Friday, June 16, 2006

Official Report on Pope Benedict's Corpus Christi Liturgy

At 7 p.m. yesterday, Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Benedict XVI celebrated Mass on the square in front of Rome's Basilica of St. John Lateran, then presided at the Eucharistic procession to the Basilica of St. Mary Major.
In his homily, the Pope affirmed that the consecrated Host is the "food of the poor," and the "fruit of the earth and of the labor of mankind." And yet, he added, "bread is not simply our own product, something made by us; it is a fruit of the earth and, hence, a gift. ... It requires the synergy of the forces of the earth and of the gifts of the heavens: sun and rain."
"At a time in which we hear of desertification, and there is ever more talk of the danger of men and beasts dying of thirst in those regions without water, at such a time, we gain a renewed awareness of the greatness of the gift of water, and of how incapable we are of producing it alone. Then, looking closer, this little piece of white Host, this bread of the poor, appears as a synthesis of creation."
"When, in adoration, we contemplate the consecrated Host, the mark of creation is speaking to us. Then we discover the greatness of this gift, but we also discover the Passion, the Cross of Jesus and His resurrection."
The Holy Father went on: "In the feast of Corpus Christi we contemplate above all the sign of the bread. This also reminds us of the pilgrimage of Israel during the 40 years in the wilderness. The Host is our manna with which the Lord nourishes us; it truly is the bread of heaven, by which He gives Himself. In the procession, we follow this sign, and thus we follow Him."
Benedict XVI then raised an appeal to the Lord: "Guide us along the roads of our history! Always show the Church and her pastors the right path! Look at suffering humanity, anxiously wandering among so many uncertainties; look at the physical and mental hunger afflicting them! Give men bread for the body and the soul! Give them work! Give them light! Give them Yourself! Purify and sanctify us all!
"Bring us to understand" the Pope concluded, "that only by participating in Your Passion, by saying 'yes' to the cross, to sacrifice, to the purification you impose upon us, can our lives mature and reach their true fulfillment. Gather us from all the corners of the earth. Unite Your Church, unite lacerated humanity. Give us Your salvation!"
Following Mass, the Pope presided at a Eucharistic procession that passed along Rome's Via Merulana to the Basilica of St. Mary Major. Along the way, thousands of faithful prayed and sang, accompanying the Blessed Sacrament. An open vehicle transported the Sacrament in a mostrance, before which the Holy Father knelt in prayer.

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