|On Thursday, 19 June, the Holy Father
presided at Holy Mass for the Solemnity of "Corpus Christi" in
the square of the Basilica of St John Lateran, and took part in the
traditional procession to St Mary Major after Mass. In his Homily, the
Pope pointed out that Christian families discover the source of their
unity and love in the Eucharist, which "lights up our
journey". The following is a translation of the Pope's Homily,
which was given in Italian.
1. "Ecclesia de Eucharistia
"The Church draws her life from the Eucharist". The
Encyclical Letter on the Eucharist, which I signed last Holy Thursday
during the Mass of the Lord's Supper, begins with these words. Today's
Solemnity of "Corpus Christi" recalls that evocative
celebration and at the same time makes us relive the intense atmosphere
of the Last Supper.
"Take; this is my body... This is my blood" (Mk
14:22-24). Let us listen again to Jesus' words while he offers his
disciples the bread that has become his Body and the wine that has
become his Blood. In this way he inaugurates the new paschal rite: the
Eucharist is the sacrament of the new and eternal Covenant.
With those acts and words, Christ brings to fulfilment the long
ordinances of the ancient rites, mentioned just now in the First
Reading (cf. Ex 24:3-8).
Contemplate the mystery of faith with
2. The Church returns constantly to the Upper
Room as to the place of her birth. She returns to it because the
Eucharistic gift establishes a mysterious "oneness in
time" between the Passover of the Lord and the perennial making
present of the paschal mystery in the world and in every generation (cf.
Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 5).
This evening too, with deep gratitude to God, let us reflect in silence
before the mystery of faith —
mysterium fidei. Let us contemplate it with that profound
feeling which, in the Encyclical, I called "Eucharistic
amazement (ibid., n. 6): immense and grateful wonder at the
Sacrament in which Christ wanted "to concentrate" forever his
entire mystery of love (cf. ibid., n. 5).
Let us contemplate the Eucharistic face of Christ, as did the
Apostles and later, the saints of all the centuries. Let us contemplate
him above all by learning at the school of Mary, "woman 'of the
Eucharist' in her whole life" (ibid., n. 53), the One
who was "the first 'tabernacle' in history" (ibid., n.
'Corpus Christi' tradition shows
Church's relationship to Eucharist
3. This is the meaning of the beautiful
tradition of Corpus Christi which is renewed this evening. With
it, the Church that is in Rome also shows her constitutive link
with the Eucharist, and professes joyfully that she "draws her
life from the Eucharist".
Her Bishop, the Successor of Peter, and his Brothers in the
Episcopate and in the Priesthood also draw their life from the
Eucharist; men and women Religious, consecrated lay people and the
baptized all draw their life from the Eucharist.
Christian families in particular, to whom a few days ago the
Diocesan Ecclesial Convention was dedicated, draw their life from the
Eucharist. Dear families of Rome! May the living presence of Christ in
the Eucharist foster the grace of marriage in you and allow you to
progress on the path of conjugal and family holiness. Draw from
this wellspring the secret of your unity and love, imitating the example
of the Blessed husband and wife, Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrochi,
who began their days by partaking in the Eucharistic Banquet.
'Corpus Christi' procession symbolizes
life on earth as pilgrims
4. After Holy Mass, we will set out
praying and singing for the Basilica of St Mary Major. With this
procession we want to express symbolically our existence as pilgrims,
"viatores", bound for the heavenly homeland.
We are not alone on our pilgrimage: Christ, the Bread of life, walks
with us: "panis angelorum, factus cibus viatorum"
"Lo the angel's food is given to the pilgrim..." (Sequence).
May Jesus, the spiritual food that nourishes the hope of believers,
sustain us on this journey towards Heaven and strengthen our communion
with the heavenly Church.
The Most Holy Eucharist, a glimpse of Heaven appearing on earth,
pierces the clouds of our history. A glorious ray of the heavenly
Jerusalem, it lights up our journey (cf. Ecclesia de Eucharistia,
'Corpus Christi', we cannot but marvel
at this Mystery so sublime
5. "Ave verum corpus natum de
Maria Virgine": Hail, true Body of Christ, born of the Virgin
The soul melts into wonder and adoration before so sublime a Mystery.
"Vere passum, immolatum in cruce pro homine".
From your death on the Cross, O Lord, flows life for us which never
"Esto nobis praegustatum mortis in examine". O Lord,
obtain that each one of us, nourished by you, may face all of life's
trials with confident hope, until the day when you will be our viaticum
for the last journey to the Father's house.
"O Iesu dulcis! O Iesu pie! O Iesu, fili Mariae! —
O sweet Jesus, O pious Jesus! O Jesus, Son of Mary!". Amen!