Pope Francis at Corpus Christi Mass "...we live Eucharistically: pouring into the world the love we draw from the flesh of the Lord." Full Text Homily + Video




Church of Santa Monica (Ostia)
Sunday, 3 June 2018

The Last Supper is narrated in the Gospel that we have heard, but surprisingly the focus is on the preparations rather than on the dinner itself. The verb "to prepare" returns several times. For example, the disciples ask: "Where do you want us to go to prepare, so that you can eat the pascal meal?" (Mk 14:12). Jesus sends them to prepare with precise indications and they find "a large hall, furnished and ready" (v. 15). The disciples go to prepare, but the Lord had already prepared.

Something similar happens after the resurrection, when Jesus appears to the disciples for the third time: while they are fishing, He awaits them on the shore, where he already prepares bread and fish for them. But at the same time he asks his parents to bring some of the fish they just took and that He had indicated how to fish (cf. Jn 21: 6-9). Here too, Jesus prepares in advance and asks his people to collaborate. Still, just before the Passover, Jesus had told the disciples: «I am going to prepare a place for you [...] because where I am you are also» (Jn 14,2.3). It is Jesus who prepares, the same Jesus who, however, with strong calls and parables, before his Easter, asks us to prepare ourselves, to keep ready (cf. Mt 24.44, Lk 12:40).

Jesus, in short, prepares for us and also asks us to prepare. What prepares Jesus for us? Prepare a place and a food. A place, much more worthy of the "great furnished room" of the Gospel. It is our spacious and vast home here, the Church, where there is and there must be room for everyone. But he also gave us a place up there in heaven, to be with him and for us forever. Besides the place prepares us a food, a Bread that is Himself: "Take, this is my body" (Mk 14:22). These two gifts, the place and the food, are what we need to live. They are the final food and accommodation. Both are given to us in the Eucharist. Food and place.

Here Jesus prepares us a place here below, because the Eucharist is the beating heart of the Church, it generates and regenerates it, brings it together and gives it strength. But the Eucharist also prepares us a place up there, in eternity, because it is the Bread of Heaven. It comes from there, it is the only material on this earth that really knows about eternity. It is the bread of the future, which already makes us predict a future infinitely greater than any better expectation. It is bread that feeds our greatest expectations and feeds our most beautiful dreams. It is, in a word, the pledge of eternal life: not just a promise, but a pledge, that is an advance, a concrete advance of what will be given. The Eucharist is the "reservation" of paradise; it is Jesus, the path of our journey towards that blessed life that will never end.

In the consecrated Host, besides the place, Jesus prepares us food, nourishment. In life we ​​continually need to nourish ourselves, not just for food, but also for projects and affections, for desires and hopes. We are hungry to be loved. But the most welcome compliments, the most beautiful gifts and the most advanced technologies are not enough, they never completely satisfy us. The Eucharist is a simple food, like bread, but it is the only one that satisfies, because there is no greater love. There we really meet Jesus, we share his life, we feel his love; there you can experience that his death and resurrection are for you. And when you worship Jesus in the Eucharist, receive from him the Holy Spirit and find peace and joy. Dear brothers and sisters, let us choose this food of life: let's put the Mass first, let us rediscover adoration in our communities! We ask for the grace to be hungry for God, never satisfied to receive what He prepares for us.

But, as for the disciples then, also today Jesus asks us to prepare. As the disciples, let us ask him: "Lord, where do you want us to go to prepare?". Where: Jesus does not favor exclusive and exclusive places. He seeks places not reached by love, not touched by hope. In those uncomfortable places he wants to go and asks us to make preparations for him. How many people are deprived of a decent place to live and some food to eat! But we all know about lonely, suffering, needy people: they are abandoned tabernacles. We, who receive food and lodging from Jesus, are here to prepare a place and food for these weaker brothers. He made himself bread broken for us; he asks us to give ourselves to others, to no longer live for ourselves, but for each other. Thus we live Eucharistically: pouring into the world the love we draw from the flesh of the Lord. The Eucharist in life translates from the "I" to the "you".

The disciples, the Gospel says, prepared the Supper after having "entered the city" (v. 16). The Lord also calls us today to prepare his arrival, not remaining outside, far away, but entering our cities. Also in this city, whose name - "Ostia" - refers to the entrance, the door. Lord, what doors do you want us to open here? What gates are you calling us to open up, which closures do we have to overcome? Jesus desires that the walls of indifference and omerta be torn down, the railings of the abuses and arrogances have been removed, the ways of justice, of decorum and of legality are open. The wide beach of this city recalls the beauty of opening up and taking off in life. But to do this we need to untie those knots that bind us to the moorings of fear and oppression. The Eucharist invites one to let oneself be carried away by the wave of Jesus, not to be ballasted on the beach, waiting for something to come, but to set sail free, courageous, united.

The disciples, concludes the Gospel, «after having sung the hymn, they went out» (v.26). At the end of the Mass, we will also be outgoing. We will walk with Jesus, who will travel the streets of this city. He wishes to live among you. He wants to visit the situations, enter the houses, offer his liberating mercy, bless, console. You have experienced painful situations; the Lord wants to be near you. Let's open the doors and let's say:

Come, Lord, to visit us.
We welcome you in our hearts,
in our families, in our city.
Thank you for preparing us the food of life
and a place in your Kingdom.
Make preparers active,
joyful bearers of You who are life,
to bring fraternity, justice and peace
in our streets. Amen.

Text Source Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation - Image Vatican va