FULL TEXT GENERAL AUDIENCE
St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
The Holy Mass - 14. Eucharistic liturgy. IV. Communion
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
And today is the first day of spring: good spring! But what happens in spring? Trees bloom, trees bloom. I will ask you some questions. A sick tree or plant, they bloom well, if they are sick ?. No! A tree, a plant that is not watered by rain or artificially, can bloom well? No. And a tree and a plant that has taken away roots or has no roots, can it bloom? No. But without roots can you bloom? No! And this is a message: Christian life must be a life that must flourish in works of charity, in doing good. But if you do not have roots, you will not be able to bloom, and the root is who? Jesus! If you are not with Jesus, there, at the root, you will not flower. If you do not water your life with prayer and the sacraments, will you have Christian flowers? No! Because prayer and the sacraments water the roots and our life flourishes. I wish you this spring to be a flowery spring for you, as will be the flowery Easter. Flower of good works, of virtue, of doing good to others Remember this, this is a very beautiful verse of my country: "What the tree has of flower, comes from what it has buried". Never cut the roots with Jesus.
And let us continue now with the catechesis on Holy Mass. The celebration of the Mass, of which we are going through the various moments, is ordered to communion, that is, to unite with Jesus. The sacramental communion: not spiritual communion, which you can do at your house saying: "Jesus, I would like to receive you spiritually" . No, sacramental communion, with the body and blood of Christ. Let us celebrate the Eucharist in order to nourish ourselves of Christ, who gives us himself both in the Word and in the Sacrament of the altar, to conform ourselves to him. The Lord himself says: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him "(Jn 6:56). In fact, the gesture of Jesus who gave his disciples his Body and Blood in the Last Supper, continues today through the ministry of the priest and deacon, ordinary ministers of distribution to the brothers of the Bread of life and the Cup of salvation.
In the Mass, after having broken the consecrated Bread, that is the body of Jesus, the priest shows it to the faithful, inviting them to participate in the Eucharistic banquet. We know the words that resonate from the holy altar: "Blessed are the guests at the Lord's Supper: here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world". Inspired by a passage from the Apocalypse - "blessed are the guests at the wedding feast of the Lamb" (Rev 19,9): he says "marriage" because Jesus is the spouse of the Church - this invitation calls us to experience the intimate union with Christ, source of joy and holiness. It is an invitation that rejoices and at the same time leads to an examination of conscience illuminated by faith. If on the one hand, in fact, we see the distance that separates us from the holiness of Christ, on the other we believe that his Blood is "shed for the remission of sins". All of us have been forgiven in baptism, and we are all forgiven or forgiven each time we approach the sacrament of penance. And do not forget: Jesus always forgives. Jesus does not get tired of forgiving. We are tired of asking for forgiveness. Precisely thinking of the salvific value of this Blood, St. Ambrose exclaims: "I who always sin, I must always dispose of medicine" (De sacramentis, 4, 28: PL 16, 446A). In this faith, we too turn our gaze to the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world and invoke him: "O Lord, I am not worthy to attend your table: but only say one word and I will be saved." We say this in every Mass.
If we move in procession to make Communion, we go to the altar in procession to make communion, in reality it is Christ who comes to meet us to assimilate to himself. There is an encounter with Jesus! To feed oneself on the Eucharist means to let oneself be changed as we receive. Saint Augustine helps us to understand it, when he tells us about the light received in being told by Christ: "I am the food of the great. Grow up, and you shall feed on me. And it will not be you to transform me into you, like the food of your flesh; but you will be transformed into me "(Confessions VII, 10, 16: PL 32, 742). Every time we commune, we look more like Jesus, we let ourselves be transformed into Jesus. As bread and wine are converted into the Body and Blood of the Lord, so those who receive them with faith are transformed into a living Eucharist. To the priest who, by distributing the Eucharist, tells you: "The Body of Christ", you answer: "Amen", that is to say, recognize the grace and commitment that entails becoming the Body of Christ. Because when you receive the Eucharist you become the body of Christ. It is beautiful, this; it's very beautiful. While it unites us to Christ, tearing us from our selfishness, Comunion and opens and unites us to all those who are one in him. Here is the prodigy of Communion: we become what we receive! The Church strongly desires that the faithful also receive the Body of the Lord with consecrated hosts in the same Mass; and the sign of the Eucharistic banquet is expressed with greater fullness if Holy Communion is made under the two species, even though the Catholic doctrine teaches that one whole Christ is received under one species (cf. General Order of the Roman Missal, 85; 281-282). According to ecclesial practice, the faithful usually approaches the Eucharist in a processional form, as we have said, and communicates himself standing with devotion or kneeling, as established by the Episcopal Conference, receiving the sacrament in the mouth or, where it is permitted, on the hand, as he prefers (see OGMR, 160-161). After the Communion, to keep in heart the gift received helps us the silence, the silent prayer. Stretch out a little that moment of silence, talking to Jesus in the heart helps us so much, as well as singing a psalm or a hymn of praise (cf. OGMR, 88) that helps us to be with the Lord. The Eucharistic Liturgy is concluded by the oration after Communion. In it, on behalf of everyone, the priest turns to God to thank him for making us his guests and to ask that what has been received transforms our life. The Eucharist makes us strong to bear fruits of good works to live as Christians. Today's prayer is significant, in which we ask the Lord that "participation in his sacrament should be for us salvation medicine, heal us from evil and confirm us in his friendship" (Roman Missal, Wednesday of the 5th week of Lent) . Let us draw closer to the Eucharist: to receive Jesus who transforms us into him, makes us stronger. The Lord is so good and so great!