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Friday, June 24, 2011

BUILDING A MORE UNITED, JUST AND FRATERNAL SOCIETY

VATICAN CITY, 23 JUN 2011 (VIS) - At 7 p.m. today, Solemnity of the Blessed Body and Blood of Christ, Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in Rome's basilica of St. John Lateran, then presided at the Eucharistic procession to the basilica of St. Mary Major.

  In his homily the Pope recalled how today "the Blessed Sacrament is carried in procession along the streets of towns and villages to show that the risen Christ walks among us and guides us to the kingdom of heaven. What Jesus gave us in the Upper Room we openly display today, because the love of Christ is not reserved for the few but is intended for everyone".

  Referring to Eucharistic communion, the Holy Father said that "while bodily food is assimilated by and helps sustain our organism, the Eucharist is a different kind of bread. We do not assimilate it; rather, it assimilates us to itself so that we are conformed to Jesus Christ, become limbs of His Body, a single thing with Him. This is a decisive step: indeed, precisely because it is Christ Who transforms us to Himself in Eucharistic communion, so in this meeting our individuality is opened, freed from egocentrism and inserted into the Person of Jesus, Who in turn is immersed in the communion of the Trinity.

  "Thus the Eucharist, while uniting us to Christ, also opens us to others, makes us limbs of one another: no longer are we divided but a single being in Him", the Pope added. "Eucharistic communion unites me to my neighbour with whom perhaps I am not even on good terms, but it also unites me to my distant brothers and sisters all over the world".

  "Those who recognise Jesus in the consecrated Host recognise Him in their suffering brothers and sisters, in the hungry and thirsty, in the stranger, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned; they are attentive to everyone and take concrete steps to help those in need. From the gift of Christ's love arises our special responsibility as Christians to build a united, just and fraternal society. Particularly in our own time in which globalisation makes us increasingly dependent upon one another, Christianity can and must ensure that unity is not built without God - in other words, without real Love - which would only open the way to confusion and selfishness".

  Benedict XVI continued: "The Gospel has always sought the unity of the human family, a unity not imposed from above or by ideological or economic interests, but based on a sense of responsibility towards each other, because we recognise one another as members of the same body, the Body of Christ, because we have learned and continue to learn from the Sacrament of the Altar that sharing and love is the way to true justice".

  "Without any illusions or belief in ideological utopias, we advance along the paths of the world, carrying the Body of the Lord with us like the Virgin Mary in the mystery of the Visitation", said Pope Benedict concluding his homily. "With the humility of knowing that we are simple grains of wheat, we remain firm in the conviction that the love of God incarnated in Christ is stronger than evil, violence and death. We know that God is preparing new heaven and new earth for all men, where peace and justice reign; and in the faith we see the new world which is our true homeland".

  After Mass, the Pope presided at the Eucharistic procession along Rome's Via Merulana to the basilica of St. Mary Major. Along the route, thousands of faithful prayed and sang accompanying the Blessed Sacrament. A covered vehicle transported the Sacrament in a monstrance, before which the Holy Father knelt in prayer.
HML/                                    VIS 20110624 (630)

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