Pope at the Eucharistic Congress: the bread must be shared on the table of the world

Pope Francis celebrates Holy Mass in the city of Matera at the end of the 27th National Eucharistic Congress reminding Christians that there is no Eucharistic worship without compassion for the poor.

By Linda Bordoni

Pope Francis has called on Christians to “return to the taste of bread to remember that while our earthly existence is consumed, the Eucharist anticipates the promise of the resurrection and guides us to the new life that conquers death.”

Speaking during the homily of the Holy Mass to conclude the 27e National Eucharistic Congress in the southern Italian city of Matera on Sunday, the pope reflected on the Gospel of Luke which tells of the rich man and poor Lazarus who hoped, in vain, to be fed by the crumbs falling from the first table. (Lk 16, 19-31).

“The Gospel we have just heard tells us that bread is not always shared on the table of the world; it does not always emanate the fragrance of communion; it’s not always broken in court,” he said.

Holy Mass in Matera

Inviting the faithful to reflect on the dramatic scene described by Jesus in this parable which presents us on the one hand “a rich man dressed in purple and fine linen, flaunting his opulence and having a hearty feast”, and on the other shares “a poor man covered with wounds who lies down at the door in the hope of eating the crumbs that fall from this table”, declared the Pope who, faced with this contradiction, we must ask ourselves what the sacrament of the Eucharist, “source and summit of a Christian’s life” asks us?

The primacy of God

First, he explained, the Eucharist reminds us of the primacy of God. The rich man in the parable is not open to a relationship with God: “He thinks only of his own well-being, of satisfying his needs, of enjoying life. He likes and venerates the riches of the world, he is locked up in his little world. Satisfied with himself, drunk with money, bewildered by vanity, there is no place in his life for God because he adores only himself.

It is no coincidence, he continues, that we do not pronounce his name: we call him “rich” because his identity derives from the possessions he possesses.

The pope said it is a sad reality that we continue to see today “when we confuse what we are with what we have. When we judge people by their wealth, the titles they display, the roles they hold, or the labels on the clothes they wear.

“It is the religion of having and appearing, which often dominates this world, but which ends up leaving us empty-handed.”

On the contrary, Pope Francis continued, the poor have a name: Lazarus, which means “God will help”.

“Despite his condition of poverty and marginalization, his dignity is intact because he lives in relationship with God. There is something of God in his very name, and God is the unshakable hope of his life,” he said.

“So this is the challenge that the Eucharist offers to our lives: to adore God and not oneself.”

Calling on the faithful to put Him at the centre, the Pope said that “if we adore ourselves, we die in the asphyxiation of our little selves; if we adore the riches of this world, they take possession of us and make us slaves; if we worship the god of appearances and intoxicate ourselves in waste, sooner or later life will present us with the bill.

Holy Mass in Matera

Holy Mass in Matera

Instead, he added, when we adore the Lord Jesus present in the Eucharist, we also receive a new ‘look’ for our life: “I am not the things I have and the successes I I manage to get; the value of my life does not depend on what I can show, nor does it diminish when I fail and fall.

“I am a beloved child; I am blessed by God; He has clothed me in beauty and wants me to be free from bondage. He who worships God becomes no one’s slave.

Love for our brothers and sisters

Besides the primacy of God, the Pope continued, the Eucharist calls us to love our brothers and sisters.

This Bread, he says, is the sacrament of love. “It is Christ who offers himself and breaks himself for us and asks us to do the same.”

The rich man of the Gospel fails in this task and when at the end of his life, the Lord reverses the roles, he finally notices Lazarus, but Abraham says to him: “Between us and you a great abyss has been established .” (Lu 16:26).

“Our eternal future depends on this present life: if we dig a chasm between ourselves and our brothers, we are ‘digging our own grave’ for later,” Pope Francis explained.

“If we raise walls against our brothers now, we remain imprisoned in loneliness and death.”

Holy Mass in Matera

Holy Mass in Matera

The story of our time

The pope denounced the fact that this parable is still the story of our time: “the injustices, the inequalities, the unequal distribution of the resources of the earth, the abuse of the powerful against the weak, the indifference to the cries of the poor , the abyss that we dig every day generating marginalization”, cannot, he says, “leave us indifferent”.

And he called on Christians to recognize that the Eucharist is the prophecy of a new world, it is the presence of Jesus that asks us to commit ourselves so that an effective conversion takes place: “from indifference to compassion, from waste to sharing, from selfishness to love, from individualism to fraternity.

A eucharistic church

The Pope said that a Eucharistic Church must be made up of women and men “who break like bread for all those who chew loneliness and poverty, for those who hunger for tenderness and compassion, for those whose life collapses because the good leaven of hope was missing. »

It is a Church, he continues, which kneels before the Eucharist and adores the Lord present in the bread, but which “knows also how to bend with compassion before the wounds of those who suffer, raising the poor, wiping the tears of those who suffer, becoming bread of hope and joy for all.

“There is no true Eucharistic worship without compassion for the many ‘Lazarus’ who still walk alongside us today.”

Echoing the theme of the Congress, the Pope invited those present to “return to the taste of bread”, for while we hunger for love and hope, or are broken by the trials and sufferings of life, Jesus becomes the food that nourishes and heals us.

Holy Mass in Matera

Holy Mass in Matera

Brotherhood Apostles

“Let’s return to the taste of bread, because while injustice and discrimination against the poor continue to occur in the world, Jesus gives us the Bread of sharing and sends us daily as apostles of fraternity, justice and peace,” he said. .

“Let us return to the taste of bread to be a Eucharistic Church, which places Jesus at the center and becomes bread of tenderness and mercy for all.

“Let us return to the taste of bread to remind ourselves that while our earthly existence is consumed, the Eucharist anticipates the promise of the resurrection and guides us towards the new life which overcomes death”, he said, inviting Christians to return to life. the taste of bread whenever hope fades and one feels the loneliness of the heart, the inner weariness, the torment of sin, the fear of not succeeding.

“Let’s come back to Jesus, let’s adore Jesus, let’s welcome Jesus. For he overcomes death and always renews our life.

Holy Mass in Matera

Holy Mass in Matera

Watch the full video of the Mass in Matera, Italy

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