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Report by General Relator of Synod

On Eucharistic Amazement

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 7, 2005 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the "report before the discussion" given Monday by the general relator of the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Angelo Scola, patriarch of Venice, Italy.

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Eucharist: the freedom of God encounters the freedom of man

I. Eucharistic amazement

When they celebrate the Eucharist, the faithful can relive in some way the experience of the two disciples of Emmaus: and their eyes opened and they recognized him" (Lk 24:31)"[1]. This is why John Paul II asserts that the Eucharistic action incites amazement [2]. Amazement is the immediate answer of man to the reality calling upon him. It expresses the recognition that reality is a friend to him, it is a positive that encounters his constitutive expectations. Saint Paul, writing to the Romans, explains the reason for this: reality safeguards the good plan of the Creator. To such a point that the Apostle could say of men who in their injustice hold back the truth" who have no excuse" because for what can be known about God is perfectly plain to them" -- because ever since the creation of the world, the invisible existence of God and his everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind's understanding of created things" -- they knew God and yet they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him" (cf. Rom 1:19-21). Uncertainty and fear, instead, can come into it at a later time in the experience of man when, because of the finite and evil, fear makes its way within him and the positivity of reality does not remain.

Thus, on one hand, Eucharistic action, like the rest of entire Christianity inasmuch as source of amazement[3], is inscribed in human experience as such. However, on the other hand, this is manifested as an unexpected and completely free event. In the Eucharist that God's Plan is a plan of love is revealed. In this, the Deus Trinitas, which in itself is love (cf. 1Jn 4:7-8), lowers into the given Body and Blood poured by Jesus Christ, becoming food and drink that nurture man's life (cf. Lk 22:14-20; 1Cor 11:23-26).

Like the two of Emmaus, regenerated by Eucharistic amazement, they took up their path again (cf. Lk 24:32-33) thus, the people of God, abandoning themselves to the force of the sacrament, is urged to share the history of all men.

John Paul II, with great insight, immediately also made his by Benedict XVI, wished to prolong the beneficial fruits of the Great Jubilee in the special Year of the Eucharist[4], establishing that this XI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops be dedicated to The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church. The solemn concelebration we began this with yesterday in the Basilica of Saint Peter's, objectively opened us to that attitude of amazement, if opportunely seconded during our workings, which will contribute to making us rediscover the centrality and the beauty of the Eucharist of the Church spread throughout the entire world.

Why is the Eucharist the fascinating heart of the life of the people of God destined to the salvation of all of humanity? Because it reveals and makes present today the history of Jesus Christ as the achieved meaning of human existence in all of its personal and community dimensions[5], and documents it on an anthropological, cosmological and social level. The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light"[6]: in the Eucharist, this central conciliar assertion reveals all its realism. In the bread and wine, the fruits of the earth and labor, the total offering that man makes of himself, one of soul and of body[7], of his sentiments and his work is reasserted; his relationship of permanent interaction with the universe is expressed and, at the same time, his original solidarity with all his brethren, from the family and the closest communities to reach the extreme boundaries of the earth, is documented.

In the Eucharistic gift, the believer is allowed access to the living and personal Truth, which indeed makes free" (cf. Jn 8:36). In the Eucharist, the invitation from Jesus if you wish to be perfect" (Mt 19:21) takes on its full meaning. Man is provoked to come out of himself towards others and all of reality, to satisfy the desire of happiness he bears in his own heart [8]. In the Eucharist, Jesus truly becomes the Way to the Truth that gives Life (cf. Jn 14:6)[9].In this, the Church, personal and social reality at the same time, concretely becomes a people of peoples, that admirable sui generis ethnic entity Paul VI spoke of[10].

Source and summit of the life and the mission of the Church is the whole Triduum Paschale, but this is as it were gathered up, foreshadowed and concentrated forever in the gift of the Eucharist" inasmuch as it activates a mysterious oneness in time" between ...

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