Pope Francis explains that at Mass "...when you receive the Eucharist you become the body of Christ." FULL TEXT + Video



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!
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française en particulier les jeunes venus de Suisse et de France. Alors que la fête de Pâques se fait plus proche, je vous invite à redoubler de ferveur, notamment par une participation active à la messe et par les œuvres de charité, afin que la grâce de la résurrection transforme vraiment toute notre vie. Que Dieu vous bénisse !
[Saluto cordialmente i pellegrini francofoni, in particolare i giovani provenienti dalla Svizzera e dalla Francia. Mentre la Pasqua si avvicina, vi invito a rafforzare il vostro fervore, inclusa la partecipazione attiva alla Messa e alla carità fraterna, in modo che la grazia della risurrezione trasformi davvero le vostre vite. Dio vi benedica!]
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from Wales, Ireland, Norway, Japan and the United States of America. I offer a special greeting to the Irish pilgrims accompanying the icon of the Ninth World Meeting of Families, to be celebrated in Dublin in August. With prayerful good wishes that this Lenten season will be a time of grace and spiritual renewal for you and your families, I invoke upon all of you joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!
[Saluto i pellegrini di lingua inglese presenti all’Udienza odierna, specialmente quelli provenienti da Galles, Irlanda, Norvegia, Giappone e Stati Uniti d’America. Saluto in particolare i pellegrini irlandesi che accompagnano l’icona del Nono Incontro Mondiale delle Famiglie, che avrà luogo a Dublino nel prossimo mese di agosto. Con fervidi auguri che questa Quaresima sia per voi e per le vostre famiglie un tempo di grazia e di rinnovamento spirituale, invoco su voi tutti la gioia e la pace del Signore Gesù. Dio vi benedica!]
Herzlich heiße ich die Pilger deutscher Sprache willkommen. Unter ihnen grüße ich die vielen Schülerinnen und Schüler, die in dieser Audienz anwesend sind, besonders die Schüler des Gymnasiums Haus Overbach aus Jülich, die ihr 100-jähriges Gründungsjubiläum feiern. Vergesst nie: Der Herr ist in der heiligen Eucharistie gegenwärtig – für euch. Gott segne euch alle.
[Un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua tedesca. Fra voi saluto i tanti studenti presenti a quest’Udienza, in particolare gli studenti del Gymnasium Haus Overbach di Jülich che celebrano il centenario di fondazione. Non dimenticate mai: nella Santa Eucaristia, il Signore è presente – per voi! Dio vi benedica tutti.]
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, en modo particular a los grupos provenientes de España y América Latina. Exhorto a la comunión frecuente, haciendo presente el misterio de amor que se encierra en el Sacramento, para que la unidad con Cristo y con su Iglesia se manifieste en nuestro actuar cotidiano y testimonie nuestra vida nueva en Cristo. Gracias.
Queridos amigos de língua portuguesa, que hoje tomais parte neste Encontro, obrigado pela vossa presença e sobretudo pelas vossas orações! A todos vos saúdo, especialmente aos alunos, professores e familiares dos Colégios Pedro Arrupe e Senhora da Boa Nova, desejando-vos que a peregrinação ao túmulo dos Santos Apóstolos Pedro e Paulo fortaleça, nos vossos corações, o sentir e o viver em Igreja, sob o terno olhar da Virgem Mãe. Sobre vós e vossas famílias, desça a Bênção do Senhor!
[Cari amici di lingua portoghese, che oggi prendete parte a quest’Incontro, grazie per la vostra presenza e soprattutto per le vostre preghiere! Saluto tutti voi, in particolare gli alunni, i professori e i familiari dei Collegi Pedro Arrupe e Senhora da Boa Nova,augurandovi che il pellegrinaggio alla tomba dei Santi Apostoli Pietro e Paolo rafforzi, nei vostri cuori, il sentire e il vivere nella Chiesa, sotto il tenero sguardo della Vergine Madre. Su di voi e sulle vostre famiglie, scenda la Benedizione del Signore.]
أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللّغةِ العربيّة، وخاصّةً بالقادمينَ من الشّرق الأوسط. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء، في الإفخارستيا يأتي يسوع للقائنا ليجعلنا شبيهين به؛ لنسمح للرب أن يحوِّلنا إلى إفخارستيا حيّة ولنُدرك النعمة والإلتزام اللذين يتضمّنهما تحوُّلنا إلى جسد المسيح. ليُباركْكُم الربّ!
[Rivolgo un cordiale benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua araba, in particolare a quelli provenienti dal Medio Oriente! Cari fratelli e sorelle, nell’Eucaristia Gesù ci viene incontro per assimilarci; lasciamoci trasformare dal Signore in Eucaristia vivente e riconosciamo la grazia e l’impegno che comporta diventare Corpo di Cristo. Il Signore vi benedica!]
Serdecznie pozdrawiam polskich pielgrzymów. Drodzy bracia i siostry, nasze uczestnictwo we Mszy św. jest pełne, gdy przyjmujemy Ciało i Krew Pana w Komunii eucharystycznej. Jest to najgłębsze zjednoczenie z Chrystusem. On daje się nam grzesznikom jako pokarm, który nas uzdrawia, napełnia świętością i pozwala żyć życiem samego Boga. Przyjmujcie ten pokarm, aby napełniał was świętością! Z serca wam błogosławię.
[Saluto cordialmente i pellegrini polacchi. Cari fratelli e sorelle, la nostra partecipazione alla Santa Messa è piena quando riceviamo il Corpo e il Sangue del Signore nella Comunione eucaristica. Questa è la più profonda unione con Cristo. Egli si dona a noi peccatori come cibo che guarisce, riempie di santità e permette di vivere la vita di Dio stesso. Prendete questo cibo, perché vi colmi di santità! Vi benedico di cuore.]
 AFTER the Angelus
On the occasion of the next world meeting of families, I intend to go to Dublin on August 25th and 26th of this year. I thank the civil authorities, the Bishops, the Bishop of Dublin, and all those who work together to prepare this trip. Thank you!

I extend a cordial welcome to the faithful of the Italian language.

I am pleased to welcome the Brothers of Christian Instruction of Ploermel, on the occasion of their General Chapter; the Religious who attend the USMI Training Course; the members of the Focolare Movement and parish groups, especially those of Viterbo and Sant'Andrea del Pizzone. The pilgrimage to the See of Peter helps you to cultivate the wisdom that only God can give.

I greet the participants in the Conference for the Families of the "Fallen in the operating theater in the Peace Support Missions" - these are heroes: heroes of the Fatherland and heroes of humanity! Thank you -, accompanied by the Military Ordinary for Italy, Monsignor Santo Marcianò; the National Federation of Montano Basin Consortia Consortia; the National Cooper Federation and the student groups, especially those of Rome, Solofra and Prato. I wish to carry out a joyful and generous service to the common good.

A special thought for the young, the elderly, the sick and the newlyweds. We are concluding the grace time of Lent. Do not get tired of asking God's forgiveness in Confession and in your sufferings unite even more to those of the cross of Christ, competing in forgiveness and mutual help.