Angelus Domini Nuntiavit Mariae....
I don't think I'll ever be able to watch B16 deliver a Sunday talk in person, because I'd probably end up punching someone. Every week, the thing turns into a singing, screaming free-for-all.
Today, the middle of a very profound meditation on the Eucharistic impetus to charity was halted for a minute when the name "John Paul II" was uttered. I could hear the Pope's voice quicken as he got to "il mio venerato predecessore..." so that he wouldn't be trampled on, but it happened anyway.
We know you love the late Pope, but don't let it get in the way of the living Pope's catechesis, people. It's almost crass.
That said, today's talk was an extension of last week's exhortation of the centrality of the Eucharist in the holiness of Christian life. Last Sunday dealt with priests, today's dealt with the call to service by which the Eucharist is meant to be a catalyst for all the faithful
The entire earthly existence of Jesus from conception to death on the cross was a unique act of love, so much so that we can sum up our faith in these words: Jesus Caritas, Jesus Love. In the Last Supper, knowing that “his hour had come” (Jn 13:1), the divine Teacher offered his disciples a supreme example of love, washing their feet and entrusting them with his most precious legacy, the Eucharist, in which all the paschal mystery is concentrated, as the venerated Pope John Paul II wrote in the Encyclical Ecclesia di Eucharistia (cfr n.5). “Take, eat; this is my body…drink, all of you, this is my blood” (Mt 26: 26-27). The words of Jesus in the Cenacle anticipate his death and show the state of mind with which He faced it, transforming it into a gift of self, into an act of love which is total self-sacrifice.
In the Eucharist, the Lord gives himself to us with his body, his soul and his divinity, and we become one thing with him and among ourselves. Our response to his love must then be concrete, and it must be expressed first of all in an authentic conversion to love, in forgiveness, in mutual welcome and with attention to the needs of all.
We can render many and multiple forms of service to our neighbour in everyday life. The Eucharist thus becomes the font of spiritual energy which renews the world in the love of Christ. The saints are exemplary witnesses of this love; they drew from the Eucharist the strength of active and often heroic charity.
I think of St Vincent de Paul whose memory we recall in the liturgy the day after tomorrow. He would say: “what joy to serve the person of Jesus Christ in his poor body!” I think also about Blessed Mother Teresa, founder of the Missionaries of Charity, who loved Jesus in the poorest of the poor and who received and contemplated him each day in the consecrated Host.”
This was an authentically social-justice message. The Pope was basically saying, "If you love Jesus, do something. Don't just pray about it, don't just talk about it -- do it, live it."
Talk about the heady challenges of faith....