Pope Benedict's Homily at Close of Year of the Eucharist
"We Must Start Again From the Eucharist"
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 24, 2005 (Zenit) -
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Venerated Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood!
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
On this 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time, our Eucharistic celebration is enriched for various reasons that impel us to give thanks to God. Concurrently, the Year of the Eucharist and the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops have come to an end, dedicated to this Eucharistic mystery in the life and mission of the Church, while, shortly, five blessed will be proclaimed saints: the Bishop Jozef Bilczewski, the priests Gaetano Catanoso, Zygmunt Gorazdowski and Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, and the religious Capuchin Felice of Nicosia.
Today is also World Mission Sunday, a yearly appointment that reawakens the impulse for the mission in the ecclesial community. With joy, I greet all those present, first the synodal fathers, and then the pilgrims who have come from various nations, together with their pastors, to celebrate the new saints. Today's liturgy invites us to the contemplation of the Eucharist as the source of holiness and spiritual nourishment for our mission in the world: This supreme "gift and mystery" manifests and communicates the fullness of God's love to us.
The word of the Lord, echoed just now in the Gospel, reminded us that all of divine law is summarized in love. The dual commandment to love God and neighbor encloses the two aspects of a sole dynamism of the heart and of life. Jesus thus achieves the ancient revelation, not in adding an unedited commandment, but by realizing in himself and in his own salvific action the living synthesis of the two great words of the old covenant: "You will love your God the Lord with all your heart ..." and "you will love your neighbor as yourself" (cf. Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18).
In the Eucharist, we contemplate the sacrament of this living synthesis of the law: Christ gives us, with himself, the full realization of the love for God and the love for our brothers. And this love of his, he communicates to us when we are nourished by his Body and his Blood. This is when what St. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians in today's reading is achieved: "You broke with the worship of false gods and became the servants of the living and true God" (1 Thessalonians 1:9). This conversion is the beginning of the path of holiness that the Christian is called to achieve in his own existence.
The saint is he who is so fascinated by the beauty of God and by his perfect truth to be progressively transformed by it. Because of this beauty and truth, he is ready to renounce everything, even himself. The love of God is enough, which he experiences in the humble and disinterested service to the neighbor, especially to those who cannot give back in return.
How providential, in this perspective, is the fact that today the Church points out to all its members five new saints who, nourished by Christ the living bread, were converted to love and modeled their whole existence to this! In different situations and with different charisms, they loved the Lord with all their heart and the neighbor as themselves to thus become "an example to all believers" (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7).
St. Jozef Bilczewski was a man of prayer. The holy Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, meditation, the rosary and the other pious practices formed part of his daily life. A particularly long time was dedicated to Eucharistic adoration. Even St. Zygmunt Gorazdowski became famous for the devotion founded on the celebration and adoration of the Eucharist. Living Christ's offering urged him toward the sick, the poor and the needy.
The deep knowledge of theology, faith and Eucharistic devotion of Jozef Bilczewski made him an example for priests and a witness for all the faithful. Zygmunt Gorazdowski, in founding the Association of Priests, the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph and other charitable institutions, always let himself be guided by the spirit of communion, which is fully revealed in the Eucharist.
"You must love the Lord your God with all your heart. You must love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-39). This was the program of life of St. Alberto Hurtado, who wished to identify himself with the Lord and love the poor with his same love. The formation received in the Society of Jesus, consolidated by prayer and adoration of the Eucharist, allowed him to be conquered by Christ, being the true contemplative in action. In love and in the total commitment to God's will, he found the strength for the apostolate.
He founded The Home of Christ for the most needy and for those without a roof, offering them a family atmosphere full of human warmth. In his priestly ministry, he emphasized simplicity and availability toward others, being the living image of the teacher, "docile and humble ...
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