St. Peter's Square
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
The feast of the Body and Blood of Christ is being celebrated this Sunday in Italy and in many other Countries, often using the Latin terms — Corpus Domini or Corpus Christi. The ecclesial community gathers around the Eucharist to adore the most precious treasure that Jesus left us.
The Gospel of John presents the discourse on the “bread of life”, held by Jesus in the Synagogue of Capernaum, in which he affirms, “I am the living bread come down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh” (John 6:51). Jesus underlines that he has not come into this world to give something, but to give himself, his life, as nourishment for those who have faith in Him. This our communion with the Lord obliges us, his disciples, to imitate him, making our existence, through our behaviour, bread broken for others, as the Teacher has broken the bread that is truly his flesh. Instead, this means for us generous conduct towards our neighbour thereby demonstrating the attitude of giving life for others.
Every time that we participate in Holy Mass and we are nourished by the Body of Christ, the presence of Jesus and of the Holy Spirit acts in us, shaping our hearts, communicating an interior disposition to us that translates into conduct according to the Gospel. Above all, docility to the Word of God, then fraternity amongst ourselves, the courage of Christian witness, creative charity, the capacity to give hope to the disheartened, to welcome the excluded. In this way the Eucharist fosters a mature Christian lifestyle. The charity of Christ, welcomed with an open heart, changes us, transforms us, renders us capable of loving not according to human measure, always limited, but according to the measure of God. And what is the measure of God? Without measure! The measure of God is without measure. Everything! Everything! Everything! It’s impossible to measure the love of God: it is without measure! And so we become capable of loving even those who do not love us: and this is not easy. To love someone who doesn’t love us…. It’s not easy! Because if we know that a person doesn’t like us, then we also tend to bear ill will. But no! We must love even someone who doesn’t love us! Opposing evil with good, with pardon, with sharing, with welcome. Thanks to Jesus and to his Spirit, even our life becomes “bread broken” for our brothers. And living like this we discover true joy! The joy of making of oneself a gift, of reciprocating the great gift that we have first received, without merit of our own. This is beautiful: our life is made a gift! This is to imitate Jesus. I wish to remind you of these two things. First: the measure of God’s love is love without measure. Is this clear? And our life, with the love of Jesus, received in the Eucharist, is made a gift. As was the life of Jesus. Don’t forget these two things: the measure of the love of God is love without measure. And following Jesus, we, with the Eucharist, make of our life a gift.
Jesus, Bread of eternal life, came down from heaven and was made flesh thanks to the faith of Mary Most Holy. After having borne him with ineffable love in herself, she followed him faithfully unto the Cross and to the resurrection. Let us ask Our Lady to help us rediscover the beauty of the Eucharist, to make it the centre of our life, especially at Sunday Mass and in adoration.
After the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters, this 26 June is the United Nations’ International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. In light of this I repeat the firm condemnation of every form of torture, and I call Christians to commit themselves and to join forces for its abolishment and to support the victims and their families. Torturing people is a mortal sin! A very grave sin!
I send my greeting to all of you, Romans and pilgrims!
In particular, I greet the students from the London Oratory School, the faithful of the Diocese of Como and those of Ormea, Cuneo, the “Coro della Gioia” of Matera, the “Arca” association of Borgomanero and the children from Massafra. I also greet the kids from the “Canova” secondary school of Treviso, the cycling group of San Pietro in Gu, Padua, and the “Vivere da Campione” which, inspired by St John Paul II, carried a message of solidarity across Italy.
I wish everyone a nice Sunday and a good lunch. Pray for me! Pray for me and arrivederci!
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homily of Pope Francis I, so that they could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
Solemnity, Saints Peter & Paul, Apostles, Gospel Reading: Matthew 16:13-19
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’
And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’
‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’
Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living God.’
Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you:
You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’
13 July 2014
Solemnity, Saints Peter & Paul, Apostles, First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 12:1-11
King Herod started persecuting certain members of the Church.
He beheaded James the brother of John, and when he saw that this pleased the Jews he decided to arrest Peter as well. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread, and he put Peter in prison, assigning four squads of four soldiers each to guard him in turns.
Herod meant to try Peter in public after the end of Passover week. All the time Peter was under guard the Church prayed to God for him unremittingly.
On the night before Herod was to try him, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, fastened with double chains, while guards kept watch at the main entrance to the prison.
Then suddenly the angel of the Lord stood there, and the cell was filled with light. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him. ‘Get up!’ he said ‘Hurry!’ – and the chains fell from his hands. The angel then said, ‘Put on your belt and sandals.’ After he had done this, the angel next said, ‘Wrap your cloak round you and follow me.’
Peter followed him, but had no idea that what the angel did was all happening in reality; he thought he was seeing a vision.
They passed through two guard posts one after the other, and reached the iron gate leading to the city. This opened of its own accord; they went through it and had walked the whole length of one street when suddenly the angel left him.
It was only then that Peter came to himself. ‘Now I know it is all true’ he said. ‘The Lord really did send his angel and has saved me from Herod and from all that the Jewish people were so certain would happen to me.’
Read the whole Psalm 34 > Encouragements- 18 .
Solemnity, Saints Peter & Paul, Apostles, Responsorial: Psalm 34:2-9
From all my terrors the Lord set me free.
The angel of the Lord rescues those who revere him.
I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise always on my lips;
in the Lord my soul shall make its boast. The humble shall hear and be glad.
Glorify the Lord with me. Together let us praise his name.
I sought the Lord and he answered me; from all my terrors he set me free.
Look towards him and be radiant; let your faces not be abashed.
This poor man called, the Lord heard him and rescued him from all his distress.
The angel of the Lord is encamped around those who revere him, to rescue them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. He is happy who seeks refuge in him.
Solemnity, Saints Peter & Paul, Apostles, Second Reading: Second letter of Saint Paul to Timothy: 2 Timothy 4:6-8,17-18
See Encouragements-317 .
You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.
And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it.