HOLY MASS ON THE SOLEMNITY OF THE HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST (FULL English version Vatican Mass Video below)
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HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
St. Peter's Basilica - Sunday, 6 June 2021
Jesus sends 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 go to prepare so that you can eat Easter?" ( Mk 14:12). As we contemplate and adore the presence of the Lord in the Eucharistic Bread, we too are called to ask ourselves: in what "place" do we want to prepare the Lord's Passover? What are the "places" of our life where God asks us to be hosted? I would like to answer these questions by focusing on three images of the Gospel that we have heard ( Mk 14: 12-16.22-26).
The first is that of the man carrying a pitcher of water (cf. v. 13). It is a detail that would seem superfluous. But that completely anonymous man becomes the guide for the disciples who are looking for the place that will later be called the Cenacle. And the jug of water is the sign of recognition: a sign that makes us think of thirsty humanity, always looking for a source of water that quenches and regenerates it. We all walk through life with a pitcher in hand: all of us, each of us thirst for love, for joy, for a successful life in a more human world. And for this thirst, the water of worldly things is useless, because it is a deeper thirst, which only God can satisfy.
We still follow this symbolic "signal". Jesus tells his followers that where a man with a pitcher of water will lead them, they can celebrate the Passover Supper. To celebrate the Eucharist, therefore, we must first of all recognize our own thirst for God: feel in need of him, desire his presence and his love, be aware that we cannot do it alone but we need a food and a drink. eternal life that sustain us on the way. Today's drama - we can say - is that thirst has often been extinguished. Questions about God have been extinguished, the desire for Him has faded, seekers of God are becoming more and more rare. God no longer attracts because we no longer feel our deep thirst. But only where there is a man or a woman with a water jug - we think of the Samaritan woman, for example (cf. Jn4,5-30) - the Lord can reveal himself as the One who gives new life, who nourishes our dreams and aspirations with reliable hope, a presence of love that gives meaning and direction to our earthly pilgrimage. As we already noted, it is that man with the pitcher who leads the disciples to the room where Jesus will institute the Eucharist. It is the thirst for God that leads us to the altar. If thirst is lacking, 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 second image is that of the great room on the upper floor (see v. 15). It is there that Jesus and his people will have the Passover supper and this room is located in the house of a person who hosts them. Don Primo Mazzolari said: «Here is a man without a name, a landlord, is lending him his most beautiful room. […] He gave what he had greatest because everything around the great sacrament is great, room and heart, words and gestures ”( La Pasqua , La Locusta 1964, 46-48).
A large room for a small piece of Bread. God makes himself as small as a piece of bread and for this very reason a big heart is needed to be able to recognize, adore, welcome him. God's presence is so humble, hidden, sometimes invisible, that it needs a prepared, awake and welcoming heart to be recognized. Instead if our heart, more than a large room, resembles a closet where we keep old things with regret; if it looks like an attic where we have long ago placed our enthusiasm and our dreams; if it looks like a cramped room, a dark room because we live only on ourselves, our problems and our bitterness, then it will be impossible to recognize this silent and humble presence of God. We need a large room. The heart must be enlarged. It is necessary to leave the small room of our self and enter the great space of amazement and adoration. And we miss this so much! We lack this in so many movements that we do to meet, reunite, think together about pastoral care… But if this is lacking, if there is no amazement and adoration, there is no road that leads us to the Lord. There will not even be a synod, nothing. This is the attitude before the Eucharist, this is what we need: adoration. The Church must also be a great hall. Not a small and closed circle, but a Community with open arms, welcoming towards all. Let us ask ourselves this: when someone who is hurt, who has made a mistake, who has a different life path, approaches, the Church, this Church, is it a large room to welcome him and lead him to the joy of the encounter with Christ? The Eucharist wants to nourish those who are tired and hungry along the way, let's not forget that! The Church of the perfect and the pure is a room in which there is no room for anyone; the Church with open doors, which celebrates around Christ, is instead a large room where everyone - everyone, righteous and sinful - can enter.
Finally, the third image, the image of Jesus breaking the Bread. It is the Eucharistic gesture par excellence, the identity gesture of our faith, the place of our encounter with the Lord who offers himself to make us be reborn to a new life. This gesture is also shocking: up until then lambs were sacrificed and offered as a sacrifice to God, now it is Jesus who makes himself 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 break anyone but breaks Himself. It is the Lord who does not demand sacrifices but sacrifices Himself. It is the Lord who asks for nothing but gives everything. To celebrate and live the Eucharist, we too are called to live this love. Because you cannot break the Sunday Bread if your heart is closed to the brothers. You cannot eat this Bread if you do not give bread to the hungry. You cannot share this Bread if you do not share the sufferings of those in need. At the end of everything, even of our solemn Eucharistic liturgies, only love will remain. And from now on, our Eucharists transform the world to the extent that we allow ourselves to be transformed and become bread broken for others.
Brothers and sisters, where to "prepare the Lord's supper" today too? The procession with the Blessed Sacrament - characteristic of the feast of Corpus Domini, but for the moment we cannot yet do - it reminds us that we are called to go out carrying Jesus. To go out with enthusiasm carrying Christ to those we meet in everyday life. We become a church with the jug in hand, which awakens thirst and brings water. Let us open our hearts in love, to be the spacious and hospitable room where everyone can enter to meet the Lord. Let's break our life in compassion and solidarity, so that the world sees through us the greatness of God's love. And then the Lord will come, he will surprise us again, he will make himself food for the life of the world. And it will satisfy us forever, until the day when, in the banquet of Heaven, we will contemplate his face and rejoice without end.