Vatican City, 12 November 2015 (VIS) – “Nourished by the Eucharist to nourish others” is the theme of the National Eucharistic Congress of India, inaugurated today in Mumbai and attended by 700 delegates from all over the country. The Congress will also provide the opportunity to commemorate the presence for the same event fifty years ago of Blessed Paul VI, during his trip to India in 1964. The opening of the Congress, which will conclude on 15 November, included a screening of the Pope's video message to the participants in which he expresses his hope that it will be a “herald of joy and happiness” for the whole Indian population. The following are extensive extracts from his message, transmitted in English:
“The Eucharistic Congress is God's gift not just for the Christians of the India but for the entire population of a country culturally so diverse yet spiritually so rich. Over thousands of years India has been permeated by the desire for truth, the search for the divine, the effort at goodness and kindness”.
“The Eucharist as the theme chosen rightly points out nourishes us. As I underlined in the homily of Corpus Domini, 'the Eucharist actualises the Covenant that sanctifies us, purifies us and unites us in the marvellous Communion with God. Thus we learn that the Eucharist is not only a reward for the good but also the strength for the weak and for sinners. It is forgiveness and sustenance which helps us on our journey'”.
“Human beings all over the word today need nourishment. And this nourishment is not just to satisfy physical hunger. There are other hungers – for love, for immortality of life, for affection, for being cared for, for forgiveness, for mercy. This hunger can be satiated only by the bread that comes from above. Jesus himself is the living bread that gives life to the world. His body offered for our sake on the cross, his blood shed for the pardon of the sins of humanity is made available to us in the bread and wine to the Eucharist transformed in the consecration”.
“But the Eucharist does not end with the partaking of the bread and blood of the Lord. It leads us to solidarity with others. The communion with the Lord is necessarily a communion with our fellow brothers and sisters. And therefore the one who is fed and nourished by the very body and blood of Christ cannot remain unaffected when he sees his brothers suffering want and hunger. Those nourished by the Eucharist are called to bring the joy of the gospel to those who have not received it. Strengthened by the living Bread we are called to bring hope to those who live in darkness and in despair”.