Papal Address for the Close of Eucharistic Congress
Linked Via TV to Guadalajara
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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 17, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address John Paul II delivered today from St. Peter's Basilica, via television, to the faithful in Guadalajara, Mexico. The latter were participating in the closure of the International Eucharistic Congress.
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1. "Know that I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Matthew 28:20).
Gathered before the Eucharist, we feel with particular intensity at this moment the truth of Christ's promise: He is with us!
I greet all of you who are in Guadalajara to participate in the conclusion of the International Eucharistic Congress. In particular, Cardinal Jozef Tomko, my legate; Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, archbishop of Guadalajara; the lord cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and priests of Mexico and of many other countries who are present.
I also greet all the faithful of Guadalajara, of Mexico, and of other parts of the world, united with us in adoration of the Eucharistic mystery.
2. The television connection between St. Peter's Basilica, heart of Christianity, and Guadalajara, venue of the congress, is like a bridge stretching between the continents, which makes our prayer meeting an ideal "Statio Orbis," in which all believers worldwide are united. The point of encounter is Jesus himself, really present in the Most Holy Eucharist with his mystery of death and resurrection, in which heaven and earth are united, and the different peoples and cultures come together. Christ is "our peace, who has made us both one people" (Ephesians 2:14).
3. "The Eucharist, Light and Life of the New Millennium." The theme of the congress invites us to consider the Eucharistic mystery, not only in itself, but also in relation to the problems of our time.
Mystery of light! Man's heart, oppressed by sin, at times disoriented and exhausted, tried by sufferings of all sorts, is in need of light. The world is in need of light, in the difficult quest for peace that seems remote at the beginning of a millennium disturbed and humiliated by violence, terrorism and war.
The Eucharist is light! In the Word of God constantly proclaimed, in the bread and wine changed into the Body and Blood of Christ, it is precisely he, the resurrected Lord, who opens the mind and heart and makes himself known, as happened to the two disciples of Emmaus "when breaking the bread" (see Luke 24:25). In this convivial gesture we relive the sacrifice of the cross, we experience the infinite love of God and hear the call to spread the light of Christ among the men and women of our time.
4. Mystery of Life! What aspiration can be greater than life? And yet, over this universal human longing, threatening shadows gather: the shadow of a culture that denies respect for life in each of its phases; the shadow of an indifference that condemns so many people to a fate of hunger and underdevelopment; the shadow of a scientific quest that at times is at the service of the egoism of the most powerful.
Dear Brothers and Sisters: we must feel moved by the needs of so many brothers. We cannot close our hearts to their calls for help. Neither can we forget that "man shall not live by bread alone" (see Matthew 4:4). We need the "living bread which came down from heaven" (John 6:51). Jesus is this bread. To nourish ourselves on him means to receive the very life of God (see John 10:10), opening us to the logic of love and sharing.
5. I have wished this year to be dedicated particularly to the Eucharist. In reality, every day, especially Sunday, day of Christ's resurrection, the Church lives from this mystery. But in this Year of the Eucharist the Christian community is invited to have a more keen awareness of it, with more deeply felt celebration, with prolonged and fervent adoration, with a greater commitment of fraternity and service to the neediest. The Eucharist is source and epiphany of communion. It is the principle and plan of mission (see "Mane Nobiscum Domine," Chapters 3 and 4).
Following the example of Mary, "Eucharistic woman" ("Ecclesia de Eucharistia," Chapter 6), the Christian community will live from this mystery. Consolidated by the "bread of eternal life," it will be presence of light and life, ferment of evangelization and solidarity.
6. "Mane nobiscum, Domine!" As the two disciples of the Gospel, we implore you, Lord Jesus: Stay with us!
You, Divine Pilgrim, expert on our paths and knower of our hearts, do not leave us prisoners of the shadows of night.
Protect us in exhaustion, forgive our sins, guide our steps on the way of goodness.
Bless the children, young people, the elderly, families and, particularly, the sick. Bless priests and consecrated persons. Bless the whole of humanity.
In the Eucharist you have made yourself "medicine of immortality": Give us the taste of a full life, which will help us walk on this earth as sure and joyful pilgrims, always looking at the goal of a life without end.
Stay with us, Lord! Stay with us! Amen.
[Translation by ZENIT]