three images from the Gospel.
Our thirst is only satisfied in God, worldly things are not enough
He directed his listeners to the image of the man carrying a pitcher of water.
That man, the Pope said, “completely anonymous, serves as a guide for the disciples as they search for the place that will later be known as the Upper Room”.
The Pope then interpreted this scene:
“The pitcher of water is the sign of recognition: a sign that makes one think of thirsty humanity, always seeking a source of water that will assuage its thirst and restore it.”
“We all go through life with a pitcher in our hand: we thirst for love, for joy, for a successful life in a more humane world. And for this thirst, the water of worldly things is not enough, for it is a deeper thirst that only God can satisfy,” the Pontiff said, before continuing:
“To celebrate the Eucharist, we must first recognize our own thirst for God. The current drama is that this thirst has often been extinguished.
“Questions about God have been extinguished, the desire for Him has faded, God no longer attracts us, because we are no longer aware of our deep thirst.”
“It is the thirst for God that brings us to the altar. If thirst is missing, our celebrations become dry. Even as a Church, then, the small group of the usual ones who gather to celebrate the Eucharist cannot be enough; we must go to the city, meet the people, learn to recognize and awaken the thirst for God and the desire for the Gospel.” the Pontiff said.
Be big-hearted in order to recognize and adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament
The second image used by Pope Francis is that of the great room upstairs, as narrated in the Gospel. It is there that Jesus and his disciples will have the Passover meal and this room is in the home of the person hosting them.
“A large room for a small morsel of bread. God makes himself small like a piece of bread, and for that very reason you need a big heart to be able to recognize, adore and welcome him. ”
“God’s presence is so humble, hidden, sometimes invisible, that it needs a heart that is prepared, awake and welcoming in order to be recognized. If our heart, instead of a large room, is like a closet where we sadly keep our old things; if it is like an attic into which we have long since sent our enthusiasm and our dreams; if it is like a closed and dark room, because we live only for ourselves, for our problems and our bitterness, then it will be impossible to recognize this silent and humble presence of God,” the Pontiff commented, adding:
“We need a large room. It is necessary to enlarge the heart. We need to leave the small room of our self and enter the great space of enchantment and adoration. This is the’ attitude before the Eucharist, this is what we need: adoration.
“The Church itself must be a large room. Not a restricted and closed circle, but a Community with open arms, welcoming towards all.”
In the breaking of the bread: the Lord offers himself, he makes us reborn to new life
The Lord breaks the Bread. For Pope Francis, this “is the Eucharistic gesture par excellence, the identifying gesture of our faith, the place of our encounter with the Lord who offers himself in order to make us reborn to new life.”
“This gesture is disconcerting: until that time lambs were immolated to be offered in sacrifice to God, now it is Jesus who makes himself a lamb and immolates himself to give us life. In the Eucharist, we contemplate and adore the God of love.
It is the Lord who does not fragment anyone, but fragments himself. It is the Lord who does not demand sacrifices, but sacrifices himself. It is the Lord who asks nothing, but gives everything.
In closing, the Pope advised:
“The procession with the Blessed Sacrament, a characteristic of the feast of the Body of God, (…) reminds us that we are called to go out carrying Jesus.
Go out with enthusiasm, bringing Christ to those we meet in daily life. Let us become a Church with pitcher in hand, which awakens thirst and brings water. ”
“Let us lovingly open our hearts, to be the spacious and welcoming room where all can enter to meet the Lord. Let us share our lives in compassion and solidarity, so that the world may see, through us, the greatness of God’s love,” the Pope concluded. (JSG)
(With Vatican media information and photos)
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